On October 28th, 2015, Pallium Canada hosted a Symposium themed “Mobilizing YOUR Compassionate Community” as a precursor to the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. The event was attended by 55 participants and engaged to adapt, apply and mobilize the international Compassionate Communities (CC) model to Canadian realities. Participants learned about the movement through presentations from expert stakeholders, were exposed to “made in Canada” CC projects, partook in a panel discussion, and completed individual and small group sharing and reflection exercises.
The proceedings got underway with a warm welcome and introductions from Pallium Canada’s National Director, Dr. Kathryn Downer. Following Dr. Downer, participants learned about the CC movement and how it relates to Public Health from presentations by:
- Dr. Denise Marshall – Palliative Care as Public Health: Bringing the International Compassionate Communities Model to Canada
- Dr. Ross Upshur – What Makes a Problem a Public Health Issue? The Case for Palliative Care
- Dr. Emilio Herrera Molina – Integrated Palliative Care: Re-flourishing the Role of Communities
After a lunch break, participants were exposed to “made in Canada” CC projects with presentations from:
- Dr. Mary Lou Kelley – Community Development – Canada’s Research-Based Community Capacity Development Model for Developing Local Palliative Care Programs
- Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller – Talking About Death Won’t Kill You: Introducing Die-alogues, A Hospice Northwest Initiative
- Dr. Martin Labrie – Community Capacity in Palliative and End Of Life Care: Can a Community Development Model Address Suffering and Enhance Well-Being?
A short Discussion Panel, rich in CC questions and answers, followed the presentations on “made in Canada” CC projects. The Discussion Panel was succeeded by participants breaking out into small groups to share and reflect on their CC knowledge and experiences. Notable outcomes were shared with the large group and included:
- The need to harness the energy within palliative care to generate a CC campaign in Canada
- The importance to generate ideas through lived experiences
- The necessity to be honest and blunt in CC messaging
- The need to increase health literacy and re-frame the CC conversation
- The importance of a “bottom up approach,” and for that approach to meet the “top down approach” in order to achieve sustainability
- The significance of preventing caregiver burnout and social isolation
- The need to reduce stigmas surrounding death
- The need for community to “own it”
- The need to create a network (Community of Practice) surrounding the CC model
- Video: Bill’s Story – Let’s Talk Series (From Dr. Emilio Herrera Molina’s presentation)
- Video: Die-alogues – Hospice Northwest (From Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller’s presentation)
- Video: The Power to Choose – The Story of Developing Palliative Care in 4 First Nations Communities (From Dr. Mary Lou Kelley’s presentation)
Moving forward from this exciting day, Pallium Canada will take the direction provided by the participants at the Symposium and continue to offer leadership to CC initiatives developing across Canada. The development of the CC Community of Practice and upcoming PHPC17 conference will be integral components of this work. Please keep an eye out for the CC Community of Practice coming soon!