A Conference Connecting Hospice Palliative Care Communities in Alberta
On November 2nd and 3rd, 2018, over 40 participants representing 22 hospice palliative care groups gathered in Leduc, Alberta. The annual Imagine conference is hosted by the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association with the intent of creating a strong, vibrant hospice palliative care community for Alberta.
The Friday evening kick-off event gave an opportunity for attendees, most who had not met since last year’s conference, to reconnect with old acquaintances and make new contacts in the community. It was also a chance for board chair Dr. Donna Wilson, executive director Jennifer Elliott, vice chair Elaine Klym and past chair Pansy Angevine to share what programs and activities AHPCA facilitated over the past year.
Saturday, on behalf of the Alberta government, Lara McClelland, Executive Director of Strategic Policy and Indigenous Health with the Alberta Ministry of Health, opened Imagine 2018. Lara shared a touching personal story about the dedication her oncologist father had for his end-of-life patients, recognizing the importance of this work at the end-of-life.
The day began with a presentation on the Changing World of Volunteerism by Annand Ollivierre of Volunteer Alberta. The landscape of volunteering is changing; potential volunteers prefer short term projects that use their skills. Organizations need to respond to this shift by exploring roles through the skills, capabilities and interests of the potential volunteer. Attendees were provided with a concrete list of resources and ideas about how to support their volunteer programs.
Focusing on the industry, Sharon Heinrich of the Cross Cancer Institute then gave a presentation on Volunteer Opportunities in Palliative Care. Attendees were given a comprehensive overview of issues to keep in mind, from recruiting and screening potential volunteers, supervising and supporting volunteers, to setting limits and boundaries for volunteers.
Dr. Wendy Duggleby of the University of Alberta and Joy Leblanc of the Hospice Society of Camrose and District wrapped up the morning with their presentation on the Nav-CARE program as experienced in Camrose.
After a lunch break, AHPCA’s Terry Woytkiw facilitated a panel discussion on the successes and challenges for hospice groups and societies. Dr. Joni McNeely of the Wheatland & Area Hospice Society, via pre-recorded video, spoke about the specific steps Strathmore has taken to educate each lawyer in the community on the importance of advance care planning.
Jillian Lawton of the Compassionate Care Hospice Society in Rocky Mountain House shared how that fledgling group made rapid progress over the course of one year and some of the challenges it faces. Sharon Cornelius discussed how the Light Up Your Life Tri-Community Palliative/Hospice Care Society manages to hold consistently successful fundraising efforts. Monica Robson, executive director of Pilgrims Hospice in Edmonton, outlined the unique programming of Pilgrims’ well-established day hospice model.
After a brief break, participants circulated between smaller discussion stations led by each presenter. This allowed attendees to ask questions, brainstorm ideas and delve more deeply into the topics that resonated with them. Participants made important connections, gathered ideas and left Imagine 2018 feeling inspired to share what they learned with their local groups and societies.
Finally, at the end of Imagine 2018, the Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award was given to Leora Kopchia of Edmonton. Leora’s daughter, Brittany, nominated her mom for the selfless and altruistic care she has provided for many family members. Read Leora’s story here.
It was an inspiring day of learning, sharing knowledge and strengthening connections within Alberta’s hospice palliative care community. AHPCA is grateful to the generosity of the Eldon and Anne Foote Foundation which makes this event possible.
See you at Imagine 2019!