Provincial Congress on Palliative Care

The Provincial Congress on Palliative Care (formerly known as Imagine) is an annual provincial conference for community-based hospice palliative care groups with the goal of creating a robust and knowledgeable palliative care community in Alberta.

The Provincial Congress was created to encourage and support grassroots stakeholders in hospice palliative care. In 2013, the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association identified over 30 volunteer-driven groups working to further hospice palliative care at a community level in Alberta. These groups, each at varying stages of development, reported a need for education for their volunteer members and a desire to connect with each other. AHPCA listened and created Imagine, bringing together these organizations that had previously worked in isolation.

Since June 2014, the annual conference has included expert presenters, a panel of participating organizations sharing their knowledge and successes, and networking opportunities. The Provincial Congress creates an opportunity for community hospice palliative care groups to learn from the presenters and each other and move forward with common purpose. The AHPCA team also learns at the Congress, about how to best support and work with these community groups, to achieve our shared goals.

The delivery of hospice palliative care services in Alberta functions and thrives because of community-based voluntary groups and their volunteers. Local hospice palliative care organizations support individuals who are dying, allowing them to remain in their communities. Families receive support too, through difficult transitions. These groups provide both the extras and the necessities of care.

Recognizing the important roles of these dedicated groups, the Provincial Congress on Palliative Care exists to support and connect local hospice palliative care organizations and their members, creating a stronger local palliative care community in Alberta.

Due to the pandemic, this event was not held in 2020 or 2021.

The Provincial Congress on Palliative Care will be held on October 21 and 22, 2022 in Red Deer, Alberta.

2019

 

On Saturday October 19, over 40 participants representing 20 hospice palliative care groups from across Alberta gathered in Red Deer, Alberta for the 2019 conference. AHPCA hosts this annual event to strengthen connections between groups with the intention of creating a robust, well-informed palliative care community in Alberta. This conference furthers AHPCA’s goal of supporting and promoting quality hospice palliative care for ALL Albertans.

Terri Woytkiw, former AHPCA board member, and Theresa Bellows, AHPCA events co-ordinator welcome 2019 attendees.

Very good conference – very informative and a great opportunity to network.

2019 Attendee

2019 attendees were welcomed by AHPCA’s board chair, Elaine Klym. This was Elaine’s first duty as board chair as she had been elected just the Friday night before at AHPCA’s Annual General Meeting.

 

2019-2021 AHPCA board chair, Elaine Klym

 

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South opened the day by bringing greetings from the Alberta Government and an invitation for attendees to further his learning by contacting him with any palliative care roadblocks they may encounter. Be sure to take Jason up on his offer by contacting his office at RedDeer.South@assembly.ab.ca.

The conference then heard from Michelle Peterson Fraser, AHS Director, Palliative and End-of-Life Care, Community, Seniors, Addiction and Mental Health. Michelle updated attendees on AHS’s Rural Palliative In-Home Funding Program: how it was developed to spread across the province, what it entails and how to access additional resources that will allow patients to remain in the home to die, if that is their wish.

I love coming yearly. Always new things happening to learn about.

2019 Attendee

The conference keynote speaker was Sarah Walker, health consultant and former Hospice Calgary Executive Director. Sarah spoke about providing end-of-life care at home and supporting the home in that endeavour. What do people want to experience at end-of-life and where are we now? How can communities support patient and family needs? One way is building organizations and programs. While the goal may be common, each community is unique and each program will reflect its community.

 

Sarah Walker presents.

 

Before lunch, AHPCA was very pleased to present the Dr. Donna Wilson Caregiver Award to 2019 recipient Joyce Skopik. Please take a moment to read Joyce’s story.

 

Kristi Puchbauer, AHPCA CEO, Joyce Skopik, and Elaine Klym

 

In the afternoon, the conference heard local stories from six community groups, all of whom have developed unique ways to support families and patients who prefer to die at home. Attendees heard stories of innovative programs and partnerships from Wheatland & Area Hospice Society (Strathmore), Compassionate Care Hospice Society (Rocky Mountain House), Olds and District Hospice SocietySt. Albert Sturgeon Hospice Association (SASHA), Cochrane Hospice Society and the Red Deer Hospice Society.

It was a great conference, I really enjoyed that many areas were touched on.

2019 Attendee

Door Prizes provided by Lava Lily Designs

AHPCA is grateful for the support of the Eldon and Ann Foote Foundation which makes the annual conference possible. Thank you to Chelsie Deschamps of Lava Lily Designs for supplying our beautiful door prizes. Thank you also to all attendees who purchased tickets for the St. Lazarus Raffle; St. Lazarus Calgary and St Lazarus Edmonton are important supporters of AHPCA and we are pleased to help them in their endeavors.

It was a meaningful day spent learning, sharing new ideas, forging new and strengthening old connections.