A few highlights from the CHPCA conference

A few highlights from the CHPCA conference

A few highlights of the CHPCA conference in Ottawa…..

1. Rubbing shoulders with colleagues from across the country..

2. Co-presenting “Food the Four letter “F” Word in End of Life Care” with Dr. Josh Shadd! It was so much more fun to do this presentation after another editing and deleting of slides, and having Josh address all the pathophysiology slides! (See last months blog!)

3. Attending the challenge panel “”Wounded healers” – Exploring Self Care in HPC”. Eunice Gorman, Fred Nelson, David Kuhl each addressed the three questions, Am I taking care of myself well enough to do this kind of work? Do I offer myself the same kind of compassion that I offer those in need? When do I slow down to just sit with the reality of my own vulnerability?

Eunice introduced me to a new term, “vicarious resilience”. This term is used to describe the positive effect of witnessing how people cope constructively with adversity. This term describes for me the inspiration I feel when I witness people adapt to loss, overcome significant challenges, and move forward with their lives in a way that they initially thought impossible. Because of these people, I have more faith in myself, knowing that others have walked this road, and that perhaps I too can walk this road successfully. Each time Eunice has presented, or each time I have heard her present, she has identified the joys of the work we do, while still acknowledging the challenges. I appreciate this positive acknowledgement of all that we “get” from working in HPC.

Fred Nelson, who had just won the CHPCA Award of Excellence, spoke from a very personal perspective in addressing each question. Sitting in this big room of people, in what was not an intimate setting at all, we were richly blessed by his generousity of spirit in allowing us into his heart, his world. And, as he told of the challenges of work, the need for exercise, the need for quiet time, time to stop/pull over, and the need for awareness…. he also provided great humour and opportunity for us to laugh!

David Kuhl works with the Center for Professional Renewal, with Providence Health in Vancouver BC. a few of his choice quotes…

  • “We work in public but we hurt in private.”
  • “The air must be clean between and among us”.
  • “Expert, the person who has experienced every problem possible and made every mistake possible”. (I love that definition!)

4. “Developing quality palliative care in long term care homes” with Dr Mary Lou Kelley, Alesha Gaudet… In their studies they have identified that 80% of the care is provided by Health Care Workers. They tributed Health Care Workers, and the work that they do!!!! Music to my ears! I look forward to watching this participatory action research over the coming years.

5. “T3:Not for Me” – Bruce Kennedy, pharmacist gave a riveting presentation providing insights into why codeine and codeine with acetaminophen products are poor choices for pain control, despite being the most popular Canadian prescription analgesic. He also presented another session on tips for palliative medications. Once again, great to have a palliative pharmacist ready to share their knowledge in a way that is easily understood!

6. “Improving EoL Care in First Nations communities”, with Holly Prince. Holly has repeatedly been involved in interesting work in the First Nation communities. “Living on the edge: working with dying cancer patients in northern remote communities”. And finally, “The significant work life experiences of community based palliative care registered nurses”. One comment that impressed me was that many nurses working outside of the hospital setting, no matter how remote the community, may feel isolated by virtue of working alone, with few resources available to them.

7. I brought home Room 217’s new CD titled Country Roads… which I listened to as I drove up island the other day… GREAT CD if you want some nice gentle bedside music and like some of the old country songs. Bev and her team are gifted at putting together fabulous music. (See https://www.room217.ca )

Unfortunately I missed a few of the keynote speeches, and was not able to attend all sessions.
Next year the conference is Sept 8-11, 2011 in St John’s, Newfoundland, and promises to be an incredible experience! Book your tickets, use your air miles, arrange your holiday and education leave…. See you there!


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Courtney Murrell is a PSW who works in hospice palliative care.

When she is not at work, she is spending time with her family, going on hikes or writing. Courtney is a lifelong learner and loves to share her passion for writing as a wellness practice.

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