Keynote Sessions


Walking Beside You: Understanding the Context of Palliative Care for Indigenous Populations

Providing high quality palliative care for Indigenous populations requires that health care practitioners develop an understanding of the influence of the Indigenous Social Determinants of Health on the current state of living & dying for Indigenous peoples. This presentation will provide learners with a basic understanding of palliative care shaped by an Indigenous worldview.

Dr. Amy Montour, BscN, MSc, MD, CCFP, Indigenous Health Consultant, McMaster University

Whole Person Care: What is it?

This presentation will outline the structure of whole person care using clinical examples to clarify the distinctions made. It will explain the inherently paradoxical nature of whole person care and the challenge and advantages of encompassing this paradox in the care that we give in all aspects of clinical medicine and nursing.

Dr. Thomas HutchinsonDepartment of Medicine, McGill University

Integrating Kidney Palliative Care for Patients with Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease

Over the last several decades, despite advances in pre-dialysis care and dialysis technology, people with advanced Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) continue to have a high symptom burden, shortened life expectancy, and substantial physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. This session will provide a framework to help clinicians integrate palliative/supportive care, including symptom assessment and other measures such as QOL and frailty scores into a clinical approach to the contemporary supportive care of patients with advanced CKD.

Dr. Sara N. Davison, Professor of Medicine, Director Kidney Supportive Care Research Group, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Living with a Fatal Illness: It’s Funnier than you think

Jeremie candidly and openly shares his story about growing up with Cystic Fibrosis. A life-shortening illness that revolves around countless daily therapies to ensure his ability to continue to breathe. He also reveals his most primary (and unlikely) form of therapy, Laughter. Inspired by his childhood heroes – George Carlin, Jim Carrey, and Adam Sandler – Jeremie was able to view how the hardships in his life were also peppered with moments of levity and humour. A lesson that has propelled his career as a producer and host of entertaining Canadian content, in particular, the world of podcasting. Join Jeremie as he recounts some of the funnier moments of facing his own mortality, and the lessons learned in mining for humour within the life experience of hundreds of others sicko’s through his work with Sickboy Podcast. Sometimes the best way to deal with illness, disease and life is simply to laugh.

Jeremie Saunders, Speaker & Podcast Host


Concurrent Sessions A

A1 – A Good Death: Exploring This Concept in Palliative Care

A “good death” is a term used to describe and appraise the quality of the dying experience. The notion of a good death often carries significant meaning to those involved in the dying process. The term will be defined for the audience and the historical progression of the concept will be explored. Also the unique perspectives of patients, families and health care providers will be presented to help gain a fuller understanding of this topic.

Ogechi Asagwara, RN MN, CHPCN(C), Clinical Nurse Specialist, WRHA Adult Palliative Care Program

A2 – Pruritus in Palliative Care

Pruritus is a symptom with many etiologies that is encountered frequently in the palliative care setting. Pruritus can be difficult to treat and have a significant effect on patient quality of life. Many medications have been suggested for the treatment of pruritus, but the evidence for their use is not always robust. In this presentation we will discuss the pathophysiology of pruritus and its different subtypes. Some of the medications that have been suggested for treatment of pruritus and the evidence for their use will be discussed as well.

Dr. Bernard CoxMD CCFP Family Medicine Enhanced skills year in palliative care 2018-2019

A3 – Death Cafes and Small Town Ways

The presenters hosted Death Cafes in small town Manitoba in an effort to spark some interest and conversation around the topic of death and dying. The buzz about the Death Cafe made people curious and the response to attend was awesome. Providing a safe space to just talk about death over tea and cake was exactly what people loved about this experience. There is a new cafe in town and it doesn’t serve burgers!

Christine Cross, RN, BScN, Certificate in Contemplative End of Life Care
Cathy CoulterBSc , Certified Life Cycle Celebrant


Concurrent Sessions B

B1 –  Topic Coming Soon

More information to follow.

Dr. Amy Montour, BscN, MSc, MD, CCFP, Indigenous Health Consultant, McMaster University

B2- Shattering the Silence: LivingOutLoud.Life – A Web Space for Young Adults and Teens with Advanced Illness

Explore LivingOutLoud.Life to help gain a better understanding of the realities of being young and living with an advanced illness. Recognize common issues adolescents and young adults (AYAs) living with advanced illness face and discover helpful strategies for how care can be best approached. Participants will have the opportunity to engage directly with an AYA who will share her unique perspectives.

Simone Stenekes, RN, MN, CHPCN(C), Canadian Virtual Hospice 
Catherine Wreford-LedlawAdolescent and young adult living with advanced illness

B3 – Existential Pain in Palliative End of Life Care

This presentation will focus on existential suffering in palliative end of life care. This is a not a topic that has been widely researched due to the large variance on how to define and describe it. Existing literature on the nature of existential suffering will be reviewed. The perspectives of the palliative care team, patients and families will all be explored. Intervention strategies will be discussed along with a look at the relationship between existential pain, palliative sedation and medical assistance in dying.

Salina DookheranBSW, RSW, Riverview Health Centre
Gaetane LafondMSW, RSW, WRHA Palliative Care Program

B4 – Health Care System and Family Caregiver Expectations within an Integrated Palliative Approach to Care: Exploring the Great Divide

This presentation will describe the expectations placed on family members and friends, and the expectations of these family caregivers themselves, in our quest towards an integrated approach to palliative care. The alignment between these expectations and the resulting implications for family caregivers will be discussed, along with a call to stimulate the Manitoba Caregiver Recognition Act.

Jamie Penner, RN, PhD(c), University of Manitoba, College of Nursing


Concurrent Sessions C

C1 – To Live and Die On the Streets of Calgary: Palliative Care, Equality of Access for All

This presentation will look to highlight the barriers that exist for many homeless and marginalized populations on accessing state of the art palliative care. We will review our local initiative, the Calgary Allied Mobile Palliative Program’s attempt to address some of these gaps and share ideas on how they could be partnered with existing services to better support this population at end of life.

Dr. Hubert MarrCCFP (PC) MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine University of Calgary
Dr. Simon ColganMD CCFP (PC), University of Calgary
Daniel GloverRN, University of Calgary

C2 – Substance Misuse and Safe Management of Opioids in Palliative Care

Symptom management is a focus for many persons whose condition is palliative. When there are perceived or actual substance misuse or diversion issues in the setting of care, special attention is needed for safe medication prescribing. This presentation will review the pathophysiology of addiction, available assessment tools and an approach to safe medication management in the community for patients on palliative care.

Dr. Suzy Pinnick , Palliative Care Physician consultant and Family Physician with the Northern Remote Program
Janice NesbittRN MN CHPCN(C)- Clinical Nurse Specialist

C3 – LGBTQ Inclusive Palliative Care

Borrowing heavily from the new Textbook from Kimberly Acquaviva – LGBTQ Inclusive Palliative Care, Dr Reimer will give a primer in LGBTQ health care issues as they related to palliative care and try to promote a way forward for all health care providers, no matter what their religious or cultural beliefs.

Dr. Darren K ReimerMD CCFP(PC) FCFP, Palliative Care Physician – Southern Health Manitoba


Concurrent Sessions D

D1 – Whole Person Care: How to do it

In this interactive workshop we will examine the clinical context, clarify the process of whole person care in that context, and outline the components of clinical congruence. This will be followed by a description and sculpting of the communication stances followed by a role play of a real clinical interaction provided by participants. We will conclude with the role of mindfulness in whole person care and participants’ reflections on the implications for what they have learned for their clinical work.

This workshop is continued into E1. 

Dr. Thomas HutchinsonDepartment of Medicine, McGill University

D2 – Caring for Those with Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: Advances and challenges in the outpatient setting

In this presentation, attendees will learn about the clinical presentation and management of advanced pancreatic cancer including recent advances in chemotherapy. The concept of early integration of a palliative care approach will be discussed, including the practicalities of implementation in the outpatient setting. Models of care, challenges encountered, and the role of the clinical nurse specialist will also be discussed. Preliminary study findings will be presented.

Dr. Christina KimMD FRCPC, Assistant Professor, CancerCare Manitoba, Max Rady College of Medicine, U of M
Dr. Paul Daeninck, MD MSc. FRCPC, Assistant Professor, CancerCare Manitoba, Max Rady College of Medicine, U of M
Stephanie LelondRN BN CNS, CancerCare Manitoba

D3 – Palliative care for neonates: Retrospective mixed methods review of infant death in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

This presentation highlights the results of a research project evaluating infant deaths in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It will share the circumstances of the infant deaths, the care documented at the time death, and whether there was specialist palliative care involvement. It will also highlight the qualitative themes revealed within the chart notes relating to prognosis, advanced care planning, and palliative interventions.

Simone Stenekes, RN, MN, CHPCN(C), Pediatric Palliative Care Team – WRHA Palliative Care Program
Dr. Robin McClure,  Pediatric Palliative Care Team – WRHA Palliative Care Program
Dr. Chelsea Ruth, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, Section of Neonatology, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health


Concurrent Sessions E

E1 – Whole Person Care: How to do it

This workshop is continued from D1. 
You must be registered for both D1 and E1.

Dr. Thomas HutchinsonDepartment of Medicine, McGill University

E2 – Honoring Patient Choice: Conservative Kidney Management for Patients Unlikely to Benefit from Dialysis

Conservative Kidney Management (CKM) is a treatment option for patients with end stage kidney disease that, through shared decision-making emphasizes symptom management and advance care planning. It can include interventions to delay the progression and manage the complications of kidney disease, but it does not include dialysis. Under direction of Dr. Sara Davison, and the Kidney Supportive Care Research Group they successfully developed and launched a provincial CKM Pathway to provide sustainable, high-quality, evidence-based care for patients unlikely to benefit from dialysis in a coordinated, standardized and equitable manner across Alberta. This session aims to generate awareness around these recent developments, best practices, and resources for CKM.

Dr. Sara N. Davison, Professor of Medicine, Director Kidney Supportive Care Research Group, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

E3 – All under one roof – Developing the Manitoba online central hub of grief support information

Navigating the Manitoba grief support service landscape after a significant loss occurs can be challenging for not only community members but also health professionals. The Manitoba Grief Interagency Network proposed an initiative to develop on ‘online central hub’ of local grief support information to simplify the investigation process. In this session you will learn about the new online central hub of grief support information for Manitobans and discover how you advocate for bereavement support and education in your region.

Mike Goldberg, Community Outreach & Education Coordinator, Palliative Manitoba


Concurrent Sessions F

F1 – Draw Near: Optimal Intimacy in Palliative Care

People at the end of life typically long for meaningful human connection, and this can come from caregivers as well as from family and friends. How can we companion such people most effectively? Can we offer deep empathy without either intruding or losing ourselves in another’s sorrow? How close is just right, and what kind of distance do we need to preserve? This workshop explores the promise of finding the sweet-spot in patient/caregiver relationships.

Doug Koop, Spiritual Health Practitioner, Health Science Centre Winnipeg

F2 – The Future of Palliative Care:  Learning from a Chronic Disease Model

Although the majority of patients receiving palliative car have malignant diseases, the WHO definition involves the care of all patients with life threatening illnesses regardless of etiology.  In most westernized societies, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality, and yet the provision of palliative care in this population remains quite small.   The changing demography and rise of chronic illness in the Western world requires us to revisit the role of palliative care.

Dr. James Tam, Professor of Medicine and former Chief of Cardiology, University of Manitoba

F3 – Til death do we part’: The Acceptance of Death as Part of Life in a Long Term Care Facility

This presentation will review the development of an innovative and multi-faceted approach to addressing the needs of families, staff and clients at end of life in Deer lodge Centre, a long term care facility. We will explore the reconciliation of two key ideas: making lives better while preparing for the reality of death. A novel ‘Model of Caring’ will be described, which incorporates concepts of potential, possibility and compassion.

Daryl DyckRN, MN, IIWC, Clinical Resource Nurse End of life Care
Alexandra BeelRN, MN, WMGT© CHPCN©, Clinical Nurse Specialist