2023 Symposium

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Full Day Symposium 


Learning Objectives:

  • Explore challenges of pediatric palliative care including topics of grief and bereavement, equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Examine the variety of developments in pediatric palliative care programs across Canada.
  • Learn how youth would like to receive information about palliative care.

09:00 – 09:15:

Opening Welcome Remarks

09:15 – 10:00

Redefining Hope: A Perinatal Palliative Care Intervention

Presented by: Lesley Sabourin RN

10:00 – 10:45

“If you’re okay, I’m okay”: Adolescents and their parents navigating vulnerability and resilience in the face of childhood cancer

Presented by: Ceilidh Eaton Russell PhD CCLS (Virtual)

10:45 – 11:15 – Break & Networking

11:15 – 12:30 – Plenary:

From Cultural Safety to Anti-Racism: Addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Palliative Care

Presented by: Amit Arya MD CCFP(PC) FCFP

12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch

13:30 – 14:30

It takes a village province: Developing a model for pediatric palliative care in Ontario 

Presented by: Adam Rapoport MD FRCPC (Virtual or In-person)

14:30 – 15:00 – Break & Networking

15:00 – 16:30 – Panel discussion:

Regional Models of Pediatric Palliative Care in Canada

Presented by:

  • Dave Lysecki MD FRCPC – McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton, ON
  • Shauna Wilcox RN MN CHPCN(C) – IWK, Halifax, NS
  • Rachel Neufeld NP(F) MN CHPCN(C) – Canuck Place, Vancouver, BC
  • Mary-Pat Schlosser, MD, MHI, MPH, FRCPC – Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, AB

16:30 – 17:00 – Closing Plenary:

A Palliative Revolution – Moving Forward

Presented by:

  • Laurel Gillespie MBA CHE
  • Chris Vadeboncoeur MD FRC

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

9:00 AM – 11:45 AM

Pre-Conference Symposium

Engaging Long Term Care Homes to Implement a Palliative Approach to Care in Six Provinces: An Opportunity for Critical Reflection and Dialogue

Description: Given the high mortality rates in long term care (LTC) homes coupled with the complexity of care provided to residents and their family/friends, we developed the Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long Term Care (SPA-LTC) program. Health Canada has recently funded a 5-year Alliance to increase the uptake of a palliative approach in Canadian LTC homes by curating, adapting, and disseminating resources for direct care, program development, and staff training, and consolidating these resources in an accessible national repository. As part of this project, we have currently conducted a situational analysis in six provinces including Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Quebec, and British Columbia, to help us understand the contextual challenges and facilitators as well as resources that could be leveraged to support LTC homes to implement a palliative program in each region. By attending this pre-conference symposium, you will learn about the Health Canada Study, the SPA-LTC program, and the recommendations of various key players (e.g., families, LTC staff, director of care, administrators, policy makers, researchers) in LTC, as well as key resources available both locally and nationally to help facilitate the implementation of a palliative program. You will have the opportunity to engage in critical reflection and dialogue with the speakers and other attendees who have an invested interest in strengthening a palliative approach to care in LTC. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • To learn about national initiatives taking place in long term care to improve palliative care for residents, families, and staff. 
  • To learn about the recent recommendations of various key players in long term care regarding strengthening a palliative approach. 
  • To engage in critical dialogue with speakers and attendees regarding facilitators, barriers, existing programs, available resources, and gaps in long term care from a local, provincial, and national level. 


  • Sharon Kaasalainen 

Bio: Sharon Kaasalainen is a Professor in the School of Nursing and an associate member of the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario. She is also an Honorary Professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Health Sciences from McMaster University, and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto. Her top three research interests are pain management and palliative care in long term care; improving the quality of life for older adults living in long term care; and advanced practice nursing roles in long term care. 

  • Clara Dyck 

Bio: Clara Dyck is expert in community engagement to ensure people are prepared for their dying journey. She is research partner with Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen and McMaster University in the Strengthening A Palliative Approach in Long Term Care and Associate Member of the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Preventions, University of British Columbia. Since 2018 she has been the Education and Resource Leader at North Okanagan Hospice Society. She uses her expertise and knowledge of death and dying to support people along the continuum from diagnosis of a life limiting illness to bereavement, at all the healthcare touch points. She ensures her community has the knowledge, resources and access needed when they die. Her breadth of knowledge of end-of-life care ranges from Advanced Care Planning, to care of the dying and symptom management in a culturally sensitive Trauma-informed manner.  

  • Marie-Lee Yous 

Bio: Marie-Lee Yous is a Postdoctoral Fellow supervised by Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen and Instructor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She is a recent award recipient of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Her research journey is inspired by her many years of experience as a Registered Nurse supporting persons living with dementia and their families on a Long Term Care unit. She is passionate about pursuing research on Namaste Care to meaningfully engage persons living with dementia and family and friend caregivers. She has research interests in co-creating and implementing caregiver interventions for persons living with dementia, inclusive palliative approaches to care in long term care, non-pharmacological approaches to support persons experiencing responsive behaviors, and dementia education to support healthcare providers.  

  • Shirin Vellani 

Bio: Shirin Vellani is a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen at McMaster University. She is a Nurse Practitioner by training, who has experience working in various specialized geriatric services. She acquired Ph.D. in Nursing Science at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto with a collaborative specialization in Aging, Palliative, and Supportive Care Across the Life Course, in 2021. Her research focused on engaging older adults with early-stage dementia and their care partners in advance care planning utilizing a virtual platform. She is also interested in implementing an integrated palliative approach in dementia care across the disease trajectory using equity, diversity, and intersectionality lens. Also, in exploring interdisciplinary models of care that include nurse practitioners to optimize care for older adults in the long term care sector. 

  • Dr. Danni Collingridge Moore

Bio: Dr. Danni Collingridge Moore is visiting Canada as part of a Churchill Fellowship, which has been awarded to explore palliative care in LTCFs in a post COVID-19 world. The fellowship aims to explore how countries such as Canada and Japan approached end-of-life care in these settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Dr. Collingridge Moore is currently the Dowager Countess Eleanor Peel Trust Sir Robert Boyd Fellow, at the International Observatory on End of Life Care, based at Lancaster University, UK. She is completing a three-year post-doctoral fellowship awarded to a study titled ‘Living and dying in care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic: what worked well and why?’. Prior to this, Dr. Collingridge Moore supported the England arm of the PACE programme of research.


0900-0930: Introduction to the Health Canada Study and SPA-LTC program 

  • Speakers will provide an overview of the Health Canada Study including results to date. 
  • Speakers will provide an overview of the SPA-LTC program originating from McMaster University. 
  • Informational pamphlets will be available for attendees to take home. 

09:30-10:30: Small group breakout session (~6-8 members per group) 

  • Attendees will be provided with a printed list of recommendations for a palliative approach to care in long term care and asked to rate their level of agreement for each recommendation. 
  • Attendees will be asked to discuss whether long term care homes in their local regions have put in place similar components to the SPA-LTC program. 
  • Attendees will record their responses on a large chart so that key discussion points can be shared with the large group following the break. 
  • The four speakers of the symposium will be circulating in each small group during this session. 

10:30-10:45: Break with light refreshments 

10:45-11:15: Large group sharing: 

  • Each small group will be asked to share their top 3 key discussion points with the large group. 

11:15-11:30: Overview of next steps for the Health Canada Study 

  • Speakers will highlight the next steps for the Health Canada Study. 
  • Attendees will be asked to provide feedback on the next steps and recommendations to expand this work. 
  • Attendees will be informed of ways that they can be involved in the work. 

11:30-11:45: Questions/Discussion  

  • Attendees will be invited to ask final questions. 
  • Speakers will also ask attendees questions to stimulate discussion.

8:30 AM – 12:00 AM

Pre-Conference Symposium

Accelerating Conversations within Communities

Symposium Goal:
Expand compassion and care for each other, by accelerating, within communities, important
conversations about advance care planning, caregiving and grief.

Symposium Description:
Through interactive and hands-on modules, the audience will experience how community-led workshops, activities and tools are engaging community members in important conversations before, during and after end-of-life transitions – and deepening these conversations. The
resulting awareness, readiness and compassion within families and communities are facilitating end-of-life care and transitions, for all involved. The collaborations between healthcare providers and community-led initiatives are successfully accelerating the conversations when and where it matters.

Compassionate Ottawa, a volunteer-led, community-based organization, has over five years of experience conducting these conversations about advance care planning, dying, death grief and bereavement, with many learnings to share.

Topics Covered:

  • Stimulating advance care conversations and planning
  • Safe places and approach for grief and bereavement conversations
  • Caregiver conversations and support
  • Reducing end-of-life stress with simplified financial and legal readiness
  • Compassionate-Ottawa past learnings and future endeavours


8:30: Introduction – Monica  Patten

8:45: Conversations and ACP – Louise Hanvey

9:30: Financial and legal readiness – Marc Seguin

10:00: Break

10:30: Approach for grief & bereavement – Lise Beauchemin

11:15: Reaching new communities – Mary-Lou Kelly

11:45: Learnings, Q&A, Conclusion – Monica Patten

12:00: END