Inside the 2023 CHPCA Conference: CHPCA Staff Reflect Part 2

What happens when you gather over 400 passionate, innovative, thoughtful, and dedicated hospice palliative care professionals and volunteers from across the country to share and learn together? We got to find out at the 2023 CHPCA Conference in October!

Throughout the conference, CHPCA challenged participants to be a part of the Palliative Revolution, to innovate and explore new paradigms, to challenge their preconceived beliefs, and to connect with their peers. The response and energy everyone showed knocked our socks off! From speakers, to panelists, to volunteers, everyone at the conference took on the challenge with zeal. Now that the conference is wrapped up, the CHPCA team wanted to join the fun and share what they learned from the experience. Here’s what we took away from the occasion:


Maestro of volunteers and deputy fixer

My main takeaway and learning from the conference is the importance of community. It takes a village to support an individual and their family when facing a life-changing diagnosis. Volunteers, physicians, environmental services, nurses, social workers, occupational and physiotherapists, all must work together to ensure the client’s needs and wishes are met. The circle of care is an important team. 

This conference also taught me the importance of laughter and joy and how emotional, mental, and spiritual care is needed for quality of life.  


Email wizard and host of booth visitors

Having had the privilege of stepping in to moderate a few presentations, I was struck by the amount of innovation and research being done to respond to the growing need for palliative care in our marginalized communities. Multiple sessions I sat in on were particularly focused on individuals suffering from precarious housing, addictions, and mental health issues – and learning about innovations like the PEACH Program in Toronto that aim to use existing resources in unique way to address the gap in services was inspiring. 

Additionally, as an introverted remote worker, it’s easy to forget the value of coming together in person. My experience at the Conference very much demonstrated to me the importance of physically gathering, sharing ideas and laughs, and seeing each other as people once in a while – rather than as solely email signatures or Zoom windows! 


Ace of video-editing and program design

I am new to CHPCA, so 2023 was my first conference. I was impressed by the sheer size of the conference, not just by the number of people but by the depth and breadth of the offerings. I was lucky enough to moderate several sessions and I was impressed with the knowledge, dedication, and passion I saw in every speaker and presentation. A true highlight was hearing Dr. Stephen Liben speak on “Skills for Life: Building Resilience, Joy and Mindful Self-Compassion”. It was a truly inspiring hour. Other key takeaways for me were the phenomenal volunteers and meeting so many people who are committed and driven to make real change. 


Purveyor of hats, tumbles, and photography

Throughout the conference, I saw so many examples that showed that HOW we work, how we approach and address the challenges that we tackle in hospice palliative care matters just as much as our objective. Throughout the presentations and workshops, what I saw was a confirmation that when we purposefully integrate the holistic and person-centered principles of palliative care not only in how we provide care, but also in our collaborations, in our research, and in how we operate, we can be even more effective agents of change in our communities. When we really put people at the center of our work, even beyond clinical care, we can open ourselves to new ideas and to the perspectives that others have to share, especially from the people who, historically, have not had an equal seat at the table.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Conference’s success, and we can’t wait to see you all back in 2 years for the 2025 edition of the CHPCA Conference! 

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