Hello and welcome to December!
In the past months, summer and camping came to an end and the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic flourished. We are being asked to commit once more to physically distancing ourselves from those outside of our households. This is a difficult time that we all share. Globally people are preparing for December celebrations, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule (winter solstice) and Kwanzaa, in ways that honour the celebration but also follow the COVID restrictions. This year’s festivities will be quite different and will be coloured by the losses of not being able to gather with family and friends to celebrate, and the losses of our loved ones in the past year. Together we can get through this. In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, be kind, be calm, be safe.
We wish you and your loved ones peace and good health through the holiday season and in the new year.
In keeping with the season, I would like to share some of the good experiences that came my way this year and to offer you these following resources.
Grief and Bereavement Resources
If you or someone you know is finding the holidays difficult, or more difficult this year, know that there is support for you. In BC, we are fortunate to have the BC Bereavement Helpline. Each province has their own resources – find them using the search terms “grief support [your province].
- For anyone experiencing loss and grief, Virtual Hospice offers user identified discussion forums for anyone dealing with loss and grief where you can meet with others and share experiences. They also provide information to help you identify what you are experiencing.
- For health care providers, check these resources to support yourself as you support everyone else during COVID.
Working with FNHA to Support Family After Sudden Death
We know it is difficult when a loved one dies and that it is a more difficult experience for the family when the person’s death is sudden. Working with First Nation Health Authority in BC, I was honoured to develop webinars for nurses and health care assistants as they support people in their end-of-life journey.
Using the Wellness Wheel to Learn About the End-of-Life Journey
In collaboration with Darien Thira, and in response to the opioid crisis, we offer and will offer the following webinars.
Colonization and Sudden Death: First Response and Critical Incident Checklist
Trauma Braid and a Three Step Approach to Support Family and Community Wellness (December 9, 2021)
Walking Four Traditional Cultural Pathways of Health Grieving with the Bereaved (January 13,2021)
You are invited to listen to any or all these webinars from this website. We thank FNHA and Darien for making these wonderful presentations available.
NEW Online Program for PSWs/HCAs
Canadian Palliative Care Education Program for Personal Support Workers – Online Program
We have launched an exciting new education option for Health Care Assistants / Personal Support Workers, to support HCAs/PSWs to build skills to feel confident and competent when supporting people to live and to die. The pilot class began this week with more than fifty HCAs and community members from across British Columbia.
Contact us if you are interested and want to know more!
Supporting HCAs During COVID and Beyond
This project’s goal was to support Health Care Assistants (HCAs, also known as Personal Support Workers) across BC dealing with COVID stresses. I was honoured to work with the BC Centre for Palliative Care (BCCPC), where we met with HCAs, heard their fears and concerns, as well as a few of their stories of caring during COVID. The result was a series of interactive webinars titled, “Kitchen Table Chats with Kath and Misha” with presentations by either Misha Butot or myself, followed with time for HCAs to talk about their work and stresses of caring during COVID. I invite you to listen to the webinar recordings on the following topics:
- Social Connection in a Time of Physical Distancing
- Adapting Rituals of Grief for Growth
- Self Reflection to Support Grief for Growth
- Fear and Anxiety – Caring for People During COVID.
Stories of the Heart
From the HCA stories described above, Kathleen Yue from BCCPC produced a video titled, “Stories of the Heart.” The stories are a celebration of the work of HCAs, and are inspiring and educational. The full video as well as short clips of less than 30 seconds are available.
Preparing PSWs to Meet the Challenges Identified in the Ontario LTC Report
This is an important report with information that can help all health care providers and decisions makers to prepare for the coming years. This key paper from the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care, published in July 2020, reports on staffing in long term care. Their report identified the multiple challenges experienced daily by PSWs and indicated that one reason for staffing shortages was the high rate of PSWs leaving their careers. Significant recommendations included ways to help support and retain PSWs in the workforce, including the need to integrate PSWs as full members of the health care team.
We were excited by this report because it echos the challenges we have heard from PSWs/HCAs across the country over the past years. If was a great coincidence that the new PSW text, which identifies ways for PSWs to meet the challenges identified in the Ontario report, was released the same month!
I hope you and your colleagues will read the report or the executive summary, as a way to stimulate conversations on how to prepare, engage and retain PSWs/HCAs in the workforce.
NEW Textbook and Workbook for PSWs/HCAs
Second Edition, Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers
The biggest accomplishment for LDM this year was the launch of the Second edition of the PSW text, Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers. This new edition includes new content to help PSWs/HCAs and their educators to address current issues in health care. You can watch the launch video that highlights the new features in the text and companion resources.
The text, workbook and Instructor resources were updated, including new teaching decks (Powerpoints). Plus all resources are available online in the virtual classroom.
If you’re looking for excellent readable options for teaching palliative care, then take a close look at these!
One of the common symptoms experienced by people with COVID is difficulty breathing. We offered and continue to offer videos and textbook excerpts on how to support a person experiencing breathlessness related to COVID free to the community. These videos may be of interest to HCAs/PSWs/ other health care providers and family members.