Program (Speaker Bios)

This Group Learning activity has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Alberta Chapter for up to 14.75 Mainpro+ Certified credits.

This event is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and accredited by the University of Calgary Office of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development. Participants can claim up to a maximum of 15.75 study credits.

Thursday, June 1

13:15-14:30 OPENING KEYNOTE – Charles Von Gunten
Respect: Earning our place at the table. Towards a cultural change in medicine.
In one generation, the sub-specialty of palliative medicine has gone from an oddball to a key component of health care strategy. Yet, some palliative medicine physicians aren’t noticing the change. From a career at the forefront of these developments in the US, Dr. von Gunten observes what has seemed to help in this transformation still in evolution.
14:30-15:30 CSPCP Special Session (Part I)
Current Educational Approaches to Palliative Care in Canada


  • Summarize current approaches for palliative care education in Canada across all levels of medical education, including undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing professional development; and
  • Identify gaps and challenges in delivering education at these same levels and discuss strategies to improve these.

Anne Boyle
James Downar
Leonie Herx
Anna Voeuk
Charles von Gunten

15:30-15:45 Networking Break
15:45-17:30 CSPCP Special Session (Part II)
Capacity Building for Palliative Care in Canada

  • Explore the challenges of capacity-building for palliative care in Canada;
  • Discuss practical approaches for how palliative care physicians can build capacity for palliative care at various levels of the healthcare system, including institutional, provincial programs and creating centres of excellence;
  • Illustrate with 3 Canadian examples of new capacity-building projects for palliative care at the university, provincial palliative care program and healthcare systems levels; and
  • Summarize the new CSPCP initiative: Palliative Staffing Model project.

Doris Barwich
David Henderson
Jeff Myers

17:30 Welcome Reception in the Exhibit Hall

Friday, June 2

07:30-08:00 Continental Breakfast, Poster Viewing and Exhibits
08:00-09:00 Residents’ Presentations
09:00-10:00 KEYNOTE – Robin Fainsinger
I’m a Clinician – I’m Never Doing Research! Engaging the Reluctant to Achieve the Impossible
Most physicians do not have strong or even any research ambitions as we work through medical school and residency programs. For many years research in palliative care was often discouraged in order to “protect” palliative care patients. Limited time in a busy and often demanding clinical world with minimal training, support and infrastructure resources are also significant handicaps. Despite this research in palliative care has thrived in some programs with an encouraging growth in national and international innovations. How do we find and use our hidden potential?
10:00-10:30 Health/Networking Break, Poster Viewing and Exhibits
10:30-11:45 WORKSHOP SESSION I – Choice of 6 Workshops
Workshop 1 – Eduardo Bruera
An Update on Delirium

Delirium is the most common neuropsychiatric complication in palliative care.  It is a source of severe distress to patients and families.  It is frequently underdiagnosed and undertreated.  This presentation will address clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of delirium in palliative care patients with particular emphasis on cancer related deliriumWorkshop 2 – Bibiana Cujec
End of Life Issues in Patients with Heart Disease

Challenges in end of life care in patients with heart failure will be discussed using case examples. These include uncertainty regarding prognosis, management of advanced therapies such as defibrillators and the need to continue  active heart failure therapy in addition to symptom management.

Workshop 3 – Jennifer Hughes
Beyond DNR: Improving Palliative Care in the Emergency Department

ER physicians provide care daily for people living with advanced cancer and other incurable illnesses. These patients often present to the ER in crisis with uncontrolled symptoms or a terminal event. However, palliative care education is not a formal part of most ER residency training programs and there is much room for capacity-building. In this session, participants will understand the rationale for moving palliative care “upstream” into the ER. We will explore the unique barriers in the ER, examine the ER/palliative care interface across Canada, and discuss methods to engage ER physicians and care providers. We will also review key educational concepts in validated curricula (EPEC-EM and LEAP) that have been developed for ER physicians, and discuss how these can be adapted for work in individual settings.

Workshop 4 – Angela King
Seeing Dementia From the Other Side

Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to communicate with someone who is living with dementia? This workshop looks at specific changes in the brain that make this so. It also provides an opportunity for participants to learn new skills to help them communicate differently and more effectively with persons living with dementia until the end of life. It is a practical “how-to” that will change the way participants think and feel about dementia.

Workshop 5 – William Chimich and Rachel Moll-Dowdell
Behavioral and Mental Health issues in Late Life and End of Life

This workshop will demonstrate a practical clinical approach to assessment and management of behavioral and mental health issues in late life and end of life. An integrated framework of psychosocial and pharmacological interventions regarding the management of responsive behaviors will be emphasized.

Workshop 6 – Ashley Heaslip
Living Fully Even As We Are Dying: Dialogues Around Intimacy and Sexuality in Palliative Care

This workshop will explore the foundational knowledge available nationally and internationally that addresses intimacy and sexuality within palliative care settings. It will utilize this literature to ignite case-based conversations around approaching challenging and sensitive conversations with patients and their loved ones in regards to intimacy and sexuality.

11:45-13:00 Networking Lunch, Poster Viewing and Exhibits
13:00-14:15 WORKSHOP SESSION II – Choice of 6 Workshops
Repeat of Session I
14:15-15:15 Health/Networking Break, Exhibits
Poster Presentations and Judging
15:15-16:30 WORKSHOP SESSION III – Choice of 5 Workshops

Workshop 1 – Pippa Hawley

Methadone is becoming widely used for cancer pain in certain circumstances, and the ability to prescribe it for analgesic purposes is now an essential skill for being able to deliver quality palliative care. This workshop will cover the core components of an online course ( created by Canadian Virtual Hospice with support from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and will provide the information necessary to help any physician to be able to feel comfortable knowing why, when and how to prescribe methadone for pain.

Workshop 2 – Amanda Roze des Ordons and James Downar
Who Wants Feedback? Navigating the Difficult Conversations with Learners

With an increasing focus on competency-based medical education and workplace-based assessments, clinical preceptors will need to have regular and effective feedback conversations with learners. Feedback about communication can be particularly challenging, with the potential for learners to experience strong emotional reactions and develop false confidence or demoralization. This is an interactive workshop designed to help preceptors develop an approach to feedback encounters with learners around their communication skills.

Workshop 3 – Jessica Simon
The Serious Illness Conversation Guide – A Tool for Palliative Care Education

An introduction to Ariadne Lab’s Serious Illness Care Program which facilitates appropriate conversations between clinicians, seriously ill patients and their families and exploring how palliative care providers can use this as a teaching tool.

Workshop 4 – Christina Vadeboncoeur
Pediatric Palliative Care: Challenges for All Providers

This workshop will provide an approach to palliative care in the context of the child with a life limiting illness with an unknown prognosis.  General discussion will be encouraged to identify the most common aspects of pediatric care which differ from adult care.  This will include communication with the child and family, common medical interventions and the duality of palliative care alongside active care.  Strategies to support all who care for these children will be discussed.

Workshop 5: Great Ideas and In the Works – Top 5 Abstracts
Lauren Daley
How Did We Get Here? Exploring Emotional Responses to Patient Death as Medical Residents Establish Professional Identity as Physicians

Teneille Gofton
Teaching Evidence-Based Palliative Care for Paediatric, Neurology, Anaesthesia and ICU Residents

Jeffery Hall
Understanding of and willingness to be involved with Medical Aid in Dying: A survey of McGill University Health Care (MUHC) Staff Physicians

Jenny Lau
Building Compassionate Cities Together

Anne Woods
Palliative Physicians’ Perspectives on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID): Tensions in Compassion

16:30-17:45 CSPCP AGM
18:30-23:00 Awards & Social Evening
Zinc Restaurant, Art Gallery of Alberta (5 minute walk)
$75 per ticket
Join us to celebrate this year’s awardees and to network with friends and colleagues. The theme of the evening is “Ladies, Gentlemen, Heroes and Rogues” cocktail party which will include upgraded hors d’oeuvres and live music. Wear your finest cocktail attire, or come as you are.

Saturday, June 3

07:30-08:30 Continental Breakfast, Poster Viewing and Exhibits
08:45-10:00 KEYNOTE – Serena Lewis
Applying a Generational Scope to Our Palliative Care Practice: Does Age Matter?
Increasing our awareness to the generational impacts of communicating with teams, families and individuals will be the focus of this discussion. The perspective has changed dramatically through the lens of working in palliative care as we become more aware of the generational and historical context of death, dying and grief. If Canadian teams want to strive for strengthening our ability to provide exceptional dying,  challenging discourse and improving our awareness to this scope of practice will enhance our teams.
10:00-10:30 Networking/Health Break, Poster Viewing and Exhibits
10:30-11:45 WORKSHOP SESSION IV – Choice of 6 Workshops
Workshop 1 – Amanda Brisebois and Puneeta Tandon
Cirrhosis: How can Palliative Practitioners Help a Rapidly Growing Population? A Practical Guide

A practical approach to treating patients with cirrhosis in the last years of life. A discussion regarding the natural progression of cirrhosis, prognostication, and patient characteristics that make treating patients difficult. Complications of decompensated cirrhosis will be outlined. In addition, how to manage these complications in the last months to  hours of life will be discussed.Workshop 2 – Meena Kalluri and Janice Richman-Eisenstat
Breathing is Not an Option, Dyspnea is

We will describe our approach to early and integrated palliative care in chronic pulmonary disease such as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/Interstitial Lung Diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease using case studies. The workshop will describe a patient centric approach to multidisciplinary and collaborative ambulatory care.

Workshop 3 – Wendy Johnston and Janis Miyasaki
Tips and Tools to Overcome Neurophobia in Palliative Care

In this case-based workshop presented by 2 neurologists experienced in end of life care, strategies to identify and address common issues in the care of patients with advanced or complex neurological disorders will be addressed.

Workshop 4 – Serena Lewis
Complicated Grief or Complicating Grief: What is the Difference?

A critical lens to approaching grief in Hospice Palliative Care is of the utmost importance as we strive to improve care for families and individuals, as well as support compassion resilience in our teams.
Exceptional dying in Canadian society means examining the needs of the families and individuals within the phobic lens that has been created and perpetuated through our systems. As practitioners are called upon in more complex situations of dying, communication and treatment of grief can be examined critically to assess and improve care.

Workshop 5 – Robin Fainsinger
Positioning our Palliative Care Program to Adapt to the MAiD Era – Interesting Times That Continue to Challenge
Palliative care programs include professionals with diverse opinions on MAiD. How the Edmonton Zone Palliative care program responded to the evolving introduction of MAiD and worked within Alberta Health Services to advocate for a separate MAiD team will be described. We have continued to monitor requests from patients directed to our palliative Care physicians. This experience will be used to facilitate discussion of our national experience on this challenging issue.

Workshop 6 – Daryl Rolfson
Frailty in Clinical Practice
Extended life span in the 21st century is accompanied by an accumulation of non-life threatening “deficits”.  When this accumulation reaches a critical point, individuals become increasingly vulnerable to minor stressors, and manifest illness in atypical, often functional presentations, a pattern known as frailty.  Now that we have valid tools and effective processes to identify, quantify, and qualify frailty, our attention must turn to the way that health care can and should be provided, especially in the last year of life. 

11:45-13:00 Networking Lunch, Poster Viewing and Exhibits
13:00-14:15 WORKSHOP SESSION V – Choice of 6 Workshops
Repeat of Session IV
14:15-15:30 KEYNOTE – Eduardo Bruera
Early Integration of Palliative Care Services: When and How?
The Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton developed one of the first outpatient palliative care programs in the world.  There is now strong evidence that these models of early palliative care access result in reduced symptom burden, Improved quality of life, reduced cost of care, and possibly increased survival in patients with advanced cancer.  This presentation will address the current challenges and opportunities associated with the development of integrated palliative care services.
15:30-15:45 Closing Remarks