What is Community Engagement?

Many people are afraid to talk about end of life, dying and bereavement. These are often considered taboo subjects — but they don’t need to be.

Hospice of Waterloo Region actively engages WITH our community to build a better understanding of what it means to live well until the end. We support people through all walks of life. Perhaps you want to know how to start a conversation about what matters most to you. Or maybe you have a serious illness and are looking for support for you and your family.

A compassionate community is one that recognizes that all natural cycles of sickness and health, birth and death, and love and loss occur every day …. ..its residents recognize that care  for one another at times of crisis and loss is not simply the task of the health and social services but is EVERYONE’s responsibility.

- Prof Allan Kellehear

How We Engage with the Community

We offer a broad network of support, and we do this in a number of ways. This collaborative effort can involve raising awareness, educational and skills training, connecting with existing resources, building partnerships, and creating new approaches.

Building a compassionate community requires a collaborative effort, and Hospice of Waterloo Region is committed to partnering with the community in the workplace, in places of worship, in academic settings and anywhere else that people gather together. Our goal is to open up the conversation about death and dying and build the capacity of each and every one of us to support and care for the dying and the grieving.

Here are some of the ways we invite you to join us in building our compassionate community:

Education and Workshops

Advance Care Planning 101

Regardless of a person’s age or health status, serious accidents and sudden health changes can happen. Imagine you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions…who would decide for YOU?

Join us as we look at health care decision making in Ontario and how Advance Care Planning conversations can help you and your loved ones. This session is all about how the law in Ontario sets up Substitute Decision Making, and what you need to know about choosing your Substitute Decision Maker (SDM). This is essential information you need to know about Advance Care Planning in Ontario. Advance Care Planning – the gift you give each other! 

  • Who Is This For? For anyone living in Ontario; we have delivered this session to individuals, as well as in a group setting (faith groups, service clubs, workplaces, etc.)
  • How Long is Each Session? Each session is approximately one hour in length, and can be delivered virtually or in person
  • How Can I Learn More? Contact Sheli, sheli@hospicewaterloo.ca

Advance Care Planning — The Conversations Worth Having

If you’ve taken Advance Care Planning 101, you understand the law around Substitute Decision Making. Now it’s time to consider how to have those tender conversations with loved ones.

Have you decided who will make health care decisions for you if you cannot? Join us in this interactive session as we work through these important conversations – who to talk to , what to talk about and how to start these conversations. It’s never too late until it IS.

  • Who Is This For? For anyone living in Ontario; we have delivered this session to individuals, as well as in a group setting (faith groups, service clubs, workplaces, etc.)
  • How Long is Each Session? Each session is approximately one hour in length, and can be delivered virtually or in person
  • How Can I Learn More? Contact Sheli, sheli@hospicewaterloo.ca
ACP 1:1 Coaching
If you have specific questions about Advance Care Planning that you would like to discuss on a one-to-one basis, we can help. Sessions are available by phone, virtually, or in person at Hospice Waterloo Region. To learn more, call 519-743-4114 ext. 114.
Hospice 101 — MORE THAN A BED

For close to three decades, Hospice Waterloo Region has been supporting people and their loved ones through life-limiting illness, death and grief through a number of community programs. However, most people really don’t know what hospice palliative care is and how we can support someone who is dying and their loved ones.

We invite you to join us as we share what Hospice’s community outreach looks like, how we have expanded our support to include a 10-bed residence, and what we can do together to help residents and their loved ones to LIVE WELL.

  • Who Is This For? For anyone living in Ontario; we have delivered this session to individuals, as well as in a group setting (faith groups, service clubs, workplaces, etc.)
  • How Long is Each Session? Each session is approximately one hour in length, and can be delivered virtually or in person
  • How Can I Learn More? Contact Sheli, sheli@hospicewaterloo.ca
LAST AID — How to Support Someone Who is Dying or Grieving

Have you heard of the 95%* rule? Research suggests that when someone is seriously ill, only about 5% of their time is spent with health care providers and the other 95% of the time is spent alone, with family, friends,colleagues, pets, etc. Caring for  those who are dying and grieving is everyone’s responsibility.

What are you doing in that 95% to support the people you care about who are dying or grieving?  

Last Aid is a short course that is designed to provide you with the basic or should we say “provide you with an overview of what you need to know to better support someone….” who is dying by providing you with the knowledge to feel more confident in talking to and caring for the people that matter to you.

Topics covered in the Last Aid program include:

  • Dying as a normal part of life
  • Planning ahead
  • Relieving suffering
  • Final goodbyes

Who Is This For: For anyone living in Ontario; we have delivered this session to individuals, as well as in a group setting (faith groups, service clubs, workplaces, etc.)

How Long is Each Session? Sessions can be offered in one 3-hour session or two 90-minute sessions, virtually or in person.

How Can I Learn More: Contact Sheli, sheli@hospicewaterloo.ca

*95% rule: Allan Kellehear, Compassionate Communities  

Learn more by watching one of the recent webinars by our team of highly trained ACP Ambassadors, as featured on our YouTube channel.

Other Events

  • Death CaféWithout a set agenda, this is an engaging way to connect with others in candid conversation to help us live life more fully now. This informal gathering provides a supportive space once a month to share thoughts, ideas, concerns, questions and experiences about end of life, loss, death and dying. Be mindful that this is not a counseling or grief support group.
  • Film FridayLet the Arts be a catalyst for conversation! Join us here at the Hospice of Waterloo Region building as we gather to watch and discuss both old and new films that bring us unique perspectives on death, dying and bereavement. You might be surprised to find that there is humour and healthy debate along with moments that pull at your heartstrings.
  • Book StudiesIsn’t it true that we learn best through stories? Join our passionate facilitators as they search the book publishing community for great books and stories that spark lively and thought-provoking discussion. These sessions may be offered in person or virtually.
  • #YODOContest Short Film CompetitionHospice Waterloo Region is proud to partner with the Grand River Film Festival on this annual short film contest, which calls on local filmmakers and storytellers to tell stories that focus on death as a part of life. You Only Die Once: #YODOContest is about living well until you die. This phrase reminds us that life matters right until the end, and that how we live to the end does matter. Learn more.

Advance Care Planning in Ontario

ACP is simply planning ahead for your future health care. It’s deciding who will make health care decisions for you in the event you are too ill or injured to make those decisions for yourself. In Ontario, deciding who will be your Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) and having conversations with them about what matters to you helps ensure that YOUR medical care wrapped around YOUR wishes and priorities.

Have Questions?

For more information about community activities, please contact Sheli O’Connor, the Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships at Hospice Waterloo Region: sheli@hospicewaterloo.ca

Hospice Waterloo Region is grateful for funding from the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation in support of many of these community activities.

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