Compassionate Communities Forum

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The Compassionate Communities Forum is a one-day virtual event hosted by the Palliative Institute.

The forum brings together community organization members, health care providers and others interested in improving public support for palliative care and advance care planning, for a day that inspires, equips and builds connections.

Compassionate Communities Forum 2023

The Palliative Institute hosted its second Compassionate Communities Forum on Thursday, November 30, 2023, centred on the theme of Growing and Sustaining Compassionate Communities.

Objectives of this year’s forum included:

  • Bringing together key stakeholders and partners in Alberta’s Compassionate Communities movement and providing a venue for networking and idea sharing.
  • Highlighting the work of Compassionate Community champions across Alberta.
  • Sharing the tools and resources we have developed to raise awareness of palliative care and advance care planning and supporting our partners in leveraging these resources.

Special thanks to all our event participants and attendees, as well as the members of our forum scientific committee for helping plan and execute it.

9:00 – 9:25 am | Welcome and Introductions

9:25 – 9:50 am | Opening Keynote Speaker – Dr. Shane Sinclair

9:50 – 10:00 am | Compassionate Alberta in Action
This brief session will summarize the Palliative Institute’s work to raise public awareness of palliative care and advance care planning. It will introduce five tools developed in collaboration with community partners and enable participants to choose which workshop to join in the next session.

10:00 – 11:30 am | Compassionate Community Tool Workshops
These workshops will provide participants with the opportunity to experience or learn about the Compassionate Alberta tools developed and championed by the Palliative Institute.
Participants may select one of the following workshops:

11:30 – 11:45 am | Break

11:45 am – 12:45 pm | Compassionate Communities Showcase
This session will showcase grassroots community initiatives that are helping Albertans plan ahead, learn about palliative care, build supportive communities or talk about death and dying. Attendees will be able to select one of the three breakout rooms.

Room 1

  1. Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley: “Understanding the Palliative Care Landscape in the Bow Valley”
  2. Imagine Institute for Learning: “Free Mental Health First Aid Supporting Older Adults Training”
  3. Multicultural Health Brokers: “Multicultural Seniors Outreach Program”
  4. Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories: “Seeds of Hope Learning Series”

Room 2

  1. Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association: “Palliative Care Training for the Community”
  2. Hospice Calgary: “Companion Program”
  3. Edmonton People in Need Shelter Society: “Providing Palliative Care in the Inner City”
  4. Caregivers Alberta: “Living with Grief and Loss”

Room 3

  1. Foothills Country Hospice Society: “Beyond Hospice: Empowering Rural Communities”
  2. Pilgrims Hospice Society: “Enhanced Resident, Caregiver, and Grief Group Participant Experience Through Music Therapy”
  3. Wellspring Alberta: “Living with a Cancer That May Never Go Away (In Community)”
  4. Modern Caregiving Solutions: “Multilingual PEOLC Microlearning Courses”

12:45 – 1:45 pm | Lunch Break

1:45 – 2:45 pm | Community Voices Panel
In this moderated panel discussion, panelists will share personal stories about how compassionate communities make a difference in people's lives.

Panelists: Bill Zheng, Sam Chapple, Tania Jacobs
Moderator: Christina Frangou

2:45 – 3:45 pm | Planning for Community Action
This session will allow you to network with other participants and develop concrete action plans to take back to your organizations and communities.

3:45 – 3:55 pm | Break

3:55 – 4:15 pm | Closing Keynote Speaker – Dr. Naheed Dosani

4:15 pm | Conclusion

If you attended or participated in this year's forum and would like to watch video content from it, you can do so here. This page is password protected and available only to forum participants and attendees.

Participants and attendees will receive an email with the password to access the video page. Please contact us if you have not received the password.

For more information on our 2023 Compassionate Communities Forum, read our Growing and Sustaining Compassionate Communities report.

Compassionate Communities Forum 2022

8:30 – 9:00 am | Welcome Remarks

9:00 – 9:45 am | Keynote Speaker 1 – Dr. Allan Kellehear

9:45 – 9:50 am | Break

9:50 – 10:50 am | Canadian Panel 
Join us for a panel discussion based on the topic of Compassionate Communities and how adopting this global movement has helped to shape Canadian perspectives and practices. 


  • Bonnie Tompkins, Compassionate Communities National Lead at Pallium Canada
  • Dr. Eman Hassan, Executive Director at the British Columbia Centre for Palliative Care 
  • Dr. Hsien Seow, Canadian Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System at McMaster University
  • Dr. Martin LaBrie, Palliative Consulting Physician at Alberta Health Services

10:50 – 11:00 am | Break

11:00 – 11:45 am | Keynote Speaker 2 – Dr. Cathy Payne, All Ireland Institute of Hospice & Palliative Care

11:45 am – 12:30 pm | 5 Tools Workshop
The Palliative Institute is adapting and developing tools and resources to raise awareness of palliative care and advance care planning for the Alberta public and its communities. Join us in the following five workshops to learn and talk about the exciting work we have underway.


  1. Learn about tools under development by the Palliative Institute to improve public engagement with palliative care and advance care planning
  2. Discuss how you and/or your organization might use these tools

Workshop 1: Death Cafe (Presenters: Abisola Omoniyi and Jingjie Xiao)

Death Café is a grassroots movement that, under the guidance of a facilitator, encourages discussion of death and dying using informal social gatherings. The café-style event provides a safe space for people to talk about death, dying, and mortality over the shared experience of having tea and cake.

Workshop 2: Introduction to Palliative Care (Presenters: Carleen Brenneis and Charlene Scharf)

We are pleased to promote the work of the All-Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), who have developed an online module titled “Introduction to Palliative Care.” This module aims to help the general public understand the ins and outs of palliative care. It is a free, self-directed, online course that provides simple information on palliative care and uses short videos to share accurate facts and dispel myths. 

Workshop 3: PalliLearn Community Education Program (Presenters: Mary-Ann Shantz and Tyler Hamil)

The Palliative Institute is proud to be partnering with Palliative Care Queensland (Australia) to promote their innovative webinar series, PalliLearn. This series of webinars aims to educate the public, build community capacity on issues related to dying, death and bereavement and support caregivers. 

Workshop 4: Coming Full Circle Workbook (Presenters: Hussain Ahmed and Daina Sparling)

“Coming Full Circle” is a resource created by Canadian Virtual Hospice that encourages individuals to reflect on personal values and what matters most to them in the context of medical emergencies and loss of decision-making capability. This work builds on Your Conversation Starter Guide, a tool created by the “Conversation Project,” an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

Workshop 5: Advance Care Planning Alberta Toolkit (Presenters: Patricia Biondo and Ben Freeland)

As leaders in innovation, the Palliative Institute is in the process of creating an Alberta-specific toolkit designed to help organizations raise awareness of advance care planning in their communities. This comprehensive toolkit contains information on advance care planning, key messages, promotional materials and an inventory of resources aimed at equipping every Albertan to complete personal, legal and financial planning with confidence. 

12:30 – 1:15 pm | Lunch Break

1:15 pm – 2:05 pm | Keynote Speaker 3 – Shyla Mills, Palliative Care Queensland

2:05 – 2:50 pm | Communities Session
Join us for a virtual World Cafe session!  Choose from several different breakout rooms, all focused on a different community with connections to Palliative Care.  Visit more than one room to learn and connect with like-minded communities. 

Communities will include:

  • Legal, Financial Planning & Insurance
  • Hospice & Palliative Care Societies
  • Libraries
  • Senior Serving Organizations
  • Faith and Cultural communities

2:50 – 3:00 pm | Break

3:00 – 3:45 pm | Bringing it All Together
In this final session of the day we will convene in one large room to listen to reflections from the earlier sessions of the day. 

To cap off this forum, we will hear from the Palliative Institute on the steps to move forward to accomplish a more compassionate community. 

3:45 pm | Event Ends

For more information on our 2022 Compassionate Communities Forum, read our Building Compassionate Communities report.

For an update on the progress made on the recommendations included in this report, read our progress report addendum.

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