Normalizing Conversations

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  • Here is an article I came across that really does a great job of explaining how people who have lost someone, grieve regular. As noted, people around us acknowledge that we grieve on the big anniversaries but often they are not aware that we grieve regularly.

    How could we show those around us that we are having a tough day of mourning? Is there something we can wear that would show them we are mourning someone today?

    Great read and very applicable to the work of #CompassionateCommunities.…

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  • Reposting Yvonne's TedX talk to the Normalizing Conversations topic area.
    Yvonne Heath

  • END GAME movie, helping communities normalize the conversation!

    End Game weaves together three stories of visionary medical providers who practice on the cutting edge of life and death, helping to change the way we think about both. They are dedicated to relieving suffering, and to changing the way we think about—and make choices about—how we live our lives as we near life’s end.

    How can this video be used in your Compassionate Community work? Host a movie night and use the attached Conversation Guide for this movie. I would suggest hosting this event with someone who has experience in difficult conversation to help if needed. Great partnership event with the hospice and library or faith community.

    Access the movie here:

  • SICK BOY podcast, brings real people with life-altering illnesses to a growing audience. In an unparalleled combination of what he calls “bro-science,” humor, and compassion, Saunders inspires us to move beyond euphemism and platitude to speak directly of the things that matter most. The goal of the podcast - to help people make the most out of life!

    Great podcast to share as it will help to normalize the conversation about serious illness in a relaxed, serious but lighthearted way.

    Watch Jeremie talk about why the podcast is needed:…

    Sick Boy podcast:

  • Doctors in Montreal can now prescribe a visit to an art museum. What a great idea and collaboration. There is much talk about how to increase supports that are social for those who are feel isolated. This is very much apart of a Compassionate Community (CC).

    Could CC champions use this idea and put a CC lens on it? Maybe work with key partners to get this type of social prescribing in their community and then have exhibits going that cover topics of caregiving, serious illness, dying and grieving? What do you think Brock Nicholson, Anitra Bostock?…

  • Great video posted on Twitter by Dr David Henderson:
    Analogy to firefighters is great!

    David is a palliative care physician in Truro, Nova Scotia and senior director for integrated palliative care in Nova Scotia:…

  • Examples of how the Media can support Compassionate Community Initiatives

    Much of the work that is needed when kicking off a community wide initiative like Compassionate Community is about increasing the awareness of your initiative. The Compassionate City Charter highlights the role for media to help increase awareness, this is framework many of us use as a guide for their compassionate community. Below are some example of media covering initiatives in Canada so far:

    Compassionate Ottawa - this initiative has had several pieces in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper.

    1. New Ottawa program aims to help people live well at the end of their lives (Feb 6, 2019):…

    2. Busing: How we can truly support those facing death or grieving over loss (February 4, 2019):…

    Compassionate Communities in the Montreal area - West Island Palliative Care Residence is working to support several Compassionate Community initiatives in the Montreal area and CTV is helping to increase the awareness.

    3. Kick off of a new institute and a look at Compassionate Communities:

    4. New palliative care research institute hopes to create model to end-of-life-care:…

    The media can also help with normalizing the conversation on important topics such as serious-illness, caregiving, dying, and grieving. Here is a recent example in the news when a family lost their 5 children in a fire and the local news did a piece on dealing with loss, as the local community was really struggling with this tragedy.

    5. Coping with loss:

  • Title: Student Mural Encourages a Compassionate Brock (2018)

    This article is helpful to review if you're looking for inspiration to start normalizing conversations regarding caregiving, dying, death and grieving (the death journey) within your Compassionate Community. 

    The Together We Rise (TWR) initiative was led by undergraduate public health students with the vision to destigmatize the death journey within Compassionate Brock (a Compassionate University) through art. An asset-based community development approach was applied when designing, creating, displaying and promoting a mural in collaboration with community partners and student volunteers. TWR socialized various community sectors on the topic, ultimately contributing to death literacy and building a supportive social environment.

    This project was launched and shared with the Brock community with media support from The Brock News and other university media platforms.
    Click here to read the full article:…

  • Title: Encouraging an assets rather than a deficits approach to the last phase of life (2017)

    Scott Murray states "The ability to make sense of stresses helps people cope and make life more manageable." This statement certainly applies to people experiencing serious-illness, caregiving, dying, and grieving as there are so many unknowns. 

    This blog post talks about disease trajectories which are used in the healthcare field. Murray's version of the trajectories cover the typical patterns seen in-relation to physical, social, mental, and spiritual. By sharing these disease trajectories, we will increase the understand of what the patient is going through. This will lead to better quality of life for the patient and those around them.

    I have used this video when working on the ground in Burlington, Ontario. Faith communities found this knowledge very helpful in understanding what supports they could offer. 

    Read the full blog post here:

    Scott A Murray: Encouraging an assets rather than a deficits approach to the last phase of life

    To watch and use the video "living and dying well", click here: