From early June 2020, just months after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic, five volunteers from the Community Engagement Advisory Network (CEAN) took the initiative and adapted a long-standing workshop from one format to one virtual. This is not an easy task, especially considering the topic of the workshop: advance care planning.
The award-winning Advance Care Planning Workshop began at a public forum in 2010 and has grown steadily since. Canada has an annual day that recognizes the importance of doing this work – Advance Care Planning Day – which takes place on April 16 and encourages people to make “your health care wishes known before they go.” be in a situation where you might no longer be able to speak for yourself. “
CEAN Members (clockwise from top left): Karen Sanderson, Caron Hawrychuk, Katherine Tam and Pat Porterfield. Not pictured: Marisa Shu Chin Ku
People need to be equipped for the unexpected – perhaps more than ever, given the challenges we face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Realizing this, the volunteers demonstrated incredible teamwork and partnered with the BC Center for Palliative Care to make the workshop available online, as well as in different languages.
The five CEAN volunteers have many years of experience in the field of palliative care, end-of-life care committees and palliative care programs – they really understand how sensitive advance care planning can be. and difficult. They believed that face-to-face interaction was the best way to create a supportive environment for participants to learn about the topic. Initially, they thought online facilitation was not for them.
What the volunteers discovered was that, despite their reservations, they were able to adapt and continue to develop the workshop in a way that resonates with the participants. To illustrate this, they take on the challenge of creating a warm and welcoming environment for participants and fostering connection by sharing more information about themselves as well as their own personal stories.
Now, almost a year later, volunteers are seeing many benefits of hosting online advance care planning workshops. They noticed that people from all over Vancouver Coastal Health attend, that more adult children are joining the workshops with their parents, and because the workshop is shorter, they are able to focus the content on key ideas. . As one participant noted, âIt was just long enough and comprehensive enough to be really useful, but not too long nor too overwhelming or with too much new information to be overwhelming. It was a Goldilocks presentation, that’s perfect! “
The workshops are very popular and often have waiting lists. To register for an upcoming advance care planning workshop or to find other opportunities to get involved through Vancouver Coastal Health, visit engage.vhc.ca. To become a CEAN volunteer, register here.
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