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Compassionate Ottawa

04/06/2019

Compassionate Ottawa is a grassroots initiative that focuses on improving quality of life for the elderly through awareness campaigns and engaging diverse communities. Our goal is to help Ottawa to become a compassionate community—that is, a community that publicly encourages, facilitates, supports and celebrates care for one another during life’s most testing moments and experiences, especially those pertaining to life-threatening and life-limiting illness.

How did we get started?

Almost three years ago, four-dozen representatives of a wide cross-section of community and healthcare provider organizations met to explore the idea of Ottawa becoming a compassionate community for palliative care—a grass roots community-based model of care for those facing life threatening illnesses.

By March 2017, the feedback from health, social service and community organizations was very clear—there was a real need for what was being proposed and all organizations expressed a desire to be part of the venture.

Over the course of the next two years, Compassionate Ottawa’s volunteer group developed programs with workplaces, schools and faith communities and workshops in advance care planning.

What are some examples of our work?

Compassionate Ottawa has spoken to over 40 groups to date about the importance of discussing wishes and desires surrounding end-of-life care, in locations such as retirement communities, community centres, faith groups, and libraries.

As well, in partnership with the two French school boards, Compassionate Ottawa is developing tools that will serve to initiate conversations with various groups within the school community through a project entitled “Dying, death, loss and grief: Building a shared language in the school community.”

Compassionate Ottawa also acts as the sponsor for the HELP Ottawa project, which will work with 4 communities—two community health centres and two faith communities to build, implement and evaluate local sustainable initiatives to create meaningful change.

We have seen an incredible amount of growth over the past three years and are so excited to continue the journey! We are truly thankful to have the opportunity to help people realize how they can live as long as they can as well as they can.

This article was put together by Paula Campbell from Compassionate Ottawa.

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