Holly Prince Wins Innovator of the Year Award

The Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health (CERAH) at Lakehead University is pleased to announce that Project Manager, Holly Prince, is the successful candidate for the first ever “International Congress Innovator of the Year” award as part of the 22nd International Congress on Palliative Care 2018 in Montreal, Quebec.

This award recognizes an individual who has introduced change that has improved hospice and palliative care in their health facility or program, community, country or beyond.  Six finalists were chosen through a peer review process of 51 nominees from 16 countries to compete in a high-energy power hour of innovation on Wednesday, October 3, 2018. An interdisciplinary team of peer reviewers from the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and Canada selected the six finalists. Finalists had six minutes to capture the attention of the voting audience and a panel of eminent Palliative Care judges, including Honorable Sharon Carstairs, former Minister with special responsibilities for Palliative Care, Dr. Manuel Borod, director of the Division of Supportive and Palliative Care at McGill University, and Dr. Mike Harlos, Medical Director of Adult and Pediatric Palliative Care Services for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

Prince, an Anishinabek woman from the Red Rock Indian Band, was nominated to present on “Developing Palliative Care for First Nations Communities: A Workbook.” The workbook is an 85-page PDF document accompanied by 83 educational, administrative and program development tools and resources available in various formats, including Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, PDF and video files.  The workbook is considered a living document and communities are encouraged to make adaptations as they use the content.  Most tools and resources can be customized to communities by adding their own logos, photos and information.

Foundational to this work is a 5-year (2010-2015) Aboriginal Health Intervention grant “Improving End-of-Life Care in First Nations Communities: Generating a Theory of Change to Guide Program and Policy Development” (EOLFN) that was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and led by Dr. Mary Lou Kelley.  Prince was a co-investigator and Project Manager for this grant.  This project was conducted in partnership with four First Nations communities in Ontario and Manitoba.  The goal of this research was to improve the end-of-life care in the four First Nations communities by developing community-based palliative care programs and teams. The research achieved the following outcomes: created locally designed and controlled palliative care programs in four First Nations communities, developed a workbook for use by First Nations communities nationally, developed policy documents to guide health care decision makers and the federal/provincial/territorial governments, and documented a process of palliative care program development in First Nations communities.

During her presentation, Prince describes the workbook as, “created by First Nations communities, for First Nations communities.  It is a bottom up and inside out community capacity development approach.  It follows a five phase culturally appropriate visual for developing palliative care programs.  Each phase of the model incorporates community and culture and is enhanced by resources.  These resources offer guidance for providing care, creating collaborations, strengthening partnerships, providing education to First Nations care providers, and advocating for enhanced services and supportive policy.”  As with many Canadians, First Nations individuals living in community prefer to die at home, but they lack access to local palliative care services, especially proper pain and symptom management.  As a result, many First Nations people must leave the community to receive care.  As Prince states, “Our Elders, the very same people who had to leave community to attend residential school system, are now having to leave community once again – this time for care at end-of-life. Separated from their community, their culture, their language, their traditions.” 

The workbook has been widely distributed at regional, provincial, national and international conferences, and Health Canada’s First Nation and Inuit Health Branch National Office organized to have 300 copies of the workbook distributed to communities in Canada.  In Ontario, over 130 First Nations health care providers attended workshops to implement and learn about the workbook for their communities. In Quebec the workbook is being translated into French for use in their communities.

Communities have indicated the value of the workbook and many have provided testimonies on how they are currently using the workbook.  Home and Community Care, Inuit and First Nations Health Branch, Quebec region, in partnership with First Nations of Quebec, Labrador Health and Social Services Commission describe that “culture holds an important place in end-of-life care in palliative care services.  First Nations communities are committed to providing care that is culturally meaningful and secure.  The fact that culture is presented in the workbook was instrumental in our decision to use and promote this resource.”  The workbook and all associated tools and resources is available for download at no cost on the Improving End-of-Life for First Nations website: http://eolfn.lakeheadu.ca/