Château Laurier
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Patient and health care professional
Humanizing Health Care Conference 2017
Patient using technology with care staff
October 19-20, 2017
Refugee family and family physician
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Canada 150 logoInternational Conference on Humanizing Health Care: Enhancing Lives. Transforming Care.

Oct. 19-20, 2017 | Ottawa, Ontario Canada | Fairmont Château Laurier

Call for abstracts now open!

If you would like to present at the conference, you can now submit your abstract. Submissions are accepted from Jan. 17 to March 31, 2017.

The New York Times has picked Canada as No. 1 of 52 places to go in 2017, touting it as “a world unto itself, with cosmopolitan cities, barely explored natural wonders and everything in between”. Read the full Ottawa Citizen article


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For decades now the landscape of health care has been shifting due to factors such as, an aging population, complex care needs, technology, and increasing costs and demands. Health care organizations are challenged with tight budgets and constraints, managing expectations to maintain quality service and coordinated care, and ensuring patients, residents and family are engaged in decisions about their care.

Maximizing our human resources, paid and unpaid, and leveraging expertise and skills is more important than ever. As a result there has been a rethinking of how the health care system is organized, integrating service delivery models designed to ensure that we do not lose sight of the human connection, an essential ingredient in the health care experience.

This conference will explore emerging trends and best practices that include relationship centred care and highlight innovative ways to build capacity through community engagement, education, research and technology; cultivating compassion and dignity in an aging society.


  • Humanizing health care is …optimizing human resources, including staff, volunteers and students by understanding, and leveraging their expertise and skills.
  • Humanizing health care is …building the capacity of volunteers to become part of the care team and bridge the service gap
  • Humanizing health care is… putting the health care consumer and their caregivers at the centre of their health care journey, ensuring the service they receive is coordinated, delivered with compassion, maintains their dignity. 
  • Humanizing health care is… colleges and universities revising their curricula to teach students to think about the health and care of the whole person, and incorporating more learning about older adults with complex conditions, including palliative and end-of -life care. 
  • Humanizing health care is… researchers, health care providers and users working together to find innovative ways to enhance care through technology, design, and the arts.
  • Humanizing health care is… including complementary/alternative therapies as part of a patient's care plan. 
  • Humanizing health care is… attending to the spiritual needs of the health care consumer as part of their journey through the health care system 

Target Audience

This event is designed to bring together health care leaders and professionals, volunteer administrators, researchers, faculty members, students, consumers of health care, volunteers, caregivers and community partners who are interested in learning about how to strategically design service delivery to enhance the healthcare experience for all involved.

Conference Themes

  • Enhancing the health care consumer experience: Innovative practices that support humanistic health care
  • Building capacity through community engagement and education
  • Arts and wellness
  • Spirituality: The invisible ingredient in health and health care
  • Technology: How it can promote aging gracefully
  • Person-centred care

Areas of Focus

  • Administrative (Economics and Funding Policies) 
  • Advanced care planning 
  • Aging Well 
  • Building Capacity 
  • Clinical practices or guidelines 
  • Community, Partnerships and Specialized Training 
  • Community engagement 
  • Compassion
  • Complementary therapy 
  • Dementia 
  • Dignity 
  • Evaluation 
  • Evidence based practice 
  • Evidence based research 
  • Health care delivery
  • Leadership and organizational structure 
  • Learning and education 
  • Legal/ethical 
  • Long Term Care 
  • Meditation/Mindfulness 
  • Medical Assistance in death 
  • Music or Sound therapy 
  • Palliative and end-of-life care 
  • Patient and resident experience 
  • Philosophy of care 
  • Relationship-centred care 
  • Strategic Planning 
  • Talent Management 
  • Therapeutic recreation 
  • Volunteer Management 
 Conference Objectives 

  • Provide a forum to share successful leading practices ;
  • Explore common interest in the areas of compassion, dignity and relationship centered care;
  • Address the challenges facing health care organizations capacity to deliver services with fewer resources;
  • Highlight strategies to engage community members such as academic institutions, corporations, professionals and retirees in meaningful volunteer and student opportunities leveraging their skills , experience and expertise ;
  • Discuss innovations and new technologies designed to enhance the healthcare experience for patients, residents, families and staff.
Keynote and plenaries will be simultaneously translated.

Speakers' Biographies

Didier Caenepeel

Didier Caenepeel, O.P., Ph. D. (Phys.), Ph. D. (Th.)
Dominican University College, Faculty of theology

Didier Caenepeel, Dominican friar, is a professor of Moral Theology and Bioethics at the Dominican University College in Ottawa. He holds a doctorate in theology and theoretical physics and is a member of various clinical and research ethics committees in Ottawa, Gatineau, Hawkesbury and Québec. His research focus deals primarily with bioethical and clinical ethics issues, particularly in palliative care and psychiatry. He published two books at the Éditions Mediaspaul :
  • La sédation continue en fin de vie. Enjeux éthiques (Caenepeel, 2005)
  • Penser le soin en psychiatrie. Perspectives éthiques et théologiques (Caenepeel, 2010)
Ole Kassow
Ole Kassow
Cycling Without Age, Purpose Makers

Ole Kassow founded Cycling Without Age and is a partner and co-founder at Purpose Makers. He believes in the power of trust and human kindness and that the future belongs to purpose-driven individuals, companies and organizations. Four years ago, Ole Kassow went unannounced into his local nursing home in Copenhagen and offered the elderly a ride in a trishaw. This turned out to be a big success and quickly had a knock-on effect. Now over 1,000 nursing homes in 25 countries have bought trishaws, and a network of over 8,000 volunteers offers residents the opportunity to get out and feel the wind in their hair. This meeting of generations provides a unique opportunity for the elderly to share their stories and experiences, which are often triggered by these trips out into the local environment. Ole will explain how this initiative not only strengthens trust in communities across generations, but it contributes to both physical and mental well-being of the elderly and volunteers. This gives nursing homes and municipalities a golden opportunity to stimulate and promote health and mobility.

Rev. Elizabeth MacKinlay
Rev. Elizabeth MacKinlay, AM, FACN, PhD
Anglican Church of Australia
Charles Sturt University, School of Theology

Elizabeth is a registered nurse and a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia. She was the inaugural director of the Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies at St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra, until the end of 2012. She is an adjunct professor in the School of Theology at Charles Sturt University. Recently completed research includes an ANZ Charitable Foundation: JO & JR Wicking Trust grant 2007–2010: Minimizing the impact of depression and dementia for elderly people in residential care. A further Wicking Trust grant extended this work, 2011–2014. An active researcher, writer and consultant, Elizabeth has presented many papers and workshops, including keynote addresses both nationally and internationally. Her most recent books include:
  • Palliative Care, Ageing and Spirituality: A guide for older people, carers and families (MacKinlay, 2012) (a Chinese edition of this book has also been published) 
  • Finding meaning in the experience of dementia (MacKinlay & Trevitt, 2012). This book was awarded the 2013 Australasian Journal of Ageing book prize. 
  • Facilitating spiritual reminiscence for people with dementia (learning guide) (MacKinlay & Trevitt, 2015) 
A second edition of Elizabeth’s book The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing is in press.

Mike Nolan
Mike Nolan, BEd, MA, MSc, PhD RGN, RMN
University of Sheffield, Gerontological Nursing

Mike Nolan trained as a teacher in the mid-1970s before entering the nursing profession. He has worked with older people and their family carers for over 35 years. Mike was appointed the UK’s first professor of gerontological nursing in 1995. His research has focused on frameworks promoting partnerships between older people, families and formal caring systems based on the principles of interdependency and mutual respect.


Shane Sinclair
Shane Sinclair, PhD
University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing

His research focuses on psychosocial and spiritual issues within oncology and palliative care, including his nationally funded program of research on compassion. Mr. Sinclair is a former Canadian Institutes of Health Research postdoctoral fellow (University of Manitoba), a recipient of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care Award of Excellence in Research, a top 40 under 40 awardee, the immediate past president of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology and was the 2016 awardee of the International Psychosocial Oncology Society Hiroomi Kawano New Investigator Award.