Thematic Symposia

Thematic symposia are highlights of the scientific program. Each Symposium is comprised of three to five individuals chosen for their special expertise on the topic. Symposium topics confirmed to date include:

*Substitute and Supported Decision Making  in Canada: Legal Options and Practical Issues (Conveners - Kathleen Cunningham, LLB - Executive Director,  BC Law Institute and Krista James, LLB - National Director, Canadian Centre for Elder Law )

All adults have the right to make their own decisions. However, there are many reasons that someone may wish to put a support system or network into place so that decisions can be made when the adult is not able or available to make the decision. The panel will discuss a range of issues of importance to seniors when making the required documents, as well as the legal issues and considerations that should be addressed by their financial/legal advisors and health care providers including: Substitute and supported decision making – how do these concepts differ? The scope and the limits of the legal documents such as powers of attorney, representation agreements and advance directives and their counterparts in other provinces. The unique features of BC’s representation agreement and the scope of the representative’s authority under s.7 and s.9 agreements for financial and health care decision making.  The latest developments in supported decision making arrangements in Canada and the USA will be reviewed and the panel will share experiences on assisting clients to make both s. 7 and s.9 representation agreements and advance directives and discuss the issues and challenges for health care providers when faced with patients when decisions must be made. 

*Forward Financial Planning, the Potential for Elder Abuse and Choices that May  Prevent It - (Convener- Martha Jane Lewis, LLB - Executive Director  BC Centre for Elder Abuse and Advocacy)

Topics to include transfer of ownership of home or adding child to the title; lending vs giving money to children; adding child’s name to bank account (joint accounts); misuse of powers of attorney; appointing monitors

*Death and Dying Experiences and Creative Care Approaches in Diverse Communities (Convener - Sharon Koehn, PhD - Clinical Assistant Professor, SFU Gerontology Dept.)
Canada’s older adults are extremely diverse across many dimensions of identity, such as ethnicity, country of origin, religion, gender orientation and sexual identity. One in five Canadians are foreign born and the same proportion identifies as a visible minority. On the 2012 Canadian Community Survey, 2.4% of Canadians identified as homosexual or bisexual, but this is widely believed to be an underestimate. This diverse landscape requires a shift in thinking about the ways in which older adults understand and experience death and dying and the appropriate institutional responses to people at the end of life and their families. Our panel members include speakers from Canada's and B.C.'s two largest ethnocultural groups--Chinese and South Asian--who reflect the religious diversity within them as well as different professional perspectives on the topic. Also included here is a speaker on the death and dying experiences of LGBTQ older adults

* Quality End of Life Care in Long Term Care and Hospice Settings  (Convener - Marissa MacDonald, BSN -  Ridge Meadows Hospice Society Board of Directors)

According to the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada (2010), as our population ages, the number of Canadians dying each year will increase by 40% to 330,000. By 2036 more than 425,000 Canadians will die per year. In that same year, more than 2 million Canadians will be affected by the death of a loved one. Quality End-of-Life care should be available to all Canadians despite their place of residence. As stated on the Government of British Columbia website, “End-of-Life care is supportive and compassionate care that focuses on comfort, quality of life, respect for personal health care treatment decisions, support for the family, and psychological, cultural and spiritual concerns for dying people and their families.” This symposium will offer three unique perspectives regarding the programs, practices and principles that contribute to Quality End of Life Care in Long Term Care and Hospice Settings. Panel topics include: Integrating a Palliative Approach in Long Term Care; Companioning and Presence in Long Term Care; and Bridging the Research-Practice Gap through Partnership.