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CAPHC conference 2017

I was awarded the privilege of attending the CAPHC2017 conference in Montréal this past week, Oct 22-24. The acronym stands for Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centres, and they are fundamental in affecting system-wide change to pediatric healthcare in our country through promoting, facilitating, and advocating for national health delivery guidelines through evidentiary support. I also attended the CFAN symposium on Oct 22, which is the Canadian Family Advisor Network, an incredibly vital network supporting Patient and family centered care. There were many thought provoking, emotion otionally and ethically charged discussions, symposiums and speakers at both CAPHC and CFAN; all relating to and encompassing Pediatric Healthcare in Canada. It was a fantastic opportunity to converse with others from across our country and discuss avenues of change and that, despite being a diverse and vast country, our needs and experiences have many common threads and overlaps and deficiencies. Speaking with many and listening to those in the panel discussions brought home that we all have different experiences and circumstances, but we also have commonalities amongst those differences that span across all demographic and social boundaries.

I must admit I severely underestimated how draining this conference would be, not physically but rather, emotionally on me. And I am thankful for that, thankful that I was given this opportunity. Not only were the topics poignant, weighted, relevant and provoking, I was able to spend almost a week sharing Bran with others in a setting where he was just 'another kid' where he fit in amongst those at the round table of chronic medical fragility or child loss. Where my normal of parenting him through his memory was echoed back from others. I'm thankful for the opportunity of others being able to share their loved ones - living and passed - with me. Thankful of the conversations we engaged in, and especially with those in positions to tangibly implement change. I've been to conferences previously when I was actively practicing in Interior Design, where it's 'work' -engaging work, absolutely - but at the end of the day, you can turn it off. It isn't emotionally or even personally charged to the extent that this one was. With this conference, however; especially for those of us in the patient advisor roles, this wasn't a week we could turn off - this is our life, and our normal. Our realities. Having now returned home, I've spent the past few days just basking in time spent with my little family, and celebrating the here and now. It was my first trip away from my 18 month old since he was born, and the first time traveling without my husband in years, for this length of time. As a homebody, I find solace and respite in returning to my nest and filling my cup with life's little moments. I'm hopeful I will be able to attend next year's CAPHC conference, being held in Edmonton. Until then, there is networking, volunteering, advocacy and change ready to be done. Enough to keep me busy over the next year, amongst other exciting projects in my desk and heart. If you want to check out the two organizations or are interested in learning more about how to promote and enact change, visit (CFAN can be found under the Patient & Family Centered care tab).   

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