Profile of Patient Support Activities in Canada: Calgary, AB

Profile of Patient Support Activities in Canada: Calgary, AB

In this feature, the CPFF recognizes the incredible efforts of volunteers across Canada, and share regional experiences and successes to inspire and promote the wonderful work being done.
This July we are recognizing volunteers in Calgary, AB for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to help Canadians living with PF. Here are a few of their initiatives:
Education: Working closely with Alberta Health Service’s ILD clinic, an ILD Nurse Clinician and volunteers have developed a pulmonary fibrosis presentation as part of an educational session directed towards healthcare professionals. These educational sessions have been provided to acute care cardiac and medical nurses, respiratory therapists, diagnostic imaging technologists, palliative home care nurse educators, hospice nurse educators, and hospice nurse managers. Each education session begins with a personal story by a patient with pulmonary fibrosis or caregiver.

Caregiver support: Calgary volunteers have also developed an 8-week workshop for PF caregivers (family and friends). The workshop provides practical tools to navigate the local healthcare system, communicate with healthcare professionals, develop strategies for stress management, and other helpful tips.

Awareness month activities: September 2016 To commemorate pulmonary fibrosis awareness month, a table was set up at Calgary City Hall where information about pulmonary fibrosis was provided to the public. In conjunction with this event, Mayor Nenshi attended a ceremony to honor local our local PF champions and proclaimed September Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness month in the city of Calgary! Large banners were displayed on four Calgary bridge decks for a two-week period in September to promote awareness month. In addition, awareness tables are set up each month in local hospitals to promote various activities, as well as the existing support group program. September 2017: An exciting month is planned with the Calgary Tower Lights shining red and blue on September 2, 2017 as we kick of PF Awareness month. Awareness tables will be manned at each of the major hospitals and our banners will hang again on the bridgeways of our city.

Local events and conferences: The Pulmonary Fibrosis Society of Calgary was invited to exhibit at the annual Mary O’Connor Palliative and EOL Care conference hosted by Alberta Health Services. We had the opportunity to promote awareness of pulmonary fibrosis to palliative care and hospice healthcare professionals. In addition, volunteers collaborated with the local Lung Association to host an event to raise awareness for ‘Breathing Space’, a proposed residential facility in Edmonton to support lung transplant patients.

Monthly Support Group meetings Under the organization of ILD nurse, Kirk Mathieson our casual educational gatherings continue to host 30-45 people.   Monthly topics and guest speakers help attendees learn more about PF, explore ways to manage PF, meet others living with PF and get answers to questions about PF.  Family members, friends and caregivers are always invited to attend the monthly meetings.  Our second support group also meets once a month an is an informal, drop-in gathering with conversation and sharing of experiences and enjoyed by all.

The CPFF commends Calgary for their outstanding achievements, and encourage others to follow their example to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians affected by pulmonary fibrosis.

For more information on how to get involved, visit www.cpff.ca.