A compassionate Ottawa supports and empowers individuals, their families and their communities throughout life for dying and grieving well.

Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa

HELP Ottawa is a ground breaking, community-based initiative to support people with advanced age, frailty, chronic and/or life-limiting illness to live at home or in the community as long as possible. Designed to create a collaborative end of life culture, this three-year project will focus on strengthening family, community and organizational capacity while enhancing and strengthening links between health services, community programs, neighbourhoods and the broader community. Drawing on the HELP approach, first developed at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, HELP Ottawa will work with 4 communities – two community health centres and two faith communities to build, implement and evaluate local sustainable initiatives to create meaningful change.

What is the HELP Approach?

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The HELP approach,

  • uses a strengths-based, people-first program which means listening closely to what people living with advanced illness (and their family, friends, communities, carers) say they need and want.
  • draws on community development principles, which focus on local, meaningful, action-filled, and sustainable links and networks to meet needs.
  • designed to create a collaborative community culture that links informal and formal supports to attend to local end-of-life care needs.

Sponsorship/Funder/Partnerships

HELP Ottawa is an innovative, community-based initiative, which is sponsored by Compassionate Ottawa, and funded by the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada and led by an interprofessional, cross-institutional research team, which includes Dr. Pam Grassau (School of Social Work, Carleton University), Dr. Arne Stinchcombe (Faculty of Human Sciences, Saint Paul University), Dr. David Wright (School of Nursing, University of Ottawa) and Dr. Roanne Thomas (School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ottawa), the HELP project will also be strongly supported by research collaborators, regional health care networks and programs, health care providers, community-based sites and services, neighbourhoods, communities and citizens.

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The overall goal of the research is to develop a Canadian-focused HELP framework that will mobilize more confident, competent, caregiving networks and caregivers to help people living with advanced age, frailty, chronic and/or advanced illness to receive palliative and end-of-life care at home or in the community.

Research Objectives

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  1. To strengthen community social networks, organizational cultures and linkages with local health services.     
  2. To create a community culture that supports people and their caregivers, to feel empowered to ask for and accept help from their family, friends, neighbours, co-workers and other established social networks.
  3. To mobilize and prepare community members to be confident and capable of offering and providing help to seriously ill people and their caregivers in the community.
  4. To mobilize and disseminate findings of the research to support other communities implementing the public health approach to palliative care and for educating physicians and health professionals.

The way forward is actively to encourage closer research and educational links; genuine sharing of resources in collaborative research and service initiatives; more participatory forms of man­agement; and the active promotion of analyses that identify the common problems and the barriers to their solution.” (Kellehear, 1999, p. 177)

Project/Research Design

Drawing on a case study design, and utilizing community based participatory methods, the research team, will work with four communities — two community health centres and two faith communities — to build, implement and evaluate local sustainable initiatives to create meaningful change.

Overall the focus will be on strengthening family, community and organizational capacity, while also enhancing and strengthening links between health services, community programs, neighbourhoods and the broader community.

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Launch – February 6th

HELP Ottawa was launched on Wednesday, February 6th at Carleton University.

For More Information

This page will be updated as the project evolves, so please stay tuned.

If you would like to obtain more information about HELP Ottawa or would like to provide a comment, please contact us at https://compassionateottawa.ca/contact-us/. 

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Become a donor

If you would like to support the Compassionate Ottawa initiative please complete the OutCare Foundation form and select Compassionate Ottawa from the drop down menu under "Fund". Your donation will go towards supporting our initiatives for advance care planning, workplaces, schools, and faith communities, as described in our priorities page.  We thank you in advance for considering to make a donation to Compassionate Ottawa.