The COPE Initiative: Creating Compassionate Communities of Healthcare in Pediatrics
Our project aims to bring compassion to action to improve the health outcomes of children with disabilities living in rural regions of Ontario, and Canada more broadly. Our approach to compassionate care is grounded in Pence’s view that ‘true compassion requires building connections between the cognitive and affective features of compassion and action’. To build these connections, we will be using wearable technology to allow children with disabilities living in rural and northern communities in Ontario to tell the stories of the barriers that they face in their daily life in their own voice. The data of these stories will be integrated into a virtual reality environment that will bring the stories to life for students in rehabilitation and engineering. Our intent is to engage the next generation of healthcare practitioners in using their own knowledge and creativity to seek solutions for children living in rural and remote regions of Canada. Engaging in problem-solving to identify useful solutions requires an active understanding of the unique transaction between the child/family and their particular environment. As such, our approach will provide a unique opportunity for compassionate care teaching, in which compassion is characterized by behaviours and actions, rather than only by attitudes or feelings. We believe that our innovative approach to compassionate care teaching will provide the foundation for creative leadership in rural pediatric healthcare to identify new ways to improve the participation of children with disabilities living in these areas.