AMS Phoenix Fellow Frances Kilbertus

Learning compassionate care through palliative care in a rural community

Dr. Frances Kilbertus

Award: Phoenix Project Fellowship (2017)

Co-Sponsor: Northern Ontario School of Medicine

  • Indigenous perspectives
  • Medical education and curricula
  • Patient/family/caregiver voices

The work of palliative care is about compassion—recognizing suffering or the potential for suffering, and acting to alleviate it. This fellowship used palliative care practice in a rural community on Manitoulin Island to consider: 

  • How patients’ voices from different cultures can enrich the planning and delivery of healthcare services 
  • The perceptions healthcare providers have and the challenges they face in palliative care
  • How to integrate healthcare students into compassionate workplace learning environments

Frances’s fellowship encompassed two phases. The first explored how and what healthcare providers in rural communities learn when local people and healthcare professionals, workplaces, and communities intersect in conversations about death and dying. Based on this dialogue, she hoped to create palliative care tools that included Indigenous perspectives. The second considered how students and practitioners understand and appreciate palliative care and how compassionate learning environments are created and sustained.

Frances’ project helps us understand how healthcare providers learn about and incorporate compassion and Indigenous perspectives in palliative care. Her work will help us train learners during their formal education to undertake these practices when they enter the workforce. 

Hear Dr. Frances Kilbertus talk about her work