Now is the Time

Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) is now accepting submissions for workshop, poster, and oral paper presentations at our 2023 Annual Conference.

The conference will be held Sunday, June 11, to Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Inspired by those who champion access and equity, the 2023 conference theme is Now is the Time – to put words into action.
We know that earlier integration of a palliative approach to care leads to better patient and population health outcomes; better patient, family, and caregiver experiences; and better provider experiences; as well as better value for the health care system.

We also know that despite our collective efforts and the progress we have made, most people do not have equitable access to quality, integrated, patient-centred, sustainable hospice palliative care services and supports. Now is the Time – to change that.

We are looking to highlight, inspire, and encourage fresh and innovative approaches to embracing hospice palliative care, with a focus on what we can do now to scale-up, spread and action ideas and impactful initiatives to create the changes we want to see. This is also an opportunity to spotlight the depth and breadth of ideas, unique initiatives, and research in hospice palliative care across Ontario.

This in-person conference attracts over 800 delegates from Ontario representing all professions, roles, and care settings across the continuum of health care. We encourage submissions that showcase innovations and results in caring for people across multiple settings in our communities whether urban, rural, remote, First Nations, Inuit, Metis, or Urban Indigenous.


Please click here for the Abstract online submission link (you will be required to setup an account first).

Conference Workshop Streams

Workshops are scheduled by streams so conference participants may focus on sessions most relevant to their discipline or practice. These streams are only guidelines and while topics aligned to one or more of the identified streams are sought, you may submit an abstract on any topic you believe is related to hospice palliative care.

Anti-Racism and Equitable Access to Care
Racism, colonialism, dis/ableism, and sexism exists in healthcare – we know this. We invite abstracts that take a critical and intersectional approach to addressing these challenges within hospice palliative care. How can access to care be improved to meet the needs of diverse populations and marginalized people? The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated already existing structural inequalities further marginalizing many people. How can these inequities be addressed?

What positive work is being done to eliminate racism in healthcare against Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour? How do social determinates of health impact access? What innovations are improving access to palliative care in rural and remote communities? How are gender inequities in the work force being addressed? How is hospice palliative care being provided by
First Nations, Inuit, Metis, and Urban Indigenous Communities? How are incarcerated populations accessing palliative care?

Caring for Patients, Families & Caregivers

  1. Ethical decision making at the end of life
  2. Psychosocial, Spiritual, and Bereavement Care
  3. Palliative Approach to Care
  4. Caring for the Caregiver
  5. Advance Care Planning
  6. Complementary therapies
  7. Compassionate communities
  8. Meeting individuals where they are at
  9. Competencies, skills, and education for health care providers and volunteers
  10. Empowering volunteers as members of the interdisciplinary care team
  11. Reflecting the face of the community – success in volunteer diversity and inclusivity; reaching and engaging new generations of volunteers
  12. Enhancing patient and caregiver engagement
  13. Education for patients, substitute decision makers, families, and caregivers

Quality Clinical Practice

  1. Pain and Symptom Management
  2. Enabling early identification of people who would benefit from hospice palliative care
  3. Enabling palliative care in primary care
  4. Health Care Consent, Goals of Care, difficult conversations
  5. Palliative care for people with end-stage dementia, ALS, and other non-Cancer diseases
  6. Hospice palliative care inequity between the adult and pediatric worlds
  7. Quality Clinical Leading Practices
  8. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on patient choices for care at end of life
  9. Pandemic driving EOL care at home for families/individuals who would otherwise have chosen PCU/hospice (ie not particularly comfortable with EOL at home)
  10. Where to perform MAID when home is unsafe/unavailable, particularly in a pandemic setting and barriers to PCU

Leadership and System Design

  1. Measuring quality, outcomes, and impact
  2. Removing regulatory and policy barriers to improving care
  3. Ontario Health Teams and hospice palliative care; regional models of care
  4. Models of care to increase access and enable quality care
  5. Volunteer management, recruitment, and stewardship
  6. The evolution of the volunteer role in hospice palliative care
  7. Fundraising
  8. Organizational governance; shared governance

The Fourth AIM – Wellness of the Health Care Team

  1. Recognizing signs of burnout and how to sustain our wellness
  2. How to support staff wellness
  3. Strategies to decrease the impact of moral distress
  4. Grief and Bereavement support for front line workers
  5. Resilience Care for self
  6. The impact of the pandemic on Health Human Resources; chronic job stress and burnout; responses and innovations to address the challenged

Requirements for Presenting
The primary presenter (one person only) MUST register to attend the conference. The primary presenter receives a reduced registration fee of $400 for the three-day conference. Additional presenters that plan to attend and present along with the Primary Presenter must register at the full conference rate.

General Guidelines and Instructions for Abstract Submissions

  1. Abstracts should specify study/program objectives, methods, results, and conclusions.
  2. Abstract submissions must be submitted online and be directly related to hospice palliative care.
  3. Abstract Submissions on the topics of Health Care Consent, Advance Care Planning and Goals of Care (HCC ACP GoC): Will only be considered if the work is compliant with the Ontario Legal Framework.  Please visit the Speak Up Ontario Website and the Ontario Compliance Tool Kit for more information and supports on HCC ACP GoC in Ontario. If you have any questions, please contact Nav Dhillon, Community of Practice Coordinator at Nav.Dhillon@hpco.ca.
  4. A maximum of three (3) abstract submissions will be accepted by a primary author (i.e., author may be a secondary author on additional abstract submissions).
  5. Abstracts are to be written in English, in clear concise language, and to be no more than 250 words, using standard abbreviations and key words. Please DO NOT type in all capitals.
  6. Include author(s) post-nominal initials, credentials, designations, and other affiliations in the biographic sketch section of the submission process. If your abstract/submission is accepted, we publish the post-nominal initials, credentials, designations that you provide, exactly provided. Once published, we will not make changes.
  7. Only the primary presenter/first author is eligible to receive the reduced registration fee of $400 for the three-day conference.
  8. Authors/presenters whose papers have been accepted grant HPCO permission to list their name, affiliations and abstract in the conference program materials, both in print and online.
  9. The primary presenter/first author of an abstract submission (workshop, oral paper, poster) that is accepted must attend the conference and is required to register and pay a reduced registration fee of $400 by March 31, 2023. All additional authors/presenters may register at the regular conference rate. Presentations will be cancelled if the primary presenter registration fee is not received by March 31, 2023.

Workshop Guidelines
Workshop sessions are one hour and 15 minutes in length which includes a 5 to 10-minute question period. A limited number of spaces are available for more in-depth workshops (2-1/2 hour sessions), offered in two consecutive one hour and 15 minute sessions on the same day. Please specify the length of your workshop on your submission form. Workshop sessions should be interactive focusing on outcomes, practical implications, and impact on interdisciplinary patient/family centred care and/or program or service delivery.

Workshop abstracts must include three expected learning outcomes for participants; a comprehensive summary and description of the workshop; learning level (intermediate or advanced); training methods; the intended audience of the workshop and a description of the skills and/or knowledge participants will gain from the workshop and how the knowledge is applicable in their community.   

Oral Paper Guidelines
Oral paper presentations must be 15 minutes in length followed by 5 minutes for discussion.
Oral papers are limited to three presenters per paper during the presentation.  

Poster Guidelines
Posters should be designed to fit poster board surface 4′ high by 8′ wide. Posters will be displayed throughout the conference. Author(s)/presenter names, degrees, organizational affiliations, city, province/state and country must be listed as briefly as possible.

Abstract Review and Selection Criteria
All submissions will be evaluated by an Abstract Review Committee and accepted based upon the following criteria:
• relevance and significance of topic to hospice palliative care
• alignment to the one of the conference themes
• based on evidence and/or innovative hospice palliative care research
• presentation of practical tools for practice and service delivery
• abstract is well written/clearly communicated

Workshops will be selected based on the originality, relevance to hospice palliative care, community-based outcomes, educational objectives and/or scientific merit. All workshop and oral paper abstract submissions will be reviewed by a volunteer team of reviewers. The corresponding author/presenter (workshops, oral papers, and posters) will receive communication regarding accepted abstracts in February 2023.


Please contact:
Conference Team
Hospice Palliative Care Ontario
Direct: 416-736-1260 or 416-304-1477 or 1-800-349-3111 ext. 23