Hope and Healing in the Shadow of Death: Practice Pearls for Physicians Caring for Patients at the End of Life and for Their Families

Pre-recorded breakout session workshops


Margaret M Cottle, MD, CCFP (PC)

Assistant Clinical Professor; University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine; Division of Palliative Care

Session Description:

Drawing on 30 years of experience in palliative care, Dr. Cottle will share clinical pearls and practical suggestions for bringing hope and healing into the care of patients facing the end of life.  As the family is the unit of care in palliative medicine, another important focus will be on supporting patients' families and loved ones.  In addition to providing clinical guidance about medications and other treatment modalities, Dr. Cottle will share tips gleaned from three decades at the bedsides and in the homes of her patients:  what helps--and what does not help; how to reframe hope and expectations; and how to communicate effectively in circumstances that are extremely difficult for patients and their loved ones.  There will be time for questions and discussions where participants can share challenges they face and solutions they have discovered.



  1. Identify a systematic approach to symptom management for patients at the end of life, with particular attention to the concept of "total pain".
  2. Recognize that the patient and the family (and loved ones) are the unit of care in palliative care, and identify several new ways of addressing the issues faced by these important supporters.
  3. Recognize the importance of excellent communication skills in palliative care settings, and identify several new techniques that could be applied in their own practices.


Recommended books:

  1. Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering; Timothy Keller
  2. Sharing the Darkness; Dr. Sheila Cassidy
  3. Man's Search for Meaning; Viktor Frankl