Current Projects

Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia 

The deVeber Institute recently released It's Not That Simple: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Today in 2015 in response to the decriminalization of physician assisted suicide in Canada. To order this book or receive more information please visit: It's Not That Simple

The Problem of Pain in Persons with Dementia: The Challenges of Assessment and Management 

On May 27th, 2014, the deVeber Institute presents an Educational Series on Palliative Care examining research prepared by key-note speakers Jean Echlin and Dr. Kathy Pfaff. The area of pain assessment in patients who cannot communicate by regular means poses a special problem, and one which has not been researched much, until now. This project was spearheaded by Jean Echlin RN, MSN a nurse consultant in palliative care and an advisor on our board.

Jean was working with a 92 year old lady, a resident in a long term care facility in Southwestern Ontario.  This resident became the impetus for a research study on the problem of pain when an individual has difficulty with communication or total inability to communicate.  A deVeber summer intern assisted with an extensive literature search on pain assessment and management which highlighted the under treatment and under reporting of pain in this population.

Following this, Dr. Kathy Pfaff, from the Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor and 2 of her master’s students along with Jean, began Phase 2 of the project which included a systematic review and thematic analysis of data.

The findings will be presented in a seminar format sponsored by the deVeber Institute, on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 in Toronto at the Villa Colombo (Lawrence and Dufferin). For details and registration information visit us here

This research represented by Kathy Pfaff and Jean Echlin will be presented at the Palliative Care Congress in Montreal in September 2014.


Complications: Abortion's Impact on Women

Building on the successful second edition of Women’s Health After Abortion, research into the medical and psychological effects of abortion on women’s health continues. Since the publication of the second edition, many new studies have been published. This new volume provides an update to the existing research and analysis, expanded research into abortion’s effect on men and relationships, and examines the effect of abortion on children and families. The Institute continues to maintain a comprehensive database of research on the medical and psychological effects of abortion.


Post Abortion Grief in Palliative Care Patients, and Women’s Long-Term Memories of their Abortions

Anecdotal evidence from the bedsides of dying women indicates that some women have carried the grief and guild of abortions – which often occurred decades previously – to their death. During palliative care, this grief and guilt sometimes interfered with effective pain medication until the issue was resolved for the patient. A review of the literature reveals that this topic has not been studied before. We are undertaking to record anecdotal evidence of this phenomenon, and also the long-term memories of women who had abortions ten years ago or more.


Resources for Pregnant and Parenting Students in Canada

The challenges of pregnancy for young women aged 19-25 are many, and the reasons that some women choose parenting or adoption while others choose to abort are also diverse. Building on our past publication Going It Alone; Unplanned Single Motherhood in Canada, we are surveying the resources available to pregnant and parenting women at Canadian universities. We are investigating the financial, educational, health, childcare, and counselling services available to young women.


Perinatal Palliative Care and Hospice

Increasingly, genetic anomalies are detected before birth. In addition, some health care centres have started perinatal palliative care and hospice programs to counsel and support parents of infants with severe and life-threatening illnesses. Initial research has shown that the type of counselling that parents are given during the prenatal period greatly affects their decision to either carry or abort their disabled child. We have begun to investigate some perinatal palliative care programs, and hope to develop a better understanding of the Canadian situation. This initial research will provide valuable feedback for creating integrated protocols that extend into the prenatal decision-making period.


Talking to Families – Compassionate Care in Home, Hospice and Hospital

These community talks bring palliative care experts together with those who care for a loved one who is terminally ill. The talks answer questions and provide professional advice in order to help individuals feel confident about making the right decisions, to reduce anxiety, and to affirm the role of the caregiver in the life of the dying person. Both the technological and the human care available to the terminally ill are discussed during these community events.