A Wrap Up of the 2015 ILC Conference and Summit

Hosted by St Michael’s Hospital and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare in Toronto, Canada, this year’s annual ILC event saw a diverse range of nursing leaders, clinicians, researchers and policy-makers come together to discuss, debate and develop innovative solutions to ensure the delivery of high-quality fundamental care globally.  The theme for this year’s three-day event was ‘How Fundamentals of Care can transform Patient-centred Care and your Health System’.

Jane Merkley, Executive Vice President Patient Care, Quality and Chief Nurse Executive, Sinai Health System, welcomed more than 70 international healthcare practitioners and researchers to the first conference day.



Bridgepoint Active Health, Toronto, Canada


Jane Merkley

Jane Merkley welcoming delegates to the conference


Professor Alison Kitson, Dean of Nursing, The University of Adelaide, presented the keynote presentation entitled ‘Why the Fundamentals of Care?’ Professor Kitson posed the question as to why the fundamentals of care are being poorly delivered globally. She explored the myriad and complex ways in which fundamentals of care are rendered invisible and undervalued in health care settings, and encouraged the attendees to conceive of what healthcare – and the future of the nursing profession – will look like if fundamental care continues to be devalued.


Alison keynote

Alison Kitson delivering the keynote address


Professor Ross Upshur (Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research; Head, Division of Clinical Public Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto) and Professor Kathleen MacMillan (Director School of Nursing, Dalhousie University) presented an engaging panel around operationalising the Fundamentals of Care. Professor Upshur focused on the inherent complexity of modern healthcare systems and changes to population health (e.g., increasing co-morbidity), and discussed the consequences of this complexity for the delivery of fundamental care.


Ross Upsher

Ross Upshur

Professor MacMillan focused on the hidden curriculum surrounding the fundamentals of care (the things that students learn but which we do not directly teach) and how this hidden curriculum can lead to the development of ingrained assumptions around the importance (or not) of fundamental care.


Kathleen MacMillan

Kathleen MacMillan


Associate Professor Walter Wodchis (Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto) and Professor Jack Needleman, (Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health) discussed the health economic arguments behind the fundamentals of care. They identified a conspicuous lack of research around the fundamentals of care in the health economics literature and argued for the importance of putting fundamental care back into the health economics equation.



Walter Wodchis  


Jack Needleman

Jack Needleman


In the afternoon, Associate Professor Craig Dale (University of Toronto), Associate Professor Jennifer Lapum (Ryerson University) and Dr Eva Jangland and Dr Åsa Muntlin Athlin (Uppsala University Hospital) presented a thought-provoking panel on creative ways to measure and translate findings surrounding the fundamentals of care. The speakers focused on a range of innovative research methods including arts-based research using an art installation to disseminate research findings, and visual methods relying on patient videos. Together the presentations emphasised the importance of exploring patients’ experiences with respect to fundamental care and ensuring that our understandings of fundamental care are grounded in these experiences. The conference day provided much conversation for ILC members over the next two summit days.


The first day of the summit meeting, held at St Michael’s Hospital, was opened by Marian Walsh, President and CEO Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, who set the scene for the discussions ahead. She argued that the most pressing challenge facing health professionals today is managing, and teaching patients how to manage, the higher burden of disease. Marian stated that the key to more sustainable health systems around the world is investment in understanding how to care for people with highly complex conditions for whom the burden of disease is often the highest.


Marian Walsh

Marian Walsh


Sarita Verma (Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Associate Vice-Provost Health Professions Education) then provided information about the Association of Academic Health Centers International (AAHCI), a member-based association that brings together institutions with the goal of advancing and applying knowledge to improve global health. Sarita spoke of how the ILC will offer a much needed voice from nursing to the AAHCI.



Sarita Verma


Following the thought-provoking information from these guest speakers, the ILC then engaged in intensive discussion and established its priorities for the year ahead. Each working group – The Patient Journey, Fundamentals of Care in the Curriculum, Leadership in Practice, and Influencing Policy – outlined an action plan and set of deliverables for ILC 2016.


Image 11

ILC members engaged in discussion


Following this year’s successful event, the ILC looks forward to returning to Green Templeton College, Oxford, in 2016 to host its annual event from June 13 to June 15. Stay tuned for more information in the lead up to our next exciting event.


Group photo

Attendees at the 2015 ILC summit