Comfort, Care, Compassion: bringing residential hospice care to Durham Region

There is an undeniable need for palliative care in Durham Region – help us bring residential hospice care to our community!

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Comfort, Care, Compassion: bringing residential hospice care to Durham Region

There is an undeniable need for palliative care in Durham Region – help us bring residential hospice care to our community!


Comfort, care, compassion — bringing residential hospice care to Durham Region

As a physician, and a proud Canadian, I’m grateful to live in a country where everyone has access to health-care services. Until recently, however, one aspect of our system has been somewhat overlooked — residential hospice care. In the words of one woman with a palliative diagnosis as she arrived at a hospice centre surrounded by family, “I still have a lot of living to do.” Living, not dying.

Despite the benefits of residential hospice care, for residents and their family members, Durham Region remains one of the only comparable regions in the province without this essential resource. The good news is that governments around the world are now recognizing the value of hospice care centres with the province recently announcing support for 20 residential hospice beds in Durham Region.

Recently, Durham Region Hospice, a partnership between Durham Hospice and VON Durham Community Corporation, launched Comfort, Care, Compassion, a capital campaign to raise $15 million toward the construction of residential hospice centres in Clarington and Whitby. The campaign is running in tandem with the Building for Compassionate Care capital campaign in support of Oak Ridges Hospice in Port Perry.

Focused on living by empowering individuals with a palliative diagnosis to choose how they navigate their final journey while helping their families cope with and prepare for their final stages of life, residential hospice provides care — at no cost to residents or their family members — in a supportive, flexible and homelike environment. An interdisciplinary team of health-care professionals provide pain and symptom management, and staff and community volunteers offer programs and services to ensure comfort, care and compassion for all residents.

Once constructed, each hospice will offer private rooms, free parking, unrestricted visiting hours and the ability to live freely, including flexible meals based on each resident’s choice, living with pets, bathing at leisure, going outside as desired and a wide range of non-medical service and program options.

Dr. Edward Osborne is a physician with Lakeridge Health and the regional palliative care lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program and the Central East Local Health Integration Network.


The Oxford Dictionary defines COMFORT as: "a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint; a person or thing that contributes to physical ease and well-being; the easing or alleviation of a person's feelings of grief or distress; to strengthen, give support, to console".

The term "comfort care" is often used synonymously with the term "palliative care." Comprehensive palliative care, which includes pain and symptom management, support for patient and family, and the opportunity to achieve meaningful closure to life. When comfort care is provided properly, it can ensure a dignified death for most incurably ill patients. Importantly, it also means exploring what gives meaning to a patient at the end of his or her life.

Hospice medical care is designed to provide comfort and dignity when curative therapy is no longer appropriate. It offers control of pain and other symptoms as well as emotional and spiritual support. This approach has been comprehensively developed within the hospice movement which provides specialized medical, nursing and support services for terminally ill patients and their families.

This is the standard of care for the dying that Durham Region Hospice is committed to providing our community through the 10-bed and 5-bed residences in Whitby and Clarington, respectively.

Please support these much-needed residences by donating today to our capital campaign. For ways to donate, visit our website at
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Compassion is an emotional response to the suffering of others. Once felt, it entails subsequent action to help relieve their suffering. Recently, ‘compassion’ has become the flagship concept to be fostered in the delivery of end-of-life care, and a rallying call for social action and public health intervention.

Compassion is not merely a passive sense of pity, it is also about engagement—seeking to assist those whose suffering can be helped by our actions. Compassion has emotional, social and practical dimensions... it goes to the heart of what it is to be human and to exist in relationships, caring for our own welfare and also that of other people.

Compassion has come to occupy an important place within the caring and healthcare disciplines. It is recognised as a critical aspect of the art of nursing and medicine, and is considered essential if patient and family needs are to be met.

Residential hospices can provide the compassionate care that is so necessary to patients and their families who are facing end-of-life issues. There is a need in the Durham Region for residential hospices.

Help Durham Region Hospice in its capital campaign to build much-needed 10-bed and 5-bed hospices by making a donation today.
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