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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  • What is a hospice residence? 
hospice residence is a facility that offers meaningful end-of-life care – at no cost to residents or their family members – in a tranquil home-like setting that offers an alternative to dying in the hospital or at home. With a focus on living – not dying – hospice residence care empowers individuals to choose how they navigate their final journey while helping their families cope with and prepare for their last stages of life. An interdisciplinary team of health-care professionals and friendly volunteers provide assistance with pain and symptom management and offer comfort measures in a calm and nurturing environment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   
  • How does care differ in a hospice residence versus a hospital? 

Hospice residence is about caring not curing with a focus on offering free and meaningful care to individuals with a palliative diagnosis. As opposed to a hospital, where care is primarily administered by a medical team – including a primary physician – in a clinical setting, residents are cared for by an interdisciplinary team of health-care professionals (e.g. nurses, personal support workers and social workers) and dedicated volunteers who provide assistance with pain and symptom management and offer comfort measures in a calm, nurturing and home-like environment.  

Residents have access to a private room, unrestricted visiting hours and free parking, which are not always available in a hospital setting and have the opportunity to truly choose how they live their final days. For example, having their pet stay with them, the opportunity to eat meals based on their personal choices and schedule, being able to bathe and shower whenever they want, the opportunity to spend time outdoors, etc. In addition, hospice residence care offers a wide range of non-medical service and program options including emotional and spiritual support for residents and their family members, arts and music programming and holistic healing practices. 

  • Aren’t hospice services already available in Durham Region?  
No hospice residence beds currently exist in Durham Region. VON Durham Hospice Services does provide community services, including in-home hospice palliative care and bereavement support to individuals in Durham Region who are experiencing illness, death and/or grief, with information available on the VON Durham Hospice Services website.   
  • How will Durham Region benefit from hospice residence care?  

Although there is an estimated need for 33 hospice residence beds in Durham Region by 2018-2019, the region is one of the only communities of its size in Ontario without a fully operational hospice residence care centre, meaning that the only option for individuals living their final days is to remain in hospital or go home. Durham Region Hospice is committed to meeting this need by building a 10-bed hospice site in Whitby and a five-bed hospice site in Clarington  

Our hospices will work with community and hospital partners as part of the health-care system. We will support individuals and their families through their end-of-life journey in warm, caring, compassionate environment. 

  • What is the admission criteria for hospice residence? 

Durham Region Hospice – Whitby and Durham Region Hospice – Clarington will support individuals who have received a palliative diagnosis from their family doctor or specialistThis includes speaking with individuals and their family members about how to best support them and where and when Durham Region Hospice can admit them to hospice residence care. Potential residents will be asked to indicate their preferred hospice location, and we will do our best to accommodate. 

  • How does an individual with a palliative diagnosis access hospice residence care?  
Once Durham Region Hospice – Clarington and Durham Region Hospice – Whitby are open, referrals will be made by family physicians, hospitals, community health services or individuals and family members. Healthcare providers, or individuals themselves, will also be able to call a toll-free number or contact Durham Region Hospice directly to begin the intake process.  
  • What is the cost of hospice residence for an individual with a palliative diagnosis?  
Hospice residence offers meaningful care at no cost to residents or their family members.  
  • How long do residents typically stay in hospice residence 
Hospice residence care is for individuals with a palliative diagnosis and is designed to provide care in the last phase of life. The average stay is typically measured in days or weeks but is totally dependent on individual circumstances.   
  • Is hospice residence staffed by doctors or nurses?  
Hospice residence is about caring not curing. Nurses with specialized training in palliative care staff the hospice 24/7 with support from personal support workers and social workers. This team of interdisciplinary healthcare professionals provides assistance with pain and symptom management and comfort measures., Each resident’s own primary care physician works alongside the hospice care team to ensure his or her medical needs are supported with a hospice medical director ensuring that the quality of clinical care meets the highest standards.   
  • What is the Comfort, Care, Compassion campaign and how can I support it?  
Comfort, Care, Compassion is a $15-million capital campaign to support the construction of two new hospice residences in Durham Region and bring this much needed resource to the community. The best way to support Durham Region Hospice is to make a donation and/or help us raise awareness of the campaign in the community. You can donate; follow and like us on Facebook, including sharing our posts; discuss the essential need for hospice residence care in Durham Region with your family, friends and co-workers; or hold a fundraising event 
  • How is hospice residence care funded in Ontario?  
Governments around the world are recognizing the value of providing quality end-of-life care as part of the continuum of health-care services. In Ontario, hospice care is funded in part by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as well as targeted capital campaigns, such as the $15 million Comfort, Care, Compassion campaign that was launched in Durham Region in February 2018The remaining costs needed to operate hospice residence are raised by the communities in which each hospice is located. Generous donations help to deliver programs and services to residents and their families at no cost, so they can focus on living the final stages of life well and with dignity. 
  • What age(s) does hospice residence serve? 
Hospice residence care is for any adult with a palliative diagnosis 
  • Where in Clarington and Whitby will the new hospice residencebe located?  

Durham Region Hospice – Clarington, a five-bed facility, will be located on Cobbledick Road in Newcastle, Ontario.  Durham Region Hospice – Whitby will offer 10 beds with the exact location currently being finalized. 

  • When will Durham Region Hospice – Clarington and Durham Region Hospice – Whitby be open?  
At this time, it is anticipated that ground breaking will begin in Whitby in the fall of 2018, and in Clarington in the late winter/early spring of 2019.  
  • How is access to a hospice residence bed determined 
Durham Region Hospice – Whitby and Durham Region Hospice   Clarington will support any adult who has received a palliative diagnosis from their family doctor or specialist. As part of our admittance process, we will speak with individualand their family members about how we can best support them and where and when Durham Region Hospice can admit them to hospice residence care. Potential residents will be asked to indicate their preferred hospice location, and we will do our best to accommodate. 
  • Will Durham Region Hospice – Clarington and Durham Region Hospice – Whitby be available only to Durham Region residents?  
The 20 hospice residence beds that will be available once Durham Region Hospice and Oak Ridges Hospice are constructed will be regional beds and will be prioritized for ALL residents of Durham Region 
  • What is the role of a volunteer within a hospice residence 
A cornerstone of the hospice residence team, volunteers help care for residents and support their family members by providing comfort measures such as hand and foot massages and helping with position changes; offering companionship including sitting with and listening to residents and family members as they journey through their difficult transition; and assisting with transportation, shopping and kitchen duties, gardening and grounds keeping, and light housekeeping duties. All volunteers are screened by staff, required to provide references, and must undergo a Vulnerable Sector Check. Individuals interested in working directly with residents will be required to take a Fundamentals of Palliative Care course, offered free of charge.  
  • How can I become a volunteer with Durham Region Hospice – Clarington or Durham Region Hospice – Whitby 
More information about how to get involved as a volunteer will be available once construction of the hospice residences in Durham Region is underway. To inquire about becoming a volunteer with current hospice services operating in the community, please contact 
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