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!


Local business leaders donate $500,000 to Durham Region Hospice

Significant financial contribution will support construction of five-bed residential hospice care centre 

Clarington, Ont. – Durham Region Hospice (DRH) announced today that it has received $500,000 in funding from three of Clarington’s most established business leaders toward the construction of Durham Region Hospice – Clarington.

These generous donations were announced at an event held earlier today at Algoma Orchards in Clarington with Algoma Orchards President Kirk Kemp and his wife Sheila, and Algoma Orchards Chief Executive Officer Mike Gibson and his wife Carissa, each contributing $200,000. In addition, Syvan Developments Limited President Ed Vanhaverbeke and his wife Sylvia announced a donation of $100,000. The funding will be used to support the five-bed residential hospice care centre being built on Cobbledick Road in Newcastle on land donated earlier this year by the Municipality of Clarington.

“I am thrilled to host this event in support of Durham Region Hospice – Clarington and draw attention to the importance of bringing our community together to raise the funds required to bring this incredibly meaningful project to life,” said Kirk Kemp. “There is an urgent need for residential hospice beds in Durham Region, and the support of our local business owners and families is critical to breaking ground on a facility that will positively change the lives of individuals with a palliative diagnosis, and their loved ones, as they live out their final days.”

According to the Central East Local Health Integration Network, there is an immediate need for 33 residential hospice beds in Durham Region, a number that will continue to increase as our population grows. Despite this need, the region remains one of the only areas in Ontario without a fully operational residential hospice care centre, meaning that the only option for individuals with a palliative diagnosis is to remain in hospital or go home. Once constructed, Durham Region Hospice – Clarington will help meet this need by offering an important alternative in the form of meaningful care – at no cost to residents or their family members – in a supportive, home-like environment where residents are cared for via an interdisciplinary team of health-care professionals and volunteers who assist with pain and symptom management, comfort measures, counselling, and emotional and spiritual support.

“We are extremely proud to make this donation and today I challenge the Clarington business community to join Sheila and myself, as well as the Gibson and Vanhaverbeke families, in our support,” added Kemp. “Whether that means matching our donations or simply giving what you can – every donation counts.”

The new centre will offer private rooms, free parking, unrestricted visiting hours and the ability to live freely, including flexible meals based on each resident’s choice, continuing to live with pets, bathing/showering at leisure, going outside as desired, and access to a wide range of non-medical service and program options. In addition, it will feature a great room, dining room, multipurpose room, kitchen, bathroom, reception area, spiritual space, family counselling rooms, an outdoor courtyard with a reflecting pool, and walking paths.

“Today we recognize the spirit of community and the generosity of the Kemp, Gibson and Vanhaverbeke families in directly supporting our goal to bring residential hospice to Clarington, where it is so desperately needed,” said Melodie Zarzeczny, chair, Board of Directors, Durham Hospice and co-chair of Durham Region Hospice. “On behalf of everyone at Durham Region Hospice, I thank Kirk and Sheila, Mike and Carissa, and Ed and Sylvia for their commitment to creating a centre that is not just bricks and mortar, but a place where those with a palliative diagnosis, and their family members, can access the best possible experience and care – for generations to come. Together, we can build the residential hospice care centre our community truly deserves.”

The $500,000 donation will support DRH’s $15 million ‘Comfort, Care, Compassion’ capital campaign, which launched in February 2018 and is aiming to raise $10 million toward the construction of Durham Region Hospice – Whitby and $5 million toward Durham Region Hospice – Clarington.

Hospice is about caring, not curing, and the time to care is now. To learn more about how DRH is bringing residential hospice care to Durham Region, visit, follow us on Facebook at @durhamregionhospice or contact


About Durham Region Hospice 

Durham Region Hospice is a partnership between Durham Hospice and VON Durham Community Corporation that was formed in June 2017 to raise $15 million toward the construction of residential hospices in Whitby and Clarington via a capital campaign. The campaign is aligned with a provincial government commitment to making it easier for families in Durham Region to access end-of-life and palliative care.

For more information:

Krista Luxton

Communications associate
Good Word Communications
T: 905.926.9469

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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