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!


Durham Hospice has a long history in the region, based on the simple principle of helping people.

Durham Hospice is a non-profit, community-based organization that provides practical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals facing advanced illness and death. Its mandate has always been to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with critical illness, as well as the best care and support for their families. Durham Hospice provides free and meaningful care to Durham residents and their families.

Durham Hospice began in 1991, providing numerous invaluable services to the community both in-home and at its local office. These services included: palliative care, bereavement counselling, group sessions, respite services, caregiver support, child and youth grief support, transportation assistance, information and education including library resources.

In 2015, Durham Hospice transferred its programs and services to VON Canada/Durham Region. All of our programs continued to be offered by VON/Durham Hospice.

However, it was always the vision of Durham Hospice’s staff and governing Board to one day open a residential hospice in the region; a place that would focus on providing a warm, caring, compassionate home-like environment to help individuals and their families cope with and prepare for this final stage of life. This vision has now been realized.

In February of 2018, Durham Region Hospice, a partnership between Durham Hospice and VON Durham, launched a capital campaign to build two residential hospices:  a 10-bed facility in the Town of Whitby and a 5-bed facility in the Municipality of Clarington. Once constructed, both locations will offer private rooms, parking facilities, unrestricted visiting hours for family including pet visits and the ability for the resident to live freely and comfortably with dignity and support.

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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