Hospice Toronto

Hospice Toronto staff and trained volunteers provide and facilitate access to compassionate care for people with life threatening illnesses, offering them support options, honouring their choices and supporting their families and friends.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

In 1988 at the Church of Holy Trinity in Toronto, a small and passionate group of people came together to care for Margaret Fraser, a friend and member of their community, by supporting her wish to die peacefully at home. These exemplary efforts were documented by June Callwood in her book, Twelve Weeks in Spring.

Margaret’s story is both the inspiration and seed of Hospice Toronto, as members of this initial Care Team went on to form Trinity Home Hospice: Toronto’s first not for profit, volunteer-based, in-home hospice palliative care program. In 2005, Trinity Home Hospice was renamed Hospice Toronto.

Over the years we have pioneered many new programs to support our clients and their families and have developed a reputation for being innovative and also sharing our new programs with other organizations. Our “Kit for Kids”, “Complimentary Therapies” Expressive Arts” and most recently “Young Carers” programs are all examples of these.

Accolades and Accomplishments

In 1991, Hospice Toronto received the New Directions Award in “recognition of creative leadership in caring for the terminally ill in the community” from the Mayor’s Committee on Aging, City of Toronto.

In 2005, 2008 and 2009, Hospice Toronto was awarded grants through The Toskan Casale Foundation's Youth and Philanthropy Initiative as a result of winning presentations from students in the Ontario-wide Grade 11 Civics competition on Philanthropy. The value of our work has also been recognized through multi-year grants awarded by The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Community Program in 2001 and 2005. Additionally, through the Hospice Association of Ontario (HAO), we were one of the first hospices in Ontario to receive Level One and Two certified accreditation through the HAO’s Hospice Palliative Care in 2005, 2006 and 2009.

Our Young Carers program is one of only 3 programs of its type in Canada. It is the only urban model. In 2009 we were one of 30 projects chosen from over 850 applicants, to receive 3 year demonstration project funding from the Federal Government to implement a caregiver support strategy. Our Young Carers project was mentored by the well-established program in the UK where over 350 agencies deliver this type of service. This past year we developed a grounding for youth empowerment and mentorship through a 2-night, 3-day weekend leadership retreat as well as a two-week Leader In Training program, in which youth developed their leadership skills and then mentored younger children in caregiving roles.

Our Programs How We Do It

Hospice Programs 

Hospice Toronto works on a care team model, with the belief that teams of caregivers from different walks of life can best meet the needs of someone who chooses to die at home. A care team often includes spouses or partners, families, friends, neighbours, colleagues, doctors, nurses, personal support workers and volunteers.

We can help set up the team, provide team members with training and support, and supplement the team with skilled volunteers if required.

With a commitment to “caregiver support”, we provide a wide range of services that include:

Care Teams: Volunteers provide in home support for those who are ill and their families and friends. Care teams may include both formal and informal caregivers and work in an integrated team approach with community partners; physicians, nurses, personal support workers, social workers and other health care professionals.

Hospice volunteer supports may include incontinence care, mouth care, assisted lifts, light homemaking, meal preparation and/or emotional support.

Children’s Programs: Our volunteers receive over 55 hours of training based upon the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association’s accreditation model. Our children’s programs recognize the risk of isolation that can occur when a family’s focus becomes centered on the care of the person who is ill. Our volunteers provide opportunities for the child to simply “be a kid” but also to approach sometimes awkward and painful emotions and questions. Kit for Kids, Expressive Arts and our new Young Carer’s programs provide a variety of supports both in the home and in group settings.

Complimentary Therapies: Volunteer driven, home based and provided by certified professionals who are skilled in reiki, therapeutic touch, reflexology, mindfulness, massage and most recently “thanadoulas”.

Hand in Hand program : Support for those in the early stages of illness  or in remission.

Bereavement: We work in collaboration with a wide range of community resources and professionals to provide grief and bereavement supports.

Research:. Each year we focus on a research initiative and work with practicum students and their educational institutes an also partner with like-minded organizations to support the growth of knowledge and innovations in care.

Young Carers Program 

The Young Carers Program is an inter-agency strategy developed to meet needs of young carers and their families by facilitating supportive programs throughout Toronto that focus on recreational, social, educational, and skill development activities. We strive to build resilience in young carers by creating opportunities for mutual support, fun, and optimal development, which will strengthen the resources within the youth as well as their families.

Our Young Carers program is one of only 3 programs of its type in Canada. It is the only urban model. In 2009 we were one of 30 projects chosen from over 850 applicants, to receive 3 year demonstration project funding from the Federal Government to implement a caregiver support strategy. Our Young Carers project was mentored by the well-established program in the UK where over 350 agencies deliver this type of service. This past year we developed a grounding for youth empowerment and mentorship through a 2-night, 3-day weekend leadership retreat as well as a two-week Leader In Training program, in which youth developed their leadership skills and then mentored younger children in caregiving roles.

According to the 2013 Toronto Vital Signs Report, “close to 648,000 people in Toronto experience high stress almost all the time. 38% of grade 9-12 students, report being under a lot of stress.”  Of these youth who are experiencing stress “69% of respondents indicated that family stress contributes to their mental health challenges.As such, young carers have a heighted state of family stress, due to increased responsibility and the level of care they provide. In addition to navigating everyday stresses, our program members are required to take on a significant caregiving role, and often experience crisis situations within the home. This limits opportunities for our members to engage in methods of self-care, including physical activity, healthy eating, relaxation and play.  High levels of stress can lead to significant mental health challenges. Young carers often report that their family stress impacts there academic and social life not allowing them same opportunities that their peers may have access to.

The Young Carers Program, therefore, strives to:

  • Provide recognition for the caregiving role
  • Relieve stress, anxiety, and reduce fatigue and hopelessness
  • Provide family support
  • Improve social skills and self-care
  • Build coping skills
  • Decrease isolation and create peer support
  • Increase self-esteem

 

Creating Caring Communities

Working in partnership with local community agencies and their affiliate networks, we engage people living in Toronto's diverse, multicultural communities through outreach and facilitated focus groups to address complex healthcare issues relating to seniors living in the community. We engaged community members to become actively involved in both reaching out to those in their community who would benefit from volunteer-driven hospice care, and assist in providing that care in culturally sensitive ways.

Through Creating Caring Communities, Hospice Toronto helps St. James Town’s diverse communities address:

  • General lack of knowledge about medical supports available in the community;
  • Navigating the healthcare system to access the right care at the right time;
  • Linking people living with illness with our in-home hospice palliative care volunteer support programs and services;
  • Need for sustained, on-going caregiving support;
  • Seniors living in isolation at home with serious disabilities and chronic illness.

What You Can Do

Creating Caring Communities

Activities a donation will support

Investments in Creating Caring Communities will enable us to:

  • Establish collaborative partnership with community organizations and their affiliate networks in diverse communities that would benefit from a community development project that addresses the healthcare challenges experienced by its seniors.
  • Conduct strategic engagement using facilitated focus group sessions/forums to share knowledge and information, mobilize participants from within their families and community, and generate interest and participation to volunteer and undertake home hospice training (with the goal of serving their community).
  • Document project to communicate benefits to other community organizations for further replication in other diverse communities in Toronto.

Donation impact

Grants will increase our ability to:

  • Build collaborative partnerships with community organizations and their affiliate networks.
  • Outreach and engage community members to develop understanding of the complex healthcare issues relating to seniors living in their community.
  • Increase the number and capacity of culturally sensitive volunteers and caregivers to provide in-home hospice palliative care and support for people living with life-threatening illnesses, and their loved ones.
  • Advance community engagement, belonging and well-being, with culturally responsive healthcare that might have otherwise been overlooked.
  • Replicate the program's successes in other diverse or high risk/needs communities.

  

Volunteer Support Program

Activities a donation will support

Investments in our program will enable us to:

  • Recruit, educate and train, coordinate and support volunteers in providing thousands of hours of visiting, home hospice care and support.
  • Provide in-home hospice palliative care and support for people living with a life-threatening illness, and their families, at no charge.
  • Offer specialized, one-on-one support for children who are facing anticipatory grief, bereavement or living with a life-threatening illness through our Children’s Support programs.
  • Afford caregivers with practical and emotional support, and respite to maintain their health and build resiliency to sustain their caregiving role and optimize patient care.

Donation impact

Grants will increase our ability to:

  • Provide volunteers with 35+ hours of education and skills training, featuring professionals on such topics as communication skills, family dynamics and cultural awareness; ethical issues and professional best-practices; and practical, hands-on, hospice training.
  • Support clients with personal care and emotional support; practical assistance with housekeeping; complementary therapy (by registered professionals, i.e., massage, reflexology); and specialized support for children facing anticipatory grief, bereavement or living with a life-threatening illness through our Children's Support programs.
  • Support caregivers by providing respite, emotional and bereavement support, and referrals to other services in the community.

Contact

Janice Nyarko-Mensah
IT & Program Support Coordinator
416.364.1666 x242
Charitable Number: 138815618RR0001

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