Ontario is recruiting and training more volunteers across the province to support palliative and end-of-life care at home, providing comfort and help to patients, families and caregivers during difficult times.
John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was recently at Hospice Care Ottawa to announce this important new investment.
Visiting hospice volunteers go to the homes of patients who are at the end of their lives or suffering from a life-threatening illness to help provide comfort, run errands and help coordinate other types of care. They also may provide bereavement support for families and caregivers and alleviate some of the stress and caregiving responsibilities they face during an often-difficult period.
Hospice Care Ottawa has 83 in-home support volunteers who provided 4,148 hours of volunteer time to clients in the community in 2015-16. Hospice Care Ottawa has recently expanded its volunteer visiting program with the opening of Maison de l’Est, which has so far trained eight volunteers to provide service to the francophone community in Ottawa.
“Through this increase in funding we will be supporting our volunteers who do the essential work of helping people at a critical time in their lives. Our goal is to build on Ontario’s strong network of providers and volunteers who make an enormous difference to the hospice palliative care patients receive.” — John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
Increasing the number of volunteers reflects feedback heard during province-wide consultations, where families and caregivers asked for more help at home, particularly with respite and bereavement services.
Improving hospice palliative care is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come. It is also part of Ontario’s Patients First: Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care, which is the government’s plan to improve and expand home and community care over the next three years.
- Ontario is providing an additional $1 million in annual funding to expand visiting hospice volunteer services across the province. This represents a 10.5 per cent increase in funding from the previous year.
- The province is also providing a total of $89,500 in one-time funding across regions with lower visiting hospice volunteer capacity so they can improve access to these services in new and underserved communities.
- With this new funding, Ontario will build on the efforts of last year, which included 88 hospice palliative care organizations delivering visiting hospice volunteer services to about 20,000 patients and their caregivers.
- The province is investing a total of $155 million in hospice and palliative care over the next three years.
- Ontario is also improving community-based hospice palliative care services through the Ontario Palliative Care Network. This is an organized partnership of community stakeholders, health service providers and health systems planners who are working to advance patient-centred care and develop provincial standards to strengthen palliative services.