Bethell Hospice joins Hospice Palliative Care Ontario to advocate for funding

November 30, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Zachary Roman

Bethell Hospice staff and board members recently took part in a day of advocacy to the Provincial Government. 

On November 27, Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) and hospice staff from all across Ontario hosted their annual MPP day to advocate for continued government support for the work of the hospice palliative care sector. 

Bethell Hospice is located in Caledon, and its Executive Director Margaret Paan and Board Chair Janette Panhuis attended Queen’s Park to meet with Dufferin-Caledon MPP and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones and HPCO representatives on the November 27.

HPCO said the annual MPP day is a chance for MPPs to talk about the difficult subject of dying, death and loss. 

Rick Firth, President of HPCO and said hospice palliative care is often needed to navigate death with meaning, peace and wellbeing.

“Community hospice palliative care is highly cost-effective care, but the impact on the wellbeing of people is priceless,” said Firth. “Often, people don’t need hospital care at the end of life, but they need extra medical, practical, psychosocial and spiritual support.”

Firth said at home and in-hospice care models both have their place in providing the support people need. 

Hospice residences provide a home-like setting where people facing the end of their lives can receive holistic care and their families can receive grief and bereavement support. At home, hospice programs help people remain in their own homes until the end of their life. 

The HPCO said hospices are largely funded by community fundraising, but it’s become more challenging in recent years. It said one-time government funding increases have helped keep hospices out of deficits, but more consistent funding is needed.

“This year, hospices are asking for the one-time funding increase to become part of permanent base funding, and to provide hospice at home services with $4 million dollars provincewide to stabilize the sector,” said the HPCO in a statement.

Firth said hospices need certainty in their funding so they can recruit and retain staff, and that costs and need for care have both risen.

“People of all ages die and need our services, but the fact is that the aging population means more people are dying each year and this is the care they need and want,” said Firth.

The HPCO said the Ontario Medical Association, Auditor General, and Canadian Cancer Society all believe more hospices are needed in Ontario. 

Further, the HPCO said the Province can save $200 million per year by having end of life care be done in hospices, not hospitals. It said it can use some of the savings to increase annual funding to hospices. 

“Hospice is about helping people live well right to the end. Anyone who has experienced hospice care with a loved one knows that dying and loss need not be a frightening and negative experience, it can be a healing and memorable time,” said Firth.

Firth said Ontario has a great hospice care system with strict standards and accreditation.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.