The Kensington Hospice opening increases Toronto hospice bed count by 30%

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - Today marks the opening of the Kensington Hospice, of a new, state of the art residential hospice in downtown Toronto. Joined by Senator Sharon Carstairs, the Kensington Health Centre's new hospice will increase the number of residential hospice beds in the Toronto Central LHIN by 30%.

"Our focus will never waver from evaluating and improving the quality of life and ensuring a positive experience for everyone who enters and leaves our doors," said Brian McFarlane, President and CEO of Kensington Health at the opening today. "What we do at the Kensington Hospice is pretty simple, yet extremely remarkable. We help individuals, their family, close companions and friends find peace and comfort at a difficult time. We see end-of-life as a time of opportunity and meaning, where life is celebrated and dignity is enhanced."

The need for improved end-of-life care is clear:

  • Ninety per cent of Canadians who will die this year would benefit from palliative care;
  • Only 15% of Canadians and their families currently receive the necessary support to transition through this difficult period;
  • Each death in Canada affects the immediate well-being of an average of five other people, or more than 1.25M Canadians each year.
Currently there are only 30 residential hospice beds in the Toronto Central LHIN (service area of healthcare in central Toronto which serves about 1.14 million individuals), leaving a significant gap in services provided to the community around end-of-life-care.

When an individual is faced with measuring his or her life in weeks or days, the opportunity to spend their final time in a setting of their choice, free of pain and surrounded by people who love them is crucial.

"Functionally, the Kensington Hospice will be a care facility, a workplace and an educational centre. Symbolically, we will be home for individuals and their families over the course of hours, days or weeks. Existentially, the hospice will represent the final journey for many and will be the custodian of memories, stories shared, tears of sorrow and hope for moving forward," remarks Natasha Sharpe, chair of the Kensington Health Centre Board of Directors.

The Kensington Hospice is not receiving any funding from any level of government and has and will continue to rely on the generosity of the community for support while continuing to seek operational funding support from the Ministry of Health.

Finding Innovative Solutions to Fix an Ailing Health Care System

The Kensington Hospice will provide specialized care and offer grief and bereavement support to individuals and their families, freeing up much-needed space in acute-care hospitals, which can then be used to meet other community needs and reduce wait times. The cost to provide palliative care in a residential hospice is about one-third of the cost to provide the same care in an acute care bed. This cost-savings will provide the health care system with greater efficiency addressing the growing cost of health care in the province.

The Kensington Hospice model is breaking new ground in hospice care locally and internationally. Through a partnership with the Princess Margaret Hospital, the Kensington Hospice will be a Centre of Excellence, where research will be conducted on innovative methods of pain and symptom control as well as end-of-life care in general. Trainees and interns from medicine, nursing, social work, chaplaincy, psychology and other allied health disciplines will learn the best practices in palliative care. Through research and education, the Hospice will not only lead innovation, but also foster the changing of attitudes around death and dying and provide alternatives for quality end-of-life care.

About Kensington Health

Kensington Health is comprised of several distinct facilities, programs and services, resulting in one of the most unique ambulatory and long-term care organizations in Canada. Today, Kensington Health includes a Clinical Services building; Kensington Gardens, a 350-bed long-term care home; an academic Eye Institute providing cataract surgery; a Research Institute Foundation; an Endoscopy Cancer Screening Clinic; and our newest member - the Kensington Hospice, all supported by the Kensington Foundation.

When: September 15, 2011, 4pm - 6pm (speeches 5pm)

Where: Kensington Hospice, 38 Major St., Toronto M5S 2L1

Who: Photo and interview opportunities available:

  • Brian McFarlane, President and CEO, Kensington Health
  • Senator Sharon Carstairs, palliative care expert
  • Debbie Emmerson, Director of Hospice Services
  • Dr. Gary Rodin, Academic Director and Head of palliative care at Princess Margaret Hospital
  • Diane McQuaig, volunteer (before 5pm or scheduled outside of the event)

Image with caption: "Kensington Hospice volunteer serves a fresh home-made meal to residents and families. (CNW Group/Kensington Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110915_C3807_PHOTO_EN_3344.jpg

SOURCE Kensington Foundation

For further information:

Cindy Wagman
Director, Development and Communications
The Kensington Foundation
cwagman@kensingtonhealth.org
416-324-9179 (w)
647-985-7061 (c)

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Kensington Foundation

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