New Residential Hospice Offers Alternative to Hospital Stay for the Dying

    TORONTO, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - What started 25-years ago as a search for a
better way to care for someone in the final throes of cancer has culminated in
the opening of The Dorothy Ley Hospice Palliative Care Centre in West Toronto.
This new Centre, which opened today, will provide 24-hour care in a home-like
setting to more than 150 people a year during their last weeks of life.
    "What started as a vision 25 years ago when my good friend Joan was
dying, has become a reality today," said Marjorie Pitchford at the Centre's
opening. Pitchford is one of two remaining founding members of the Hospice and
continues to sit on the Board of Directors.
    "We consulted with palliative care pioneer Dr. Dorothy Ley as to how best
to achieve a free-standing residential hospice offering people compassionate
care in a home-like setting, close to family and friends. Today, 25 years
later, we could not have achieved that goal without Dorothy's leadership and
wisdom, the incredible support given by selfless volunteers, and generous
donors. Dr. Ley died 15 years ago but her legacy is very much alive."
    Studies conducted by Ipsos Reid show that as many as 90% of Canadians
would prefer to be at home at the end of their life, but few have the ability
to do so. The Palliative Care Centre will help meet this demand by providing a
home-like, peaceful alternative to a hospital setting for people who are
living with not just cancer but any life-limiting illness. This includes Lou
Gerhig's disease (ALS), HIV-AIDS, and congestive heart failure to mention just
a few.
    In addition to offering residential care, the Palliative Care Centre
provides the Hospice with a permanent home its community programs. It is the
first centre offering community and residential care to open in Toronto since
Casey House was founded in 1988,
    "Today marks a significant milestone in the Hospice's 19 year history,"
said Executive Director Ron Lirette. "The opening of our new home provides us
with the space needed to expand our core programs such as community support in
people's homes, Case Management, Bereavement Support, Integrative Wellness,
Day Program, Spiritual Care, and Volunteer Support. Our goal is to meet the
needs of our aging population and provide support to both the palliative
individual and to their family members. A life-limiting illness affects the
whole family and we want to provide them with the support and tools they need
to meet the challenges they are facing."
    The Dorothy Ley Hospice provides care to meet the physical, emotional,
spiritual and supportive needs of more than 500 individuals a year. When you
consider the members of the families it helps, its services touch the lives of
more than 2,000 people annually. All of its services are provided at no cost
to the individual thanks to the generosity of donors, government partners and
community sponsors.
    Although the final finishing touches to the exterior of the building and
landscaping will have to wait for warmer weather, the Centre will begin
accepting palliative individuals to the residential area starting March 18.
"It's been a long journey", says Jack Cooper, Board President. "The founding
members of The Dorothy Ley Hospice had a vision for a residential home that
began in 1984. Today, I'm humbled and proud to be here to see that dream
become a reality."

    The Dorothy Ley Hospice is a volunteer-driven, staff managed organization
offering compassionate care to people living with the challenges of a
life-limiting illness or loss and helps them live their lives to the fullest.

For further information:

For further information: Fran McBride, Strategy and Innovations
Director, (416) 626-0116 ext. 234

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