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Palliative Support

If you have received a palliative diagnosis and are living with a life-limiting illness, we are here to offer you support. You may find solace in any of the programs to support you through the palliative experience—from therapy dogs to day programs and one-to-one support.

There is no cost to participate. Please call our Contact Intake at Hospice Wellington at 519-836-3921.

Palliative Day Program

Our Palliative Day Program is offered for three hours each week to support individuals in our community with a progressive life-limiting illness. We offer a space of belonging and community with services that are designed to meet the holistic needs of each client. This program is designed to offer a balance of educational topics and self-care activities, a place of connection for clients, and includes a hot lunch provided by staff and volunteers.

Although this program is primarily designed to support clients in palliative care, it may also indirectly support their caregivers by providing an opportunity for respite.

Hospice One-to-One Palliative Support Program

Hospice Wellington offers One-to-One Volunteer Companionship for Clients who would like to be supported on an individual basis. We aim to provide Companionship and support for clients living with a palliative diagnosis or clients who are caring for a loved one with a palliative diagnosis.

We also provide opportunities for companionship at the bedside of clients who are at the end of their life. Individuals will be matched with a trained Hospice Wellington volunteer. These companion sessions will reflect the preference of the client in the location and frequency of the meetings. Writing letters, sharing lived stories or expressing one’s anticipatory grief with a trained volunteer can help support the client’s quality of life. Clients can have conversations with the volunteer to express their thoughts and feelings, in a non-judgmental environment.

Therapy Dog Program

Our Therapy Dog Program is available through partnership with St. John Ambulance and Therapeutic Paws of Canada. Our journey began with Taksim, a Löwchen breed (“little lion dog”), who visits our residential floor each week, and interacts with residents, families, staff and volunteers. Our residential program has since expanded to include a Golden Lab named Daisy, a mixed-breed named Cubbins, and a Chocolate Lab named Brian. Our residence currently offers therapy dog visits four days per week, and we are eagerly anticipating two more therapy dog teams to join us in 2021!

Three years after our residential program began; our dedicated volunteers began offering a weekly Community Therapy Dog Program with a Havanese breed named Ilsa. This program was motivated by one of the clients who attended our Palliative Day Program, who loved dogs, and wanted to see our therapy dogs more often than they visited the Day Program. This legacy now offers a progressive approach in programming, where palliative care clients are supported alongside their caregivers, as a wonderful addition to our community palliative care programming.

A study conducted in 2014 suggests that interacting with dogs is as useful as conventional stress management programs in reducing anxiety and depression. We can speak from experience in saying our therapy dogs undoubtedly offer immense joy to each one of us during their visits.

2, 320 Therapy Dog interactions were provided to our residential and community clients, as well as staff and volunteers of Hospice Wellington from April 2019 to March 2020.

End-of-Life Volunteer Vigil Program

Hospice Wellington Vigil Volunteers provide a compassionate presence during the last 24-48 hours of life for residents of Long-Term Care Homes in Guelph Wellington.   

Referrals are received by email from the LTC homes that are participating in the program and a volunteer vigil team is assigned.  

What is Vigilling? 

  • Based on the belief that no one should die alone.
  • Emphasis on patients who are in the last 24-48 hours of life in Long Term Care settings.
  • Focus is on those who are alone or whose family/friends are exhausted or have limited resources available.
  • Is provided round-the-clock when possible.
  • A service of compassionate presence.

Art Therapist in Residence: Legacy Work

“Participating in the Art Therapy Program has been a good distraction from my physical pain…I feel like when I am here, I am being given permission to live through the art-making process, to still have a voice, and to share it with others in this compassionate community that is Hospice Wellington”

Hand painting art therapyArt Therapy sessions are designed to support a Hospice Wellington resident or family through the exploration of intentional materials to promote creative expression and legacy. Gentle discussion will be used to explore personal life experiences connected to the end-of-life process engaging memory and emotion towards increased reconciliation with death. This legacy program invites its participants to select from several legacy projects using creative materials and narrative therapies to gain personal insight, to honour and acknowledge a beautiful life cradled within the journey towards death.

Legacy Work seeks to support the whole person or family unit, exploring:

  • Meaningful relationships, past and present
  • Family stories and value systems
  • Creative memorialization
  • Emotional expression
  • Acceptance and acknowledgment of death process

Family Legacy sessions can be scheduled with the Hospice Wellington Art Therapist on Thursday afternoons on a first-come, first serve basis. Please inquire directly with Residential Staff for availability. Please note further Art Therapy programming is available through Client and Volunteer Services for community members accessing support for grief and bereavement including group program and workshop offerings for adults and children throughout the calendar year.