Palliative care in the GTA
Find alternatives to hospitalization
An alternative to traditional palliative care in Toronto and area is found in retirement homes throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Retirement residences offer healthcare onsite in a homelike environment that many find to be an ideal compromise between time in a hospital or being home alone. Many retirement residences are equipped with fully functional health care teams made up of nursing staff (including RPNs and PSWs), pharmacists and on-call doctors. Healthcare facilities also include adjustable beds and call bells, with extras like onsite spas and the ability to hire in-home care services that augment care further. Many care homes offer more dedicated care that may include assistance with various tasks of daily living.
Consult with homes below to learn about palliative care options in the GTA.
Residences with Hospice Care in the Greater Toronto Area
Advantages of palliative care in a retirement residence
Palliative care homes in Toronto may offer care that is more accountable than that offered by other services or public health care.
Care offered by privatized seniors' care facilities focuses on alleviating suffering for those who may have a terminal diagnosis or other serious illness that may include any or all of the following:
- Onsite nursing staff professionally trained in end-of-life care
- Help with secondary health services including transfer care, catheter care, feeding assistance and any other extended services you or your loved one may require. Traditionally associated with assisted living care, these services are very likely to be offered by homes with hospice or palliation.
- Professional liaising with families and other caregivers. The extended accountability offered by a private care home ensures that family has recourse to make personal appeals and to make sure they get the care they have been promised.
- Meals, housekeeping and laundry services. Meals are often exceptionally good in retirement residences listed here at Comfort Life, quite different from hospital food. Little luxuries like this make life better for those in hospice.
When family gives elderly loved ones the best care available, there is much more satisfaction both short term and long term. For example, Sandy moved her mom into local privatized memory care facilities for hospice care; as she told us, the extra cost was worth it for the peace of mind. "You want to have that feeling of doing your best for your parents… My mom was the best mother in the world. I wanted her to be in a place that's clean and new and near my home."
An inside look at palliative care in Toronto retirement homes
Carol Anne is one member of nursing staff we spoke to, working out of a retirement home in Scarborough. She tells us, "We care very deeply about palliative and hospice care clients. We've experienced many different types of cases and personalities. As nursing staff, we accept the fact that our kind of care is more about helping patients find comfort in little things and to feel as well as they can under the circumstances. We know we're not focused on restoring people to health."
Care at these retirement homes extends beyond the perfunctory or clinical, as well. As Carol Anne says, "We can instigate conversations that others may not feel comfortable with, and this is in fact one of the great joys of the hospice care we offer. We can deal with supposed taboos like some of their last wishes, or their need to deal with end of life questions. We provide other care beyond merely nursing."
The environment in Toronto senior care homes is also more conducive to helping palliative care patients open up about things and deal with their situation. There are many spiritual and emotional benefits to being around people their own age, in a community of people who are, for all intents and purposes, also nearing the end of their lives.
The bigger picture
For sure, people seeking palliative or hospice care in Toronto and the rest of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have a wealth of options, including some of the finest health care facilities in the world. However, those places are in high demand, often with waiting lists to get in, and additional wait times to get the proper care hoped for.
Toronto families and residents seeking palliative and hospice care are well advised to contact their Local Health Integration Network to find out their best options and consider alternatives to traditional care models. And as people vet their options, palliative care offered by retirement homes should be mixed in with other ideas. Checking out seniors' homes near you may open your eyes to the option of luxurious care that is also robust and ideally prepared to meet your needs at this challenging time.