Compassionate Care becomes law in Ontario

·2 min read

The Compassionate Care Act was passed in Ontario on December 2, and when fully implemented will enable every citizen to access hospice services in the province.

“We know that here in South Simcoe we will serve at least 3000 people including kids and youth, who seek to live fully every day by participating in our day programs and counselling supports across the region,” said Matthews House Hospice CEO, Kim Woodland. “Many of these are people who would otherwise have to go to hospital. And we know they'd rather be at home in their community, receiving compassionate support for both themselves and their families. The passing of this Act is a good first step in ensuring access to hospice care.”

Ms. Woodland was at the provincial legislature at Queen's Park 'virtually' on December 1, to speak with MPPs across the province about supporting the passing of the legislation.

Matthews House in Alliston is a hospice that provides day programs, councelling, palliative care, and resident round-the-clock services for individuals with life-end illnesses.

The Act aims to enable people of all ages to know when they need assistance will living fully in spite of a life limiting health condition including mental health issues, to feel well until they die, and enable providers and caregivers to know how and when to support people in their community.

At Matthews House, qualified therapy, counselling, and nursing support as well as trained hospice volunteers support compassionate care from the Hospice Hub, in all the surrounding communities in South Simcoe, supported by donors and the donation of community spaces by municipalities and local businesses.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the need for services at home including nursing outreach, professional counselling for mental health needs and bereavement services has more than doubled in South Simcoe.

At Matthews House, these services are primarily provided through the generosity of donors. Across the province, hospice care represented approximately .3% of the budget for healthcare, prior to the beginning of the pandemic.

Matthews House Hospice board chair, Steve Aelick, said “It's (the Act) timing during the pandemic could not be better for the citizens in South Simcoe County, in order to shed light on the urgent need for provincial support.”

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times