Honouring Truth & Reconciliation Day


Hospice Toronto encourages you to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30th.

Here are some resources and ways to honour Truth and Reconciliation Day.


Celebrating Hospice Toronto’s Carers on Family Caregiver Day

A spotlight on adaptations of the Young Carers Program to the pandemic & remote Reiki therapy

by Adam Lam

Supporting young caregivers at Hospice Toronto’s Young Carers Program

Young caregivers at Hospice Toronto connect with other carers in their age group and find support at Hospice Toronto’s Young Carers Program (YCP).

“The Young Carers Program… offers therapeutic recreational programs for caregivers, who are between the ages of five and 18,” said Chelsea-Anne Alex, our Young Carers Program Facilitator. These caregivers support a family member who are managing a “chronic or life-threatening illness, disability, addiction, mental illness, or language barrier,” as explained on the YCP’s website.

The Young Carers Program has shifted online to adapt to the pandemic, explained Alex. The program features three types of events: YCP Nights, Workshops, and camps. “A YCP night has more of a recreational focus, where young carers can take a break from their caregiving role, connect with peers in similar situations, and have fun,” explained Alex.

“Then we have our skill building workshops, where they tend to focus on young carers being able to learn a skill. We  have workshops like self-care nights where they can learn coping skills,” she continued. One workshop series includes cooking workshops, where young caregivers can learn cooking skills with their peers online. The Young Carers Program also runs situation-specific workshops, such as a sibling workshop for caregivers who support a sibling.

Though recreational camps have typically been run in-person during the summer and March Break, the YCP has adapted to run them online. “We’ll send packages to the  young carers in advance, so they have all the supplies they need. And then we’ll run programs  twice daily online.” said Alex.

To support young carers with the unique challenges caused by the pandemic, Alex said: “We noticed with the switch to online learning, a lot of young carers are falling behind in their homework and … in school.”

Helping with their education, Alex said: “We introduced a homework help program where young carers can log on and get one-to-one support with one of our volunteers, students or interns. They can… have a quiet space, do their homework online, and have someone answer any questions they may have.”

Young carers can learn more about becoming a member at the YCP’s website.


In conversation with Debra Bentzen

Hospice Toronto also spoke with Debra Bentzen, a Reiki Complementary Therapy Volunteer who has been with the organization since 2005. Reiki therapy is a spiritual practice typically involving human touch, which can complement the treatment of clients at Hospice Toronto.

Due to the pandemic, Bentzen explained how she has shifted Reiki practice to long-distance treatment online, while continuing to treat a palliative care client she is matched with. The transfer of energy between individuals, which is at the core of the spiritual practice, reaches across long distances between caregivers and clients, explained Bentzen.

“I usually… call them up, [and] we have a conversation for a little bit,” said Bentzen. The client shifts to a relaxed position, usually lying down, where Bentzen can begin the treatment over the course of the telephone call.

“One of the challenges with doing any alternative support during COVID is that not all clients are able to [meet over] Zoom,” said Bentzen, “[and] they have to rely on a telephone.” The lessened personal connection can be a challenge, she explained, but can be overcome by careful attention and communication over the telephone call.

For many clients, the pandemic has been “difficult because they don’t have the support systems [they normally have] around them,” said Bentzen. Connecting with complementary therapy volunteers such with Reiki, she reflected, can help these clients connect with others and move into a state of relaxation.



Hospice Toronto provides one-on-one support for children and youth with bereavement

How youth can find support with the Hospice Toronto team

by Adam Lam

TORONTO, January 28, 2021 — Children and youth experiencing the loss of a loved one can find support with a dedicated team of volunteers at Hospice Toronto.

The bereavement program, which offers “short term individual sessions,” peer support groups, and one-on-one calls with volunteers, helps support the mental health of youth, which may have different experiences with loss in contrast to adults.

“The Hospice Toronto Expressive Arts Children’s Grief and Bereavement Program provides one-on-one support to Children and Youth who are grieving the loss of a family member,” says Chelsea-Anne Alex, the Young Carers Program Facilitator with the Young Carers Program (YCP) run by Hospice Toronto.

“Children and youth grieve differently than adults and they do not always have the words or means to express their grief,” she continues. “The Expressive Arts sessions focus on art and play as a way of expression and gives the children a way to express their grief in a way that feels natural to them. Hospice Toronto is providing a space where children can explore their grief in way that feels very comfortable to them.”

The program is especially relevant today on Bell Let’s Talk Day, an initiative aimed and promoting a global conversation on mental health. It also aims to support fundraising for mental health initiatives.

“#Bell Let’s Talk Day has never been more poignant than now as we feel the ongoing impact of the covid-19 pandemic,” says Teri Henderson, Director of Community Programs at Hospice Toronto. “Take this opportunity to reach out, to “tune in” to your own sense of well-being and stay connected safely in these times of physical distancing.”


For more information on Expressive Arts, please contact info@hospicetoronto.ca. To learn more about bereavement support, please call 416-364-1666. You can also donate to support our programs and initiatives for mental health.




Online Hike for Hospice raises over $26,000 for hospice care in Toronto

Top individual, youth fundraisers represented by Hospice Toronto at first-ever online Hike for Hospice

by Adam Lam

Adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, fundraisers with Hospice Toronto, the Philip Aziz Centre, and Emily’s House raised over $26,000 for palliative care from July 31 to September 12 in Toronto’s first-ever Virtual Hike for Hospice.

Hike for Hospice is an online fundraising initiative where volunteers registered and held their own symbolic ‘walk,’ raised enthusiasm through videos and photos, and received messages of support from donors. Practicing social distancing, these participants walked and biked outside, climbed stairs, and worked out on ellipticals and treadmills while raising funds for an important cause.

Chris McEvenue, Managing Partner at CPC Healthcare Communication, was recognized as the top individual fundraiser at the event, raising $2185.00 for Hospice Toronto, and Sienna R. also won the Youth Prize for raising $430 for Hospice Toronto.

As McEvenue noted to Hospice Toronto: “It’s tough being a not-for-profit, and COVID hasn’t made that easier. Hospice Toronto needs to keep finding new ways of appealing for support where so many charities are doing the same.”

He then raised attention to Hospice Toronto’s next upcoming major fundraiser: the Virtual Gala, held online on October 22 starting at 7:00 pm. “It’ll be an amazing event, with guests that include Rick Mercer, Elizabeth Manley, Maggie Casella and Josh Matlow,” he noted. “It’s free to attend and people can register by going to givergy.ca/hospicetoronto/. It’s going to be a great event, which will, over and above our special guests, include a silent auction of some incredible items.”

“Hospice Toronto is also looking for more ‘predictable’ donations, so someone might consider becoming a monthly donor,” he continued. “Or they might make to make a bequest, in someone’s memory. If you go to hospicetoronto.ca, you can see there are many ways to make a difference.”

Hospice Toronto Meal Delivery Feeds More Than Just Bellies in COVID-19 (OSCA.ca)

TORONTO, August 13, 2020 — A crisis like COVID-19 challenges communities at every level. From the struggles of physical distancing to loss of income, isolation, and detachment from the social networks that provide care, people can often find themselves in need of more support, just as it becomes harder to find.
To meet this issue head on, the government announced the Ontario Community Support Program in April, a nearly $11M fund distributed by the Ontario Community Support Association to help community support organizations deliver meals, medicine, and more to community members who need it the most.
For Hospice Toronto, an urban, in-home hospice palliative care program, the emergency funding has meant the ability to partner with a caterer to bring nourishing fresh and frozen meals directly to their most vulnerable community members: people with terminal illness who’ve chosen to die at home.
For people already facing unthinkable challenges, a lovingly prepared meal is the gift of one less thing to worry about.
As those in the Community Support sector know well, funding isn’t everything; the success of these programs also relies on people. At Hospice Toronto, as elsewhere across the province, staff are stepping in to replace volunteers– many over 70 years old– who’ve been forced to stay home and isolate themselves. For Teri Henderson, the Director of Clinical Services for Hospice Toronto, the opportunity to deliver meals to community members during COVID-19 has been incredibly meaningful.
“I’ve been in this field for a long time and I was really struck by the absolute gratitude people had that we were able to bring food into their homes,” she says, noting that this appreciation has translated into neighbour referrals for the program and as a result, the high-density vertical villages that many of their clients call home, are transforming into communities.
Teri is grateful for what the funding has allowed them to accomplish, saying, “If in one small way we can feed people emotionally or physically — it’s been a gift.”

Hospice Toronto’s Response to COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is dramatically impacting organisations and individuals throughout the globe. Hospice Toronto has been taking pro-active steps to protect the well-being of our clients, volunteers, caregivers and staff while also adapting to the situation to maintain our provision of services to the best of our capabilities.
Please click the button below to visit our News Page and read the full statement from our C.E.O. Dena Maule.

We are continuing to deliver programs and services remotely during the COVID-19 crisis, to view a list of our remote programs or for further information please click the button below.