Dear valued friends of Emily’s House and Philip Aziz Centre;

We hope this note finds you and your loved ones well.   The last three months have been a challenge for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable in our communities. Here at Emily’s House and PAC, we remain committed to our mission and to serving our clients, residents and their families in the provision of essential services in our residential hospice; and in safe, modified ways, through our visiting hospice program in the community.

By committing to temporarily providing care for palliative adults, our team is freeing up eight hospital beds at Michael Garron Hospital for COVID-19 patients, and increasing capacity for care in the GTA, all while continuing to provide palliative supports both in our residence and community for children and their families. We have maintained vigorous infection control standards, from screening to PPE, to limiting visitors and essential services to protect the health and safety of clients, staff and volunteers.

From psycho-social supports such as creative play and music offered virtually to families, to virtual camp experiences, to wellbeing outreach to our respite families and community clients, and peer-support groups via conference technologies, we have stayed connected in care. Our case manager, social worker and spiritual care practitioner have continued to be busy, advocating, coordinating and supporting the psycho-social/spiritual and bereavement needs of palliative individuals and their families. Our counselling team has also partnered with Hospice Palliative Care Ontario to provide support to Health Care professionals around the province in need. Volunteers are engaged in off-sight activities and weekly remote conference sessions on wellness and education, as well as keeping our gardens beautiful.  Our team has come up with some very creative and innovative initiatives: from the production of our daily YouTube programming, to backyard music and play therapy sessions and distribution of gift/craft packages for families.  As well, volunteers and community supporters have donated their time to make gowns and masks; and companies, service clubs and foundations have been generous in helping with COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding.

As we move towards Phase 1 of returning to increased on-site services, and all things paediatric, we will continue to adhere to Public Health and Ministry guidelines, as well as our internal risk and infection policies and procedures.

We want to thank all our community partners, volunteers, donors, stakeholders, and Board of Directors for their incredible cooperation, financial assistance and overall support. Our dedicated staff continue to “step up” and assist in these times of need with resilience, flexibility and resolve to help our health care system.  We are humbled by their level of commitment and dedication.

We are grateful for all your support and encouragement. It really does take a village.

Rauni Salminen
CEO & Founder of Emily’s House / CEO Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care