Every day, thousands of Canadians are given the
devastating news that someone they care about is dying – yet many simply don’t
know where they can go for help. Now patients, families and health care
providers can turn to an expanded Canadian Virtual Hospice website
(www.virtualhospice.ca) to meet their needs.
“Supporting someone with a terminal illness offers some of life’s most
challenging experiences as well as some of life’s most meaningful moments,”
says Shelly Cory, Executive Director of the Canadian Virtual Hospice.
“Canadians are coming to virtualhospice.ca because it’s a place they can turn
to for expert information and support.”
A four-year, $2.4 million investment by the Canadian Partnership Against
Cancer, Health Canada and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority enables the
Canadian Virtual Hospice to offer new features and, at the same time, raise
public awareness about the valuable information, support and resources
available to Canadians at this online site.
“Caring for someone who is ill and nearing the end-of-life is an
intensely personal experience. But along the way, we encounter similar
challenges and have many of the same questions. Canadian Virtual Hospice
provides not only valuable information, but also an ear and guiding hand in
this difficult journey. The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is proud to
support the expansion of such an exceptional resource and service,” says
Jessica Hill, CEO, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.
Online access to health experts
One of the unique resources available on the site is Ask a Professional,
which provides Canadians with direct online access to a team of experts in
palliative and end-of-life care. The team of doctors and nurses has expanded
to include a social worker and a spiritual care adviser.
“My elderly father was terminally ill but he didn’t understand what was
wrong with him – he would get depressed and ask me repeated questions because
he either forgot or was in denial,” says Christine from Sudbury, Ontario. “I
was searching for answers to try and help him when I found Canadian Virtual
Hospice. I was able to ask a professional about how to speak with my dad about
his illness. The advice I received was invaluable and helped both my dad and
me through his final days.”
Every person who submits a question receives a detailed, personal and
confidential response. By the end of 2008, Canadian Virtual Hospice had
answered more than 800 questions from Canadians and received 30,000 visitors
In addition to Ask a Professional, visitors can find information on a
range of palliative care topics as well as links to local resources and
recommended books, websites and multimedia. The expanded site now offers new
– Asked and Answered, a collection of more than 80 questions asked by
Canadians and the responses from the Ask a Professional team, with
identifying information removed to protect confidentiality. Topics
range from managing symptoms like pain and weight loss, to providing
care at home, to financial assistance and talking with children about
– The Glossary, provides a list of accessible definitions for common
palliative care terms;
– The Exchange offers Canadian researchers, clinicians and other
leaders in palliative care the opportunity to share the latest
research, best practices and innovations in peer reviewed articles;
– For Professionals offers key resources and new tools for people
working, volunteering and conducting research in palliative care.
“Virtual Hospice helps Canadians navigate the health system so that they
are better equipped to advocate for themselves or their loved ones,” says Dr.
Brian Postl, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. “We
hope health care professionals will quickly recognize the value of this
resource so they can recommend it as a trusted site for their patients and