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Reimagining end-of-life care in North Simcoe since 1993

Hospice Huronia empowers people with a life-limiting illness with dignity and comfort while providing comprehensive care and support

Hospice Huronia, serving North Simcoe since 1993, is a home-like environment, focusing on dignity and comfort.

They are debunking misconceptions about hospice care by emphasizing Advance Care Planning and empowering individuals in their end-of-life decisions. They also provide comprehensive grief and bereavement support to the entire community.

Hospice Huronia has been a provider of free services to the residents of North Simcoe since 1993. Serving multiple communities, including the Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene, various townships, and the Beausoleil First Nation.

Debbie Kesheshian, the executive director of Hospice Huronia, said she wants to reach out to people well before they think they need hospice care. This proactive approach, termed “Advance Care Planning,” aims to inform and empower individuals, offering them decision-making options about their care. 

“Hospice Huronia is not just a place for the dying; it's a sanctuary where one can finish living their life with dignity and comfort.”

Kesheshian strongly advocates for empowering individuals to make their own decisions regarding end-of-life care. By offering tours and information ahead of time, individuals and families can make informed choices, reducing the stress and guilt often associated with these decisions. 

Hospice Huronia is a testament to the belief that a 'good death' is possible, where moments are cherished and memories are made.

Battling misconceptions with compassion

A major misconception about hospices, according to Kesheshian, is viewing them solely as places where people go to die. Hospice Huronia, however, is akin to a home, offering private rooms, 24/7 palliative nurses, and a focus on maintaining dignity.

“You don't come to hospice to die; you come to finish living.”

As Hospice Huronia celebrates its 30th anniversary, Kesheshian highlights its unique position in North Simcoe, offering a five-bed facility and visiting companioning by trained volunteers in our client’s own home. Their focus extends beyond just the patients; they are local experts in grief and bereavement, offering a variety of programs and one-to-one support for diverse needs, including those who have experienced traumatic losses.

The essence of Hospice Huronia lies in its team — individuals who treat each patient as their own loved one, with a focus on pain and symptom management. This approach not only comforts those in their care but also brings immense relief to their families. They attend to the entire person, not just their medical needs.

Diverse bereavement support services

Kesheshian said Hospice Huronia has comprehensive grief and bereavement support, acknowledging that grief often begins well before death occurs. 

She pointed out that many individuals move to the North Simcoe region with dreams of retirement and spending time with grandchildren, only to face the unexpected illness of a partner. This kind of situation can lead to a profound sense of loss, not just of a loved one but of the future they had envisioned.

Hospice Huronia addresses this anticipatory grief with a wide range of programs and individual support. We guide people through the entire disease process, from diagnosis to end-of-life, and continuing to support their loved ones after death. 

Their services cater to a diverse set of needs, including those who have lost a spouse after decades of marriage, parents who have suffered the loss of a child, and individuals grappling with grief due to traumatic events, overdoses, or suicides. 

“Grief is the price of love and a normal human reaction to death. Hospice can help.”

This approach positions Hospice Huronia as a local authority in grief and bereavement support, offering a crucial lifeline to those navigating the complex journey of loss.

Driving die-alogues: a hashtag with a heart

Kesheshian also touches upon the #DrivingDiealogues initiative, which provides information snippets to normalize conversations about death and preparation.

This campaign underscores the importance of being aware of one's wishes and communicating them to family, ensuring that the support provided aligns with the patient's desires. Follow along and subscribe on YouTube.

For a tour, contact Hospice Huronia today online or by email at [email protected] or by phone at 705-549-1034.