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Friends Portrait

Improving End of Life Care in
Long Term Care

The problem to solve ... The solution to provide

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What we have learned

  • Even though a long-term care facility may be someone’s last home, staff and volunteers are not trained or supported, nor do they have the time needed to provide quality end of life care

  • Well over 50% of residents have a form of dementia; many doctors (including geriatric specialists) do not view a dementia diagnosis as a terminal diagnosis… “Your mother is not dying, she has dementia; there is a difference”.  Five days later the mother died.

  • Staff do not have the available time to ease a resident’s anxiety, nor the anxiety of their loved ones

  • Not knowing what to expect or “what is happening” when a loved one is actively dying, families may blame staff for “killing their loved one” when what they bore witness to was simply the body’s natural process of shutting down

  • Grief associated with what may be considered a traumatic or preventable death may motivate a family to explore legal action against a facility

HHA’s Four Point Plan addresses the needs of staff, management, volunteers, family and residents.​​

Provide access to HHA’s Compassionate Caregiving Training (online and independent study)


Facilitate a one day interactive / experiential End of Life Care in Long Term Care Workshop



Include LTC Facilities as partnering locations for an HHA Death Doula Candidate’s Practicum

Have an HHA Certified End of Life Doula in every LTC Facility in the province


In support of the staff and volunteers in partnering facilities

  • Provide training (both online / independent study and in-facility workshops) that addresses both the practical needs of those reaching end of life, as well as helping professional caregivers understand how previous loss may influence their approach to supporting someone who is dying (and their loved ones)

  • Offer access to our De-Briefing Support Team which is available 24 hours a day to provide immediate emotional support to professional caregivers who have “just lost” a resident.  This means that staff (who often have developed a deep personal relationship with a resident) will be able to have their grief honoured, recognized, and supported

  • The addition of End of Life Doula Candidates (performing the role in a voluntary capacity) gives the current care team a chance to understand the complementary role in a collaborative / “non-threatening” way

  • Further, the addition of End of Life Doula Candidates to the care team gives the long- term care facility a chance to experience a “proof of concept” before considering an increase in operational budgets in order to bring a Home Hospice Association certified End of Life Doula onto their staff

Manicured Hands

In support of the residents in partnering facilities

Senior Gay Couple
  • Provide one-on-one care and support for the non-medical needs at the end of life

  • Offer a trained and compassionate ear to work on or through issues that someone is not comfortable sharing with family

  • Respect the journey they are on, especially when dementia has robbed someone of much of their dignity

  • Acknowledge who they are culturally, socially, and spiritually

  • An overwhelming number of those who identify as LBGTQ2+ “re-closet” when entering into a long-term care facility

  • Provide the opportunity to die where they now call home, in the manner of their choosing, and ensuring they do not die alone or in distress