My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in October at a downtown Toronto hospital.
As a Registered Nurse I was familiar with hospice care and had an understanding of the admission criteria. Given that my mother’s prognosis was estimated to be 3 months or less, I knew she would be a candidate for hospice care and immediately requested an application be initiated. Travelling back and forth daily to the downtown hospital was not an option for my 83 year old father, particularly with winter fast approaching.
When we received word that she had been granted admission to the Dorothy Ley Hospice, we were so very grateful. The admitting coordinator phoned us to screen and advise us of our instructions and protocols.
Upon entry to the Dorothy Ley Hospice, we felt embraced by the warmth and care of the amazing staff and volunteers. It didn’t feel like an institution, it felt like home. Knowing that my mom could not be managed within her own home, I honestly felt that this was the next best place for her. I knew I had made the right decision when my mom’s first words to me were “you couldn’t have found a better place for me”. I was so relieved she felt this way and knew she would live her final days surrounded by love, excellent care and with her dignity intact. As a daughter, and as a nurse, I couldn’t have asked for anything more for her. She was happy from the moment she arrived as she was greeted with a homemade bowl of soup and chocolate pudding that would become a staple for her at each meal.
My parents’ home was about 7 minutes away and this enabled my father to be with her whenever he wanted. He enjoyed visiting and always received a warm welcome from the staff and volunteers, whose care was exceptional. They provided care not only for my mother, but to our whole family and for this we will forever be indebted them. They definitely have a higher calling and have a way of making you feel supported and cared for throughout your journey. Despite the many challenges COVID brought, staff were very doting and quickly responded to my mother whenever her call bell rang. They were often heard laughing and joking with her because that was the type of person she was.
Dr. Toupin and the team of nurses and psws were extremely attentive and it put my mind at ease when I walked out of the residence knowing that my mother was in such exceptional hands. I never worried about her wellbeing when she was at the Dorothy Ley Hospice.
The volunteers were also amazing at comforting, empathizing and just being present with us. During our stay, we all enjoyed wellness treatments such as Reiki and Therapeutic Touch from the volunteers. This helped us feel better and helped to calm our internal turmoil, even for just a while. It made quite a difference to our overall wellbeing.
As my father began to gain his footing and become more comfortable, he began baking for the staff. He needed to keep busy to help him cope with what was happening with my mother and this provided a much needed distraction. The staff were always so greatful for the treats and to this day he continues to periodically bring in goodies to them to show his appreciation.
When my mother passed away, it was without any hesitation that we dedicated the “in memory” donations to the Dorothy Ley Hospice. The quality of care and service we received was truly second to none and I would, without any hesitation, recommend it to anyone. Thank you for allowing our family the privilege of being a part of the Dorothy Ley experience and enabling me to step away from my professional role, to be a “daughter” in my mother’s journey.