New on Virtual Hospice

Patient and Caregiver Survey: Work Related Issues

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is currently conducting a study that looks at work-related concerns, issues and challenges that people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers experience. The feedback we receive from participants will help inform future programs, services and resources. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Canadian researchers making life easier for dying patients

A novel form of talk therapy developed here in Canada has been reported online in The Lancet Oncology. Called Dignity Therapy, the approach was developed by Canada’s Research Chair in Palliative Care, Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov. International trials show Dignity Therapy may improve quality of life for dying patients significantly better than other short-term psychotherapies.

In partnership with researchers around the world, Dr. Chochinov’s team unravels psychological, spiritual and existential complexities surrounding death. Funding for the study was provided by the NCI. Read about their work here.

Dr. Chochinov is the founder of Canadian Virtual Hospice.


National Hospice Palliative Care Week – May 1-7, 2011

“Communities Share the Care: How Can I Help?” is the theme for National Hospice Palliative Care Week 2011. Share stories of how your community has ”shared the care.” Find out more about events and resources.


Hike For Hospice – May 1, 2011

Time to lace up your running shoes in support of your local hospice palliative care organization! These volunteer organizations operate on a shoestring. By taking part in the annual Hike for Hospice you help families in your community. Find a local Hike for Hospice near you and make a difference!


Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Funding Renewal

Prime Minister Harper’s pre-budget announcement of $250 million over the next five years for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) was good news for all Canadians. It is a recognition of CPAC’s vision, success in engaging stakeholders and record of achievement in cancer control and improving the cancer journey. Congratulations to CEO Jessica Hill and all the other great people we work with at CPAC. We look forward to the next five years.


Bioethicists Join Virtual Hospice Team

Two nationally respected bioethicists, Dr. George Webster and Ms. Pat Murphy, have joined Virtual Hospice’s clinical team. George and Pat will be adding their expertise to Ask a Professional and contributing new site content coming soon!


New Resources

Here are some of the new resources that have been recently added to Follow us on Twitter for news on all new resources.


  • Video: "Palliative Care: Care vs. Cure": An in-depth interview with respected U.S. palliative care leader Diane E. Meier, MD, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care. Transcript also available.
  • Recently published: Oxford Textbook on Palliative Social Work: Terry Altilio and Shirley Otis-Green have edited the first Oxford Textbook on Palliative Social Work. This comprehensive, evidence-informed text is a must for professionals who provide psychosocial-spiritual care to patients and families with life-limiting illness.
  • Guideline on the Assessment and Treatment of Delirium in Older Adults at the End of Life: Coalition for Seniors Mental Health collaborated with experts in the fields of geriatrics and delirium to develop evidence-based recommendations on the assessment and treatment of delirium in older adults. Available free online.
  • Geriatric eToolkit: Developed by the Centre for Studies in Aging & Health, this interprofessional resource helps formal care providers deliver comprehensive & expedited evidence-based geriatric care.



Advance Care Planning campaign gets underway

“Speak Up: Start the conversation about end-of-life care” is a new campaign encouraging Canadians to discuss their preferences for end-of-life care. The Advance Care Planning National Task Force launched the campaign on April 12, which was declared National Advance Care Planning Day. Research shows that patients are much more likely to be satisfied with their care if they have end-of-life conversations with health professionals and family members. For more information, visit Many advance care planning tools and articles are also available on this website.


Celebrate hospice volunteers during National Volunteer Week

Volunteers are the heroes of palliative and long-term care. During National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, Canadian Virtual Hospice is shining the spotlight on the compassionate women and men who enrich the lives of so many, at a time when it matters so much.

Visit Take a Bow to read about inspiring hospice volunteers and to suggest others who deserve thanks and recognition. Through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, we will be encouraging the hospice community to contribute more Take a Bow stories during the week.

The For Volunteers section contains management tools to support volunteers in their important work, as well as ideas for dealing with stress and finding life balance as a volunteer.


Family Caregiver Day

Family Caregiver Day, April 5, 2011, is a time to reflect on the challenges faced by families as they care for loved ones who are chronically ill or nearing the end of life. Organizations across Canada are marking the day by calling attention to the contributions made by caregivers, and how society as a whole can support them in this important task. A news release was issued today by the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Caregiver Coalition, Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association and Health Charities Coalition of Canada.

Virtual Hospice provides extensive resources for caregivers including answers to common questions, practical information on providing care, a listing of programs and services, and a plain-language glossary of palliative care terms. Through Ask a Professional, individuals can receive personal answers to their questions. Virtual Hospice also provides a comprehensive range of clinical tools for professionals assisting caregivers.


New to Your Stories: Final Voyage

In this poignant telling, author and photographer Suzanne Ahearne follows her father’s end-of-life vision of a ghost ship to retrace his final voyage home and find peace with his death.


Canadians on the Podium Again in Vancouver

On the anniversary of the Vancouver Olympics, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) gave Canadians two of its highest honours. The Excellence in Scientific Research Award was presented to Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov. The award recognizes a physician who has contributed meaningful, exemplary research to the field of hospice and palliative care. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Chochinov is the founder and chair of the Canadian Virtual Hospice.

A Presidential Citation was awarded to Senator Sharon Carstairs whose “promotion of access for all Canadians has garnered international attention and demonstrates how the vision and work of one elected individual can lead to dramatic and effective change.” It was noted that the initiatives Senator Carstairs has championed and the reports she has written “serve as an example to other governments throughout the world.”


Fred Nelson receives National Award of Excellence

Canadian Virtual Hospice team member, Fred Nelson, takes a bow for receiving the 2010 Award of Excellence from the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association. As a Social Worker, Fred has been a dedicated and unwavering champion for Manitobans living with life-limiting illness and for those caring for them for almost 30 years. His faithful affiliation and work with the provincial and national hospice palliative care associations over the years are testaments to his belief in advancing the voice of hospice palliative care for all.


Canadian Virtual Hospice Wins Silver at International Media Festival

The Canadian Virtual Hospice website was recognized as “exceptional” by an international panel of judges at an awards ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts. The site, which provides information on palliative and end of life care, received a silver award in the website category from the Health & Science Communications Association (HeSCA).  The awards recognize excellence in health and sciences media production. HeSCA’s Media Festival is internationally recognized as the pre-eminent media awards program in health sciences, where the "best of the best" entries in web, print, film, video, still media and interactive media compete for distinguished honors.


The Exchange: CancerChatCanada: Online Support for Caregivers

A new article from Dr. Joanne Stephen describes the CancerChatCanada pilot project. The project set up online support groups that are filling a well-documented need among Canadian caregivers.


Books, Links and More: Resources for Patients and Families

Find, the caregiver guide Be the Noodle, and an online handbook for families caring for older people among the resources at that help you help others. Also find programs and services that provide support in your area.


Carstairs' Releases 3rd Report on Palliative Care

Palliative care advocate Senator Sharon Carstairs has tabled in the Senate her latest report on palliative care, titled Raising the Bar. You can find it on her website.


New Resources for Patients and Families

The Comfort of Home for Alzheimer's Disease: A Guide for Caregivers from the Alzheimer Society of Canada gives practical, comprehensive and easy to read information regarding careing for someone at home with Alzheimer's Disease.

Seasons of Solace: A Story of Healing through photos and poems written by Janelle Shantz Hertzler shares photos and poems to help others in the midst of grief.

Start the Conversation: The book about death you were hoping to find provides a spiritual approach to understanding death, dying and grief.  Published by Warner Books and recommended by health care professionals in mental health and education.


New Tools for Professionals

Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety in Nursing Education: A Framework for First Nation, Inuit and Métis Nursing was developed and launched in 2009.  Available as a downloadable file in English, French and Innuktitut.