Cardinal Thomas Collins offers his blessing to the Journey Home Hospice in Toronto on Feb. 6. The hospice is dedicated to end-of-life care for the homeless. (Photo by Michael Swan)

Journey Home hospice blessed

  • February 10, 2023

If the Journey Home Hospice is already a blessing on the lives of Toronto’s homeless, it’s only fitting that the hospice itself should be blessed.

With holy water and a prayer that we all will “share the hospitality, companionship and compassionate care of this hospice home,” Cardinal Thomas Collins blessed SEHealth’s bold venture into care for the dying homeless on Feb. 7.

The official blessing was also an opportunity to dedicate a bedroom to Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Toronto, who have funded the HopeLine — a telephone source of information about hospice and palliative care options that fit with Catholic teaching (416-619-5700). 

Catholic Charities have also funded a new patient navigator position with Journey Home to help the homeless in Toronto’s shelter system and elsewhere find their way to compassionate end of life care — whether at Journey Home or elsewhere.

SEHealth also used the occasion to thank the Buckley family for their financial contribution to a state-of-the-art care system built into the hospice.

The 15-bed facility just east of Toronto’s Eaton Centre and the financial district is the answer to a question SEHealth has been posing for many years, said SEHealth vice president and Chief Operating Officer Nancy Lefebre.

“The question always was, ‘Where do you go to die when you don’t have a home?’” she said. Most Canadians, she noted, would choose to die at home.

In the end, Journey Home serves the vulnerable homeless at the end of life, “simply because it’s the right thing to do,” Lefebre said.

Starting with just four beds in 2018, Journey Home has grown to become a model for inclusive, interdisciplinary hospice care. 

The concept is now being tried out in downtown Windsor, Ont. with a three-bed Journey Home Hospice.

Journey Home is operated by the St. Elizabeth Foundation. Its Toronto location is nestled inside a Homes First Society social housing building.

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