South West LHIN Board decides on a two-site residential hospice in Huron Perth

February 21, 2017

Tavistock, ON – The South West LHIN Board of Directors today decided on a two-site residential hospice in Huron Perth with six beds in Stratford and four beds in Central Huron. For people living in Huron Perth, this decision will lead to improved access to residential hospice.

The LHIN Board considered the best available data, evidence and best practices to inform its decision. The Board also relied on significant planning input and feedback from key partners and communities, as well as advice from the Hospice Palliative Care Leadership Committee and LHIN staff.

The decision was supported by guiding principles established by the South West Hospice Palliative Care Leadership Committee and approved by the LHIN Board in January 2017. The principles are intended to ensure optimal access, quality, and sustainability of new residential hospice resources in the South West LHIN.

The South West LHIN acknowledges the tremendous planning efforts that have been underway in South Huron to establish a two bed residential hospice in memory of Jessica Hamather. The LHIN will be reaching out to the leaders of this initiative to discuss opportunities to align efforts towards the establishment of a single residential hospice site in Huron County that will optimize access and service quality, make the best use of tax payer and fundraising dollars, and be part of a single residential hospice model in Huron Perth. The LHIN believes that two residential hospice sites in Huron County will undermine the quality and sustainability of this important service.

The South West LHIN will be flowing funds once the beds are operational pending support from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Residential hospices are responsible to raise funds for operating costs over and above $105,000 per bed (provided for patient care needs) and for any capital expenses. It is anticipated that the new residential hospice beds in Huron Perth will be operational no later than March 31, 2018.


In April 2014, Ontario’s Auditor General conducted a “Value for Money” audit of palliative services in Ontario. The report and its recommendations represent an important complement to Ontario’s blueprint for improving end of life and palliative care. It was identified that access to palliative care services was not equitable across the province and that the mix of services should be reviewed to ensure patients’ needs are met cost-effectively.

Additionally, The Patients First Act, passed in December 2016, will help patients and their families obtain better access to a more local and integrated health care system, improving the patient experience and delivering higher-quality care. This includes enabling residential hospices to become health service providers of the LHIN.

The Province defines residential hospice as a non-profit healthcare facility that provides specialized hospice palliative care beds and services in a homelike setting for the residents it serves and their families. Residential hospice is recognized as an important element in the continuum of care and a key enabler to achieving an overall reduction in the percentage of deaths that occur in hospital settings. Funding for new beds will ensure that the South West LHIN continues to work towards a vision for hospice palliative care that is comprehensive, integrated and coordinated to meet the needs of South West LHIN residents.

Within the South West LHIN, it is intended that future planning for residential hospice resources will also align with the approved guiding, planning and development principles to help achieve the LHIN’s vision for integrated hospice palliative care.

Based on the results of the Hospice Palliative Care Capacity Planning Report and recommendations from the South West Hospice Palliative Care Leadership Committee, Huron Perth was confirmed as a priority area for new residential hospice beds by the South West LHIN Board of Directors at its board meeting in February 2016.


“We are excited about the opportunity to increase residential hospice capacity and strengthen hospice palliative care in support of patients and families across the South West LHIN. The commitment shown in Huron Perth in support of the planning for a local community hospice has been outstanding. This was an extremely difficult decision to make, and has been top of mind for our entire Board. As a Board entrusted to make system-wide planning and funding decisions, we have tried our best to ensure that all involved communities were engaged before a decision was made and that the best available data and evidence was used to inform our decision. We believe that our decision will enable partners to work together to ensure we are meeting the needs of all communities across Huron Perth.”

– Lori Van Opstal, Vice Chair and interim Board Chair, South West LHIN


“The LHIN Board’s decision reflects a significant milestone in moving forward our overall plan to improve care for those with life-limiting illnesses and their families throughout our geography. I want to recognize each person and group that came forward to provide input to inform our planning and decision-making processes. The LHIN remains committed to fostering collaboration across all care settings and among communities, with shared ownership of solutions and actions.”

– Michael Barrett, CEO, South West LHIN

"Hospice Palliative Care Ontario welcomes the announcement by the South West LHIN to expand access to residential hospice care in Huron and Perth. Hospice care relieves the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of suffering, helping patients and their families maintain quality of life, even at the very end of life. The increased access to care will ensure the delivery of high quality, compassionate, cost effective care that alleviates pressure on the acute care system and most importantly helps to meet the needs of Huron and Perth residents throughout their palliative journeys.”  

– Rick Firth, CEO and President, Hospice Palliative Care Ontario



For more information: 

Ashley Jackson  

Director Communications and Community Engagement 

 519-672-0445 ext. 2604 Cell: 519-854-8808

Faadia Ghani

Communications and Community Engagement Specialist

519-672-0445 ext. 2594

Cell: 519-200-7700