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Redefining grief support: Hospice Georgian Triangle's innovative approach to community healing

With a multi-pronged approach to grief support, Hospice Georgian Triangle provides individualized care, filling gaps in community support and ensuring no one navigates their grief journey alone.

Hospice Georgian Triangle continues to redefine how communities approach and understand grief. With its multi-faceted approach, Hospice Georgian Triangle ensures that support is tailored to individual needs, acknowledging that grief is not a one-size-fits-all journey.

Community support lead Taylor McIntosh said the organization has created many entry and exit points for people seeking service.

"We offer one-on-one support with a social worker or a registered psychotherapist. Additionally, our visiting volunteer program allows volunteers to connect with grieving individuals in various informal settings.”

Group options range from structured psychoeducational groups to lighter, more casual drop-in groups. 

"The casual groups are less intense. They might involve a coffee meetup or a walk, whereas our psychoeducational groups are focused on teaching about grief and bereavement," McIntosh added.

Contrary to common misconceptions, Hospice Georgian Triangle’s services aren't limited to families who have experienced hospice but are open to the community, free of charge and with little to no wait times.

"Everyone grieves, but we're often ill-prepared to navigate it. Having a community to connect with, realizing you're not alone, can be transformative."

A compassionate team providing essential support to the community

McIntosh oversees a team deeply committed to their roles. 

"Their heart is in hospice. Many of those who work in hospice have personal experiences with grief or have felt a 'calling' to the work. This innate passion and dedication set our team apart,” she said. 

McIntosh’s team has developed innovative and responsive programs to meet the community's unique needs. Paying close attention to formal and informal feedback, the team has created popular groups such as Widow(er)’s Lunch Group, Film Club, and Cooking for One. 

The team’s goal is to offer various levels of support, ranging from casual drop-in groups to intense counselling sessions, aiming to reach the broadest spectrum of people in need.

Supporting those in need through a palliative approach

Vanessa Voorberg, a registered social worker with the Community Team, coordinates community volunteers, providing essential support for individuals and families living with a life-limiting illness. 

She has seen the positive effects of timely and compassionate care, enhancing connections, and delivering valuable resources in a confidential environment. Her role as a counsellor extends to support those who are grieving, emphasizing the importance of empathetic care.

Facilitating healing through group and peer support

Elizabeth Matos, who leads the drop-in groups for Hospice Georgian Triangle, focuses on normalizing discussions around death and providing peer support for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. 

Her work emphasizes encouragement to move forward through grief, fostering camaraderie and emotional support. Her outreach includes orchestrating workshops, speaking engagements, and partnering with North Simcoe Palliative Care.

Specialized care for complex grief

Jennifer Kerr, a grief and bereavement counsellor specializing in complex grief, offers her unique insights to those grappling with substance-related death, loss by suicide, and estranged relationships. 

Currently completing her Master’s in Counselling Psychology, she finds her work in this stigmatized area vital for the community.

“Having a knowledgeable team eager to fill identified gaps in community support is invaluable,” McIntosh said. “Their willingness to lead, develop content and genuinely make a difference is commendable."

The combined efforts of the team at Hospice Georgian Triangle have fostered a compassionate network that reaches out to the community, filling the gaps where needed and offering a judgment-free zone where individuals can find hope, healing, and companionship.

Support the Hospice Georgian Triangle

Hospice Georgian Triangle provides compassionate care at Campbell House and the community for individuals with life-limiting illness and their families in the Town of the Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Clearview Township and Wasaga Beach. Care programs come at no cost to the user and focus on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of the patient, family and caregivers, enhancing the quality of life.

Hospice Georgian Triangle Foundation's purpose is to raise the funds that allow Hospice Georgian Triangle to provide exceptional hospice palliative care and community programming.