The Every Day Counts program offers patients a “one-stop shop” for long-term support and well-being.
Sometimes, it’s the first few steps on a journey that can be the hardest. For Barbara Gee, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, going to the Every Day Counts program offered by the North Shore Hospice was something she put off for a long time. From her very first encounter, however, she felt right at home.
Every Day Counts is a free program available to people with life-threatening illness. It’s a kind of “one-stop shop,” which makes people’s lives easier when they may not have the energy to travel far or frequently and want to focus on their well-being.
The program addresses all aspects of a patient’s quality of life through one-on-one counselling, physical activities including yoga and pole walking, music therapy, relaxation and meditation sessions, and more.
What makes it stand out most is its life-affirming Philosophy. “I know it is really hard to take the steps to go, but it is not just for palliative patients,” Gee says. “The staff are just so easy to talk to, and they have so much information and they are willing to talk about anything and everything. I think they are fabulous. This sounds strange, but they make it such a happy place to be.” As well as participating in the yoga sessions, Gee has also accessed several of the program’s support seminars, which range from practical to emotional and include symptom management, managing palliative resources, and taxes and estates.
“When you attend the Every Day Counts program, you learn more about the hospice,” Gee says. “You may not need it today or tomorrow or in a year, but you know it is there. With the Every Day Counts program, whether it is yoga, a seminar or any other activity, we can connect and meet people we can talk with.”
“We may have different illnesses, but we all seem to connect and it is nice to have that support,” she adds. “I think that is very important.”
Thanks to the Foundation’s Hospice Expansion campaign, which raised $2.36 million, the Every Day Counts program is located in the new palliative care hub.
This hub for people living with life-threatening illnesses also houses a new Palliative Outpatient Clinic, providing patients with convenient, rapid access to the North Shore Palliative Care Physician Team. “The Centre is open-access; no referral is needed and everyone is welcome,” says Jane Jordan, program coordinator of the North Shore Palliative and Supportive Care Program.
“We see people connecting with each other through the program. After yoga, they might go out for coffee together, so it becomes about creating that sense of community. It’s an honour to support people at this crucial time.”
The palliative care team on the North Shore currently connects with about 800 patients each year. By accessing resources in one central location, people like Barbara can find the clinical support they need as well as seek out kinship and comfort. Find out how you can help at www.northshorehospicepalliative.com.