The Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence is proud to share that, since the beginning of the summer, it has added a number of new programs to ensure each of our patients can live the final chapter of their lives in the best and most fulfilling manner possible, with dignity and at peace.
“At the Residence we are always looking for ways to enhance the experience of our patients and families, to create special memories that have meaning and relevance, to make them feel special. Thanks to the team’s creativity and courage, and a safe and secure environment, we continue to build on our foundation of compassionate palliative care”, said Dale Weil, Executive Director of the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence.
Music therapy is hitting a high note
Music has always played an important part day to day in many rituals and celebrations at the Residence – and it can be heard as soon as one walks through the doors.
Music therapy, which is clinical use of music to achieve therapeutic goals, has been available to all our patients and families since the arrival of Dan Goldman in April. “Through the clinical use of music interventions we can accomplish individual goals in a therapeutic relationship. I strongly believe that music therapy has the power to address four key components to a patient’s journey: physiological, emotional, social and spiritual needs,” explains Dan, the Residence’s Music Therapist. “Thanks to music, we can alleviate symptoms such as pain, agitation, and anxiety and enhance communication and quality of life.”
Healing through Walking and Gardening
Prior to the pandemic, the Residence would hold multiple in-person bereavement sessions groups during the winter, the spring and the fall. During Covid-19, we adjusted our approach and carried out these sessions online via Zoom. The Residence hopes that in-person groups can begin in the fall. In the meantime, and to support those in need during the summer, the Residence has launched two new and innovative programs: Growing with Grief and Walking with Grief.
The “Walking with grief” is a group composed of ten people supported by our facilitator and meets every two weeks at a beautiful location in the West Island. Walking in nature provides a quiet peaceful environment to reflect, be awed, and move the body. “The benefits of being in nature are well known and the Walking with Grief group allows participants an added opportunity to connect with others who have lived an experience of loss”, described Pauline Orr, a social worker at the Residence and facilitator of this group.
The “Growing with grief” group helps participants along their journey of loss through gardening, harvesting and art making. This 10-week bereavement program combines gardening with art therapy. “I like the idea of expressing grief through nature because it encompasses the notion that everything goes back to the earth,” explained Sarah Tevyaw, the Residence’s Art therapist. “We cultivate growth—and there’s an acceptance that we don’t know how a garden will turn out.” Through Growing with Grief, art therapy helps to create a metaphorical journey through loss and acceptance.
These groups are open not only to those who have lost a loved one at the Residence, but also to anyone in the community experiencing loss, grief and bereavement.
A beautiful connection between animals and patients
It is well known that the presence of animals can improve satisfaction, energy levels, self-esteem and mood in patients. Always on the lookout for ways we can bring life and experiences to our patients and families, the Residence recently started collaborating with the organization “A Horse Tale Rescue”. This not-for-profit houses 14 rescued horses and provides equine assisted activities for the well being of various groups, typically at their site.
On July 2nd, we were very proud to welcome Rusty, their “travelling” rescue horse to the Residence. “The visit was a success from every aspect, most notably the pleasure it brought to our patients. While several patients had initially voiced an interest in having a visit with Rusty, his arrival sparked spontaneous requests from others,” explained Manuella Piovesan, Director of Clinical Care at the Residence. “It was really thrilling to see Rusty poke his head through the doors of each room and connect with each patient whose chairs or beds were placed adjacent to their patio door”, she added.
The Residence will continue to collaborate with AHT Rescue so that more patients and families can benefit from his comforting companionship. “Bringing one of our rescue horses to a palliative care residence was a dream for me. To witness the sensitive approach of Rusty that literally energized patients was heartwarming and I am convinced that we truly made a difference in peoples lives”, said Mike Grenier, the AHT Rescue Executive Director.
About the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence
The Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence is an independent, non-profit organization that provides services free of charge to patients and their families. The Residence relies on community support and fundraising activities to raise more than $3.8 million each year, which complements our government subsidy. With its 23 beds, the Residence is the largest free-standing palliative care facility in Canada and is recognized as a leader in its field.