HAO Organization Overview

In-depth overview about Hospice Association of Ontario:

What We Stand For;
Background & History;
Visiting Home Hospice Volunteer Accreditation Program & Standards;

The Visiting Home Hospice Volunteer Goal
Why Standards and Accreditation
Benefits of Accreditation
HAO Level One and Level Two Accreditation Model Table of Contents
Accreditation Model Order Form

Community Residential Hospice Standards;

The Community Residential Hospice Goal
What is a Community Residential Hospice
Why Community Residential Standards

Charter for End-of-Life Care in Ontario;
Key Milestones;

Canadian Firsts
Education and Information
Public Policy

and, Board of Directors.


Our vision is that every person and family in the province of Ontario can quickly and easily access the finest end-of-life care when required.

The Hospice Association's mission is to ensure that our members consistently deliver the finest end-of-life care possible to individuals with life-threatening conditions, their families and friends.

Caring, compassion, collaboration, sincerity and responsibility serve as our core values, guiding our decisions and actions.


HAO began with eight members in 1989. Since then, the Association’s membership has grown by more than 1,000% (from eight to more than 180 hospices and allied members).

HAO is now Canada’s largest volunteer hospice organization and our members have become the largest direct service providers within Ontario’s voluntary health care sector.

Today, in more than 450 communities throughout Ontario, 13,300 volunteers dedicate 630,000 hours of service each year to HAO’s member hospices. These volunteers provide emotional, psychological and spiritual support to help people with terminal illnesses to live at home or in a home-like setting as fully and as comfortably as possible.

Through social, respite and bereavement support, hospices also help families through an extremely difficult time in their lives.

The focus of hospice care is on caring, not curing - and on life, not death. The goal is to make the last months of life as comfortable as possible and to improve the quality of life of the patient, family members and friends.

Quality of life, family wellness, community involvement and living in dignity are all part of hospice’s compassionate vision.


The Visiting Home Hospice Volunteer Goal

The goal of the Hospice Association of Ontario’s (HAO) Visiting Home Hospice Volunteer Accreditation Program is to ensure the delivery of consistent, high quality home based volunteer hospice palliative care throughout Ontario.

Accreditation is an efficient and effective means of continuous learning and improvement – a provincial benchmark for Ontario hospices. The program is intended to assist each HAO member in quality improvement efforts as they relate to visiting hospice volunteer client services.

“Not only did the accreditation process enable a cycle of quality improvement for our hospice, it also helped us to recognize our accomplishments and revitalize our sense of team.” – Rick Firth, Executive Director, Bayview Community Hospice

Why Standards and Accreditation?

Provincial standards and accreditation enable hospices to assess and evaluate their competence, service delivery, accessibility, safety and continuity of care.

Are timely and responsive
Enable integration and continuity of care
Acknowledge the desire of individuals to stay at home
Illustrate the need to support informal caregivers
Reflect commitment to continuous improvement
Demonstrate accountability and transparency
Legitimizes the contribution of Visiting Volunteer Hospices

“Implementing the HAO Standards gave us the opportunity to institute consistent practices which in turn enhanced our organizational confidence and credibility.”
– Maryann Lepage, Executive Director, Sudbury Regional Palliative Care Association

Benefits of Accreditation

Initiating the use of HAO standards and achieving Level One and Two Accreditation provides a number of benefits for your hospice and your clients including:

Validation of your efforts and contributions
Opportunity for continuous learning and quality improvement
Legitimizes the role and contribution of the hospice and the volunteer
Ensures consistent delivery of services and practices which is essential for clients and their families
Galvanizes and recognizes the team
Provides outcome measuremet for funders
Improves risk-management
Focuses on client-centred care with increased organizational confidence

“Upon completing Level One and Level Two Accreditation, our staff and Board felt a real sense of accomplishment – we celebrated our collective effort!”
– Theresa Greer, Executive Director, Hospice of Peel

View the HAO Level One and Level Two Accreditation Model Table of Contents and / or order your copy of the Accreditation Model.


The Community Residential Goal

The goal of the Hospice Association of Ontario’s (HAO) Community Residential Hospice Standards is to define mutually-agreed to standards or expectations for client care within a Community Residential Hospice setting.

What is a Community Residential Hospice?

The HAO Standards Working Group has defined Community Residential Hospice as a homelike alternative to institutional care for those requiring end-of-life care.

“The Salvation Army commends the development of the Community Residential Hospice Standards by the Hospice Association of Ontario. HAO has placed Ontario as a front-runner across the country in the development of Standards for Community Residential Hospice. Grateful appreciation is expressed to HAO for this remarkable achievement, a significant work benefitting so many.”
– Mary Ellen Eberlin, Territorial Social Services Secretary and Mildred Jarvis, Hospital and Long-Term Care Consultant, The Salvation Army

Why Community Residential Hospice Standards?

Community Residential Hospice standards are essential for a variety of reasons including they:

Lend credibility to the hospice
Provide a common language
Prevent a fragmented approach to funding bodies
Ensure that the appropriate level of staffing meets the level of care as outlined in the Canadian Hospice Palliatve Care Association's (CHPCA) A Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care: Based on National Principles and Norms of Practice
Provide a method for measurement and evaluation
Ensure consistency in Community Residential Hospices throughout Ontario

“(The Standards) are a lovely demonstration of the application of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association’s Model! I can imagine that they will be very useful to Hospices and Long-Term Care Facilities around the world.”
– Dr. Frank Ferris, Medical Director, Palliative Care Standards/Outcome Measures, San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care and co-author of A Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care


How we treat those who are dying in our community reflects who we are as a society. All Ontarians have the right to die with dignity, to have access to physical, psychological, bereavement and spiritual care, and to be granted the respect consistent with other phases of life.

As professional, volunteer and family representatives of Ontario’s hospice palliative care community, we are committed to providing the best possible quality end-of-life care to Ontario residents and their families. Our goal is to optimize their quality of life and to minimize the physical and emotional suffering associated with this phase of life.

We endorse an integrated approach focused on the individual and their family and caregivers, accessible through hospice palliative care services in the local community and tailored to individual needs.

Our efforts to increase awareness and availability of quality and integrated end-of-life care run parallel to our collaboration with government, social agencies and other decision makers to develop innovative clinical, community and public policy strategies.

On behalf of the residents of Ontario whom we serve, we speak with a unified and cohesive voice, share information and resources and work through a coordinated network of partners from the voluntary, public and professional sectors.

Note: This Charter was created collaboratively during a 2004 province-wide consultation to develop a provincial strategy for end-of-life care.


The Hospice Association of Ontario (HAO), as a catalyst for change and an innovative leader in end-of-life care programming, has collaboratively achieved both Canadian firsts and significant key milestones.

Canadian Firsts

Standards and accreditation model for Visiting Home Hospice Volunteer programs (a fully replicable model)
Standards for Community Residential Hospices, another Canadian first being piloted by the Salvation Army from British Columbia to Newfoundland

“The Salvation Army commends the development of the Community Residential Hospice Standards by the Hospice Association of Ontario. HAO has placed Ontario as a front-runner across the country in the development of Standards for Community Residential Hospice.”
– Mary Ellen Eberlin, Territorial Social Services Secretary, The Salvation Army

Standardized, comprehensive volunteer training process and manual
Economic impact study of Ontario’s volunteer hospice movement
Multi-cultural strategy and corresponding guide for hospice palliative care

Education and Information

Service provision to more than 33,000 consumers seeking information about end-of-life care programs and services
Multi-disciplinary education and training in end-of-life care for Long-term Care Homes (HAO is now the leading provider of end-of-life care training in Ontario’s Long-term Care Homes)

Public Policy

HAO has successfully worked with government to affect change in hospice palliative care public policy:

Ministry of Health funded stakeholder consultation bringing together more than twenty province-wide organizations to develop strategic directions and a province-wide charter for end-of-life care (a first in Ontario)

Invitation to HAO’s Executive Director from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to Co-Chair the Provincial End-of-Life Care Advisory Committee

Recently achieved a substantial $3 million increase in government funding for visiting home hospice programs across Ontario, which will significantly increase the capacity and sustainability of hospices across Ontario

Facilitated an unprecedented pledge of government funding for more than 30 community residential hospices by 2008, another first for the movement which will also significantly increase the capacity and sustainability of hospices across Ontario



John Crean, Chair
Beth Ellis, Secretary
Ingrid Robinson, Treasurer


Sharon Allen
Heather Campbell
Carol Derbyshire
Deborah Gravelle
Greer Hozack
Cathy Joy
Elaine Klym
Rod Malcolm
Andrea Martin
Thelma Martin
Vivan Papaiz
Marg Poling
Rodney W.J. Seyffert
Donna Spaner
Leo Therrien