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Heart of Hospice -- Paperback

Harry van Bommel, caregiving, caregiver, care, home care, nursing care, health care, hospice care, palliative care, Dr. Dorothy Ley, grief, bereavement

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Heart of Hospice -- eBook

Complete text as a pdf file emailed directly to you. Harry van Bommel,caregiving, caregiver, care, home care, nursing care, health care, hospice care, palliative care, Dr. Dorothy Ley, grief, bereavement

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The Heart of Hospice

Dorothy C.H. Ley with Harry van Bommel

The spiritual heart of hospice as well as other aspects of the hospice philosophy of care are chronicled. Includes a biographical sketch of Dr. Dorothy Ley, a Canadian and international pioneer of the hospice care movement, with photographs.

"Spiritual care lies at the heart of hospice. It says we are here. We will be with you in your living and your dying. We will free you from pain and give you the freedom to find your own meaning in your own life - your way. We will comfort you and those you love -- not always with words, often with a touch or a glance. We will bring you hope - not for tomorrow but for this day. We will not leave you. We will watch with you. We will be there." - Dorothy Ley

The Heart of Hospice provides a useful and inspirational educational tool for palliative care providers primarily but also for everyone interested in palliative care. The insights of one of the pioneers in Canada are practical, direct, humorous, colorful and inspirational. Her experiences lend a practicality and a credibility to this work that is hard to find elsewhere. Best of all, we can learn from someone who actually practiced what she taught. She was a very human role model to physicians, other health care providers, family members and now to patients. 

The book is divided into three parts. The first part includes the Introduction and the two chapters on the pillars of care and Dr. Ley's personal comments to people within palliative care. Her words are a compilation of various speeches and articles that she wrote over the years about the importance of providing physical, emotional, spiritual, and information supports to people with a life-threatening or terminal illness and their families. They are her words supplemented by information collected during conversations with Harry van Bommel. The second part describes some hospice care success stories including the excellent hospice care that Dr. Ley received in her own last months of life. The third part is a collection of information that readers may find helpful in understanding both Dorothy Ley and her message.

The book is called The Heart of Hospice because Dr. Ley understood the often forgotten spiritual element to palliative care. In a real sense, her belief in, and promotion of, palliative care and her experiences as a doctor, family member and patient put her at the heart of hospice as well - a well deserved place in the history of this young movement.

176 pages, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, ISBN 1-55307-022-4, $15 ebook, $20 paperback







Biographical Sketch

Part 1:  Introduction: Straight from the Heart

Part 2: Hospice Care Success Stories

Part 3: The Dorothy Ley Hospice

Recommended Resources


1. Curriculum VItae of Dr. Ley

2. Statements of Assumptions and Principles



Tributes to Dorothy Ley

Dr. Dorothy Ley demonstrated unfailing compassion and concern for everyone with whom she came in contact in her professional and personal life. A brilliant physician and always keenly aware of her own humanity and that of her patients and coworkers. She had a unique ability to make her patients feel very special to her. Because of this she was very special to each of them. - Norma Clark, Daughter of a Patient I have known Dorothy over the years in many capacities -- professionally, as a pioneer in palliative care; in community work in Durham Region; as a valued friend, generous in her caring and support; and finally as a patient. Much has been said and written about her many accomplishments and the honours which accrued to her in her church and professional life, but it is as a person that I will remember her. Just as hospital, hospice and hospitality, coming from one Latin root, epitomized Dorothy's life and work, so do the words grace, gracefulness and graciousness exemplify her character. When I think of Dorothy, I also think of the words integrity and dignity. Those of us who were privilege to travel the last mile with her and who witnessed her courage as she became less and less able to perform the tasks of daily living, were constantly amazed by her acceptance of the indignity and helplessness. Life was very precious to her -- a gift -- to be lived to the fullest, but she was one of the fortunate ones who was able to say to me, "I have done everything I wanted to do." -- not resignation, but an affirmation of life. It was doubtful at one time if she would be able to accomplish her wish to die at home, but that was made possible by dedicated family, friends and nurses. She died with grace and dignity in her own home with those she loved and who loved her. We are honoured to have known her. Go with God Dorothy. - Dr. Gilliam Gilchrist, Medical Director, Palliative Care Team, Oshawa General Hospital

My first association with Dorothy Ley was as a young nurse being "cared for" by Dr. Ley. I was her patient and her care went beyond the usual medical requirements. It was characterized by compassion and by making herself available in her home on weekends or on vacation -- whenever care was required. She practised the principles of 'palliative care' long before the words were known. Dorothy later became a mentor, a model and a friend. - Shirley Herron, B.Sc.N.

Dr. Dorothy Ley made a very great contribution to palliative care in Canada. She headed the team whose survey of Canadian and international developments led to the establishment of the Palliative Care Foundation (now replaced by the CHPCA). As Executive Director of the Foundation she helped uncounted groups to organize palliative care and hospice services all across this country. I consider her one of the founding mothers of Hospice, along with Cecily Saunders and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. - Dr. Paul Hentileff, President, Canadian Palliative Care Association (CHPCA)

A person of several careers and multiple accomplishments, Dr. Dorothy Ley came to palliative care in 1981 offering a rich blend of clinical knowledge, political skills, business acumen and personal energy. Dorothy brought us "guts!" -- she was not afraid to tackle anyone or anything. She was fiercely loyal to the church, to her friends and to palliative care. Through her many projects and associations, she advocated for the care of the elderly and the dying and gave Ontario Palliative Care an international profile. I join her many friends and colleagues in this tribute to her courage and achievements. Dr. John Scott, Medical Director, Regional PC Service in Ottawa and I met Dr. Dorothy Ley when the Palliative Care Foundation was established. She was a woman of remarkable energy, commitment and vision. She understood the world of academic medicine, and the need for innovative educational programs, a professional journal and bibliographic resources to develop the knowledge base of a fledging field. She understood the needs of small floundering programs; and, the need for networking and technical support. Most of all, she understood the plight of individual people, patients and family members who needed an advocate. Palliative care in Canada owes much to her charismatic, sound pioneer leadership. She will be sorely missed. - Ina Cummings M.D., C.C.F.P., Vice-President, CPCA, Director, Palliative Care Program Camp Hill Hospital, Halifax.