Near North Palliative Care Network

A Special Thanks to:


Caisse Populaire North Bay limitée

North Bay & Area Community Foundation

IBM Canada Ltd

North Bay Cruisers

Dr. Ken Runciman

United Way Toronto

Knights of Columbus 1007

Rebuilt Resources Skills Development Inc.

Northern Business Solutions

Mac's Office Supplies

Moose FM North Bay 106.5

Ohana Wellness Centre

Aha Communications

Boyd Print and Design

Chevaliers De Colomb #12101

Chevaliers De Colomb #8163

Hillside Funeral Homes

KFM North Bay

IODE Dr. Herbert A. Bruce Chapter

Widdifield Lions Club

Bonfield and District Lions Club

Northern Business Solutions

Widdifield Lions Club

Northern Business Solutions

A&A Entertainment

Aggies Flowers

Bell Canada Employee Giving Program

BEAM Blue Sky Net

Sofa Communications

Saint Peter's Church

Chip Kean and 22 Wing Band

The McCubbin family

Richard Smith, NBRHC Pastoral Care Team, and Palliative Care Committee

Miranda Weingartner

Gen McRae

Cheryl Gates, Respiratory Technician

Darren Renaud

Carol Owens

Marilyn Weingartner

Heather McGuinty, Case Coordinator for the CCAC

Bev Charron

Oriana Webster, NBRHC Volunteer Coordinator

Steve Lamb, Aids Committee

The Rheaume Rochefort Family

Jeff Johnson at Cambrian Technical Services

Executive Director’s Blog

Monica Do Coutto Monni, NNPCN Executive Director

September 10th, 2019

What is the difference between Residential and Visiting Hospice?

Dear All,

We have been receiving a few questions about the difference between Residential and Visiting Hospice.

This is a common misunderstanding, caused by the fact that both services have the word “hospice” in their names.

To clarify, Near North Palliative Care Network is the only Volunteer Visiting Hospice of the Districts of Nipissing and East Parry Sound. We have been serving this immense geography since 1987. 33 years of service locally, in your community!

We serve North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Mattawa, the Almaguin area (Restoule, South River, Port Loring, Magnetawan, Shawanaga, Burks Falls…), Temagami area (Marten River, Owaissa, River Valley), Crystal Falls, Thorne, Ketchen and Eldee, Lavigne, Monetville, Wolseley Bay, Balsam Creek, Redbridge, Deerland, Astorville, Bonfield, Kiosk and your special neck of the woods.

If you feel alone in this journey, or just need a helping hand, phone us: 705-497-9239. Email [email protected]

The future local Residential Hospice will be Serenity Hospice.

Near North Palliative Care Network and the future Residential Hospice are different organizations offering complementary services inside the healthcare continuum around the client.

As you know, the healthcare continuum is comprised of many different organizations, and each one of us provides different services to the same client.

Now, if you are curious to know more about the origin and history of residential hospices, here’s a good account of it:

Due to their nature and origin, residential hospices evolved to be commonly found as a wing of a hospital or medical school.

In modern times, residential hospices function like a specialized end-of-life clinic, where primary care is provided by medical personnel. Residential hospices offer medical beds and clients go to them.

Volunteers needed by residential hospice facilities are similar to hospital volunteers. They are facility-centered, and serve in many capacities, such as reception, fundraising, preparing and serving meals, maintaining garden, doing small repairs, cleaning, entering data, etc. Residential hospice volunteers are essential, and save considerable costs to the facility.

Near North Palliative Care Network, on the other hand, offers Visiting Hospice Palliative Care.

The main goal of Volunteer Visiting Hospices is to provide a piece of home and community care. Visiting Hospices follow a decentralized model of healthcare for end of life: volunteers go where the client is.

Volunteer Visiting Hospices like Near North Palliative Care Network provide companionship and psychosocial support to palliative care patients and their caregivers. We offer palliative care support, caregiver’s respite and grief and bereavement services, completely free of charge, to those who lost their loved one.

Volunteer Visiting Hospices do not provide primary care. For example, NNPCN gives training to Visiting Hospice Palliative Care volunteers and sends them to the community and other stakeholders in the community: HCC-NELHIN, long-term care facilities, independent living, retirement homes, hospitals and above all, to private residences.

The goal of home and community care agencies is to keep clients at home, which helps better quality of life in palliative care, reduces social isolation and contributes to the end of hallway medicine.

Home and Community Care services help primary care by saving the precious medical beds to those complex cases that do need 24/7 primary care medical assistance.

Visiting Hospices contribute in a decisive way to save money to the health care system. Here’s an overall comparison of costs for a 10-bed Residential Hospice and our Volunteer Visiting Hospice.

Residential Hospices

1 bed = around $15,000/day, average of 1 client per bed per month.

10-bed residential hospice:
Total of patients served = 120 clients/year
Annual expenses: $150,000/day, $54,750,000.00/year
Average cost per patient served: $450,000.00

Near North Palliative Care Network Volunteer Visiting Hospice

Total of clients served: 2,500/year
Annual Funding (Expenses): $200,000.00/year
Average cost per client served: $80.00

Hope this clarifies your questions and please share it with your friends.
Take Care,

August 20th, 2019


Dear All,

I am delighted to announce the launch of the new NNPCN Volunteer Visiting Hospice Palliative Care Services and Training Module for Indigenous and Metis clients, especially developed for NNPCN by our Public Health Masters Degree placement student from the University of Saskatchewan, Nusha Ramsoondaar.

The main goal of the new Program is to recruit and train NNPCN Volunteers to serve the Indigenous and Metis population in our catchment area with culturally safe services.

Additionally, NNPCN is the only Volunteer Visiting Hospice in Northern Ontario with a mature Bereavement Support Service.

Along the last 5 years, NNPCN developed Bereavement and Grief support services in house, to offer :

1) printed Client’s Handout booklet;

2) Facilitator’s Manual;

3) complete Administrative Forms system; and

4) complete decks of PowerPoint Presentations of 8 Grief sessions.

NNPCN Grief Services are offered in English, French, culturally safe for Indigenous and Metis clients, and big font for the visually impaired.

NNPCN is now a Reference Training Agency in the North.

Other agencies in the region, such as in North Bay, Elliot Lake, Blind River, Sturgeon Falls and Mattawa, have been trained by us to open, expand or ameliorate their own services.

This recent growth is mainly your doing, and fruit of your great support to our efforts.

It is our common achievement, built with your loyalty to the cause of Volunteer Visiting Hospice, love for our clients, your constant support to us, and a lot of daily hard work.

Please receive my gratitude, and take a moment to feel proud of being part of our awesome organization, the NNPCN – serving Northeast Ontario since 1987!

Thank you for being one of our loyal benefactors!

Kind Regards,

Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.

Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director

December 22th, 2018

Dear All,

On behalf of Near North Palliative Care Network, please receive my deepest gratitude for one more unforgettable year together. With your support, from April 1st 2018 to this day, our Volunteers gave over 13,633 hours of services to our communities in Nipissing and East Parry Sound; served 1391 direct palliative care and bereaved clients; and benefited indirectly a minimum of 5,562 caregivers, family and friends of direct clients. What an amazing group you are! From my house to yours, wishing a wonderful Christmas and New Year Season!

Monica Do Coutto Monni, NNPCN Executive Director

September 12th, 2018

Palliative Care in Ontario: Budget Considerations

Research by Monica Do Coutto Monni, NNPCN Executive Director and James Donovan, NNPCN Bereavement Intern 18-19

–          There are going to be 9.6 million Baby boomers who die in Canada by 2050

–          For reference, 160,596 military and civilian Canadians died due to WWI, Spanish flu and WWII, combined. Between 58,639 and 66,996 military and civilian Canadians were killed during WWI (1914-18), around 50,000 Canadians were killed by the post-WWI Spanish Flu (1918-19), and 43,600 military and civilian Canadians were killed during WWII (1939-45). Watch the video below about casualties in WWI to get a sense of scale

–          Of the 9.6 million baby boomers in Canada, 2.4 million reside within Ontario as of 2017 and this will increase to 4.6 million Baby Boomers in Ontario by 2041.

–          Of the 9.6 million baby boomers in Canada by 2041, 3.3 million will require some form of palliative/hospice care. That is 34.4% of the baby boomer population.

–      1,582,430 baby boomers will need palliative/hospice care in Ontario by 2041

  • 1,026,978 will need a bed in a hospital facility,
  • 371,864 of the baby boomers will require a bed in either their home, a residential hospice, retirement home, or an assisted living home
  • 183,588 baby boomers will require a space in a long-term care home.

–      Ontario has a reported number of 4,000 hospital palliative beds and 300 residential hospice palliative bed. Total of 4,300 reported palliative beds in Ontario (Appendix A).

–          More than 95,000 people died in Ontario in 2014/15, over 54,000 of whom (57.0%) had a record of receiving at least one palliative care service in their last year of life across all health sectors (such as home care, hospital care and long-term care).

–          Cost of Home Palliative Care per client: average $24,770/month.

–          Cost of Hospital/Hospice Palliative Care per client: $15,000 a day, $450,000/month. ($5,475,000.00/year per bed).

–      More palliative care clients die in the community with the help of palliative care visiting hospices like NNPCN (23.5%) than long term care facility hospices do (11.7%).

–          Cost of Personal Support Worker (PSW) per client: C$16.54 per hour, i.e. $115.78/day (7 hours).

–      Cost of Private counselling per client. Average fee $105.00/hour.

–          Cost of PSW + Professional Grief support per client = $121.54/hour, $850.78/day, $4,253.90/week, $17,015.60/month.

–          NNPCN Palliative Care and Bereavement End Clients use 3 main end-services:

  1. Palliative Client Support,
  2. Palliative Caregiver Support
  3. Grief Support.

–      NNPCN annual budget is around $200,000.00/year

–     NNPCN served 432 clients in 2017-18. The cost of each client/year drops as more clients are served with the same $200,000.00/year.

–      200,000.00 / 432 clients = $462.96 (cost of each NNPCN client/year).

–      Only $1.26 per client per day

  • On a workday of 7 hours, $1.26/day divided by 7 hours = $0.18/hour (potential) for the 3 services: palliative care, caregiver and grief support.
  • Cost of NNPCN services per client per service: $0.06/hour.
  • Cost of NNPCN 3 services per client: $38.58/month.
  • NNPCN operates at 0.0084% of a residential hospice / hospital’s annual budget per client.


August 06th, 2018




 THIS SHORT POLL is based on best practices of interpersonal relationships and latest research about the most common personality profiles at the workplace. Basically, we all know what is said below, however it is useful to be reminded of it, to reinforce our trust that a healthy and collaborative organizational culture is possible, and that we can contribute to it in a practical way, with our choices.


  • Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person? Check YES or NO.
  • How would you react to these people? Choose one of these alternatives:
  1. I admire you and I am grateful. Thank you!
  2. Please talk to your supervisor.
  3. We are considerate and help one another here.
  4. I trust you. You’ve got a friend in me as well.
  5. I wouldn’t trust this person.


  1. The Friend. This Volunteer always listens to you and helps where needed. They always have a word of encouragement and optimism. They say good things about you when you aren’t around, and they always say good things about other Volunteers and the organization to you. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES                NO       

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Gossip. This Volunteer trash talks, often to feel like part of a group or to create what they see as camaraderie. So, when one team member’s back is turned, they will try to bond with you by speaking negatively about the person that left. And when that second person’s back is turned, the cycle continues. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES               NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Team Player. This Volunteer is always ready whenever there’s teamwork to be done. They will also ask you if you need practical support or help when they see you need it. They also offer support to the clients. They are always ready to help when they receive new appeals from the organization. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES             NO

How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Pessimist. This Volunteer complains about everything. To them, the clients are stupid, the work is boring, the job is too hard, the coffee is bitter, the boss is a jerk, the organization disappoints them, and so on. When you least expect, they make the environment heavy with negativity. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES              NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Humble. This Volunteer never calls attention to themselves. They are always willing to learn more. They silently support clients, colleagues, staff and management with loyal work and good deeds. They always think that they can do or be a little better. If they make a mistake, they feel sad and apologize to you. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES              NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Pseudo-Boss. This Volunteer thinks of themselves as the real boss. They will tell you that this or that shouldn’t be done, that you are being taken advantage of, that the bosses don’t know what they are doing, that the bosses have their favorites and so on.  If you are upset about a decision made by management, they will never tell you to have a frank conversation with your superiors. They will side with you hoping to add you to their clique. The pseudo-boss tries to make you feel as if you or others have been slighted or wronged. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES              NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Peace Maker. This Volunteers listens to clients and their family, other Volunteers and staff, and understands where they are coming from. Instead of taking sides, they try to stress common interests and the common goal of all parties. They teach by example that it is possible to offer and accept new ideas, solutions and strategies in a spirit of mutual trust and unity. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES               NO

How would you react to this person?  ____________________________________________

  1. The Instigator. This Volunteer pits people against each other, whether it is to deflect or simply to stir the pot. The instigator thrives on drama and unrest and will use gossip, anger, and negativity to get what they want. They will try to convince you that you should be angry too. They will try to use you to outwardly complain or do something disruptive without talking to the management first. They throw you in the fire, stay safely in the hide, never take responsibility and they never appear as the one who started it. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES               NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

  1. The Healer. This Volunteer has a deep sense of being a Servant of others. They will have the right word or suggestion to give you when you are hurting. They help clients and their caregivers, colleagues, staff and boss with words and acts that make everyone grateful and filled with new hope. They always leave a smile on the face of everybody. Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES             NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________ 

  1. The Bully. This Volunteer feels self-entitled. They are self-important and feel deeply offended and angry at every little thing, while belittling and insulting others. The bully is loud and negative and is constantly creating an environment where people compete to be in their favour (usually to avoid being in the bully’s line of fire). Would you like to spend Volunteer quality time with this person?

          YES              NO

          How would you react to this person? ____________________________________________

If you said YES to questions no. 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, you understand perfectly what is expected from Volunteer Interpersonal Relations in the organizational culture of Near North Palliative Care Network. 

If you said NO to questions no. 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, you are focused in high-quality Volunteer time based in healthy behaviours, and you will not allow anyone to suck you into unhealthy dynamics.

CONGRATULATIONS! You are a positive person and just the right profile to be part of the NNPCN Family.

If you want to know more about Volunteering at NNPCN, please contact NNPCN office at [email protected], 705-497-9239, and read our Volunteer Corner in our website.

Come join us as our Volunteer and enjoy NNPCN positive organizational culture, meet fantastic positive people, and enjoy exciting training and education opportunities, completely free of charge. NNPCN training certificate is waiting for you!

July 28th, 2018




Dear All,

The Mission of Near North Palliative Care Network is

To enhance the comfort, dignity and quality of life of individuals with a terminal illness,

and to offer bereavement support throughout the community.

The mandate of our Volunteers is

To enhance the quality of life of the palliative care client and provide psychosocial support to the family and caregivers of the client. 

Palliative Care Visiting Hospice Volunteers care for palliative clients at home, hospital, residential hospice, Long-Term Care, Retirement or Independent Living facilities, and follow their client along home-hospital-facilities transitions.

Palliative Care Visiting Hospice Volunteers are the core of NNPCN services to the community. As members of the Palliative Healthcare Continuum, there are specific functions and responsibilities expected of the Palliative Care Volunteer.

The Mandate of NNPCN Volunteers has always been and will always be the same. You can find the Mandate of NNPCN Volunteers in our Palliative Care Visiting Hospice Volunteer Job Description.

To fulfill NNPCN Mission and NNPCN Volunteers’ Mandate, NNPCN provides ongoing training and education to Volunteers, also open to our cherished clients and their caregivers.

Along these over 30 years of History, NNPCN gradually grew in depth and breadth of rigorous Volunteer Visiting Hospice Palliative Care and Bereavement Education and Training.

And did you know that NNPCN was one of the pioneers in the History of Palliative Care Education in our Province?

It all started with our Founder Joan Burnett, who was one of the authors of the first HAO Palliative Care Volunteer Training Manual in Ontario.

Many years passed, and a few years ago the current HPCO invited NNPCN to participate in the creation of the current online Palliative Care Volunteer Training offered to all Volunteers of Ontario. Following our tradition, I was one of the authors.

The tradition continues, and NNPCN is actively involved in Training and Education of Palliative Care Volunteers to our Communities here in the North.

NNPCN has never had so much in-depth training to fulfill our Mission as now.

The beginning of it all was our classical 10-week training (total of 30 hours) to new applicants, once a year. We trained around 10 to 12 new volunteers a year.

It was solid good training, and the main Palliative Care principles and training backbone still apply, and are present in our current training.

Along the years, NNPCN grew to train more and more Volunteers with more and more hours of online and face-to-face ongoing education.

NNPCN now offers to you ongoing training, completely free of charge, and with certificate, consisting of:
  • the HPCO Palliative Care online training: 13 Modules, approximately 39 hours – available continuously during the year
  • 8 face-to-face follow-up training sessions/year to reinforce HPCO Modules: approximately 24 hours- offered in the Spring and Fall Season
  • 6 in-services/year during Volunteer Meetings – 6 hours, offered in the Spring and Fall Season – ongoing extension training to all volunteers
  • 8 workshops Seniors Helping Seniors/year – 24 hours, offered in the Spring and Fall Season – ongoing extension training to all volunteers
  • 5 all-day Bereavement Training Levels I, II, III – 35 hours, offered in the early Spring, late Fall Season.

Additionally, NNPCN now offers to you the Adult Day Program, open to Volunteers, clients and their caregivers, to maximize their psychosocial wellbeing and self-care – 12 hours/month, in the Spring and Fall Seasons.

98 hours of initial training, followed by ongoing extension training of 42 additional hours/year to all trained volunteers.

All available to you, completely free of charge and with a certificate of participation!
Thanks to a one-time funding from the NE LHIN two years ago, Bereavement training, printed Manuals for Facilitator and Clients, and respective power-points are now offered in English, French, culturally adapted to First Nations and also big font for visually impaired clients.

The Role and Mandate of Volunteers is rigorously defined as Psychosocial Support to Patient and Caregivers, added by the classical functions of Palliative Care Volunteers.

Here are some of the main roles of our Palliative Care Volunteers:

  • Volunteers provide comfort measures such as some feeding, hydration, repositioning of patient, light hygiene procedures such as nails, wet cloth and hydration cream to skin, hair, helping with changing clothes.
  • Volunteers don’t give medication to patients, handle medical props or feed or hydrate patients with difficulty of swallowing. Only their caregivers and healthcare professionals in charge can do that.

To know more about the Roles and scope of Volunteer Visiting Hospice Palliative Care, please contact NNPCN office at [email protected], 705-497-9239, and also by reading our Volunteer Corner in our website.

Come join us as our Volunteer and enjoy NNPCN exciting training and education opportunities, completely free of charge, and with a certificate of many hours of education waiting for you!


June 21st, 2018

Dear All,
We have been receiving questions from you,  about whether we call the names of sponsors and their deceased loved ones on the microphone during the Butterfly Release.
This is a great question, thank you! Here goes the answer.
When we started the Butterfly Release almost 10 years ago, because we were just a small group of people – around 20 or so in the park – the names of donors and their loved ones were called.
After 10 years, we have around 300-350 donors avery Butterfly Release, honouring over 500 loved ones who passed away. To call over 800 names on the microphone in two hours of event would be a challenge, however there is a second reason why we don’t call the names of donors and their loved ones anymore: privacy.
We have over 200 bereaved clients supported by us every year – 10 times more than in the beginning, and the world has changed a lot. Things became more complex as you know. This taught us new things.
There were bereaved clients during these years who didn’t want to have their names called out in public, or the names of their loved ones, to protect their own privacy, and their intimate moment of healing during the Butterfly Release.
For example, survivors of suicide of a loved one, or mothers still deeply hurt with the loss of a son for drug overdose, drink and driving car crash, or other difficult losses. Or very difficult cases of cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or mental health chronic conditions such as schizophrenia, or severe degenerative diseases.
North Bay is a closely knit community and people know the story of one another from a closer perspective. Most survivors present at the waterfront just want to have a private moment of healing and remembrance without questions, or people pointing at them, and visibly making comments about what happened among themselves.
In respect to our clients, we now have a special page in the Butterfly Release booklet, which every person receives in the event, where they can write their own names as the one who remembers, and also write the name of their loved ones whom they are celebrating.
We feel that the information of our clients, the survivors of the death, and their loved ones, must be kept as confidential in the Butterfly Release as during their grief sessions with us, to protect their emotional wellbeing, privacy and confidentiality.
Our clients have the right to only share as much as they want, when they want, with whom they want – including in the Butterfly Release.
The Butterfly Release is a wonderful moment under the sun by the waterfront, where we all gather together in public for one reason only: love.
We are in public, yes. But safe to privately celebrate our loved ones in our hearts, while feeling the healing power of releasing our butterflies all at the same time.
Wishing you all a wonderful day.

June 20th, 2018


Dear Friend of Near North Palliative Care Network,

Our Butterfly Release 2018 is approaching fast: less than 4 weeks to Saturday, July 14th!

This year, Near North Palliative Care needs your special support more than ever.

In the last 2 years, we have grown 400% in clients served and number of volunteer hours thanks to the generosity of our fabulous Volunteers.

The fact is that we are receiving more and more referrals at every week and it is clear for us that the end-of-life of Baby Boomers, as expected, is now a growing reality.

As you know, Baby Boomers are one-third of the Canadian population.

The numbers of Canadians reaching their end of life here in our region will double in the next 2 years, and we are already seeing that at our Office.

The great challenge for NNPCN, in the next five years, will be to recruit and train at least double the numbers of Volunteers we have currently, to help support members of our communities reaching their end of life, and also bereaved survivors of the death of a loved one.

One-third of our family, friends and loved ones dying in the next 20 years.

This means that each of us will be the caregiver, and grieve at least 4 or 5 loved ones in the near future. No one can do this alone.

This is the stark reality each of us is facing, or will face, personally. It is here to stay, and affects each and all of us.

This requires an extraordinary response and engagement from each of us.

I am coming to you personally today to plead: please help us achieve this!

Every neighbour you talk, every friend and family member counts.

Please spread the word about NNPCN and the Butterfly Release in your circles.

Please raise awareness about what we do whenever possible.

If possible, this year, help us invite at least one bereaved acquaintance, friend or family member of yours to the Butterfly Release.

Tell them what a special moment the Butterfly Release is, when they will have the opportunity of honouring their loved ones and also healing as family or just by themselves.

This makes a world of difference to NNPCN at the present moment.

We need to go deeper in our community, engage members of our community, and make everybody aware of the importance of what we do, so that together we help one another cross these difficult times ahead.

The Butterfly Release is NNPCN special signature Celebration, open to all our community, where everybody can join in memory of their loved ones.

This year, we will have a Recruiting Table at the waterfront.

We will be raising awareness of the great need in our community during the Butterfly Release.

Please help us spread the word, and invite at least one bereaved person from your circle of relations to reserve their butterfly and come to the event.

To help you raise awareness about the Butterfly Release, please find attached our posters for the year.

You can also read about the event on our website:…/

Thank you from my heart for your support. Together, we are stronger. And we will help one another with gentleness, care and mutual support!

Kind Regards,

Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.
Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director

February 18, 2018

Dear All,

Just a reminder of how precious is what you do!
My heart totally melts every time I observe the constant selfless generosity of NNPCN Volunteers. I find it lovely how unassuming and modest most NNPCN Volunteers are. You like to give yourselves anonymously, you feel you should not even mention your Volunteer hours, and you also want to give us your Mileage as a contribution. I’ve learned to love each of you to pieces also because of this unique and adorable personality trait of yours.
Even though, I keep telling each of you how precious – and priceless – your hours and mileage are for NNPCN and the future of palliative care in our community.
Every time a volunteer sends us their Hours and Mileage Form for the month, we register these hours and mileage in our database. This shows in NNPCN statistics, and is reported to our funding body the NE LHIN, in our Quarterly Reports to the Ministry.
Through these numbers, the Ministry can finally see all that is being done for palliative care through NNPCN, the only Visiting Hospice in all Nipissing and East Parry Sound Districts since 1987.
Speaking candidly, Ministry Officers are not psychic – they base funding allocation on the statistics they receive from us. If we don’t tell them the huge amount of Volunteer Visiting Hospice work we are doing here, the Ministry Officers have no other alternative but assuming that we are not doing it – and consequently our community doesn’t need more funding to support more palliative care clients, their caregivers, and those who lost their loved ones.
Ultimately, the hours and mileage of each and every volunteer translate into more funding to palliative care clients in our communities in the future.
When I say “in the future,” I mean years from now. When it comes to government action, we all know it can take years.
The serious part of this story is that a lot of our loved ones will be dying, caregiving and grieving without NNPCN support here in the North during these incoming years. You know that by the deathbed, every minute counts.
For years now, NNPCN  has been working at maximum capacity with the same funding dollars. We could be doing more, if we had more funding.
We all know that most funding goes to the South because most Canadians live there. This is OK, but it is also important to show the Ministry the need to give more palliative care dollars to the North. We are less people here in the North, but we are all caregiving, suffering and dying the same way here.
Pain is pain. There is no such thing as “greater pain, smaller pain, my pain is bigger than yours.” We when we suffer alone, no matter where we are, no matter how many we are, each of us suffer more.
Death is death. Death is the Great Equalizer. We all need support as we age, before and during the dying process, North or South, East and West – and everywhere in this big old round planet of ours.
Our palliative care, their caregivers and bereaved clients are the ultimate beneficiaries of small acts such as sending Hours and Mileage every month. I think it is important to secure dollars for Volunteer Mileage here in the North, due to our huge geography. A lot of aging vulnerable Canadians are dying is small isolated remote communities here in the North, alone, with very little or no support.
With more funding, NNPCN can pay mileage to more volunteers, and more volunteers can go to more places and give more support and consolation to many more caregivers, palliative care, and bereaved clients in our communities. This translates into so much more support, consolation and relief, when people need it the most!
Consider your Hours and Mileage Form an indirect Petition to the government – a long-term advocacy for more palliative care and grief support in our communities! That’s why I keep telling you that what you do is priceless! Never forget you are an Advocate and Ambassador for the cause of Palliative Care here in the North!
With Much Love,

JULY 13, 2016



The momentum created by the Butterfly Release is FABULOUS and we would like to see this fantastic support to the NNPCN going forward, so we created a new online fundraising campaign option – “I SUPPORT MY LOCAL VISITING HOSPICE.”

You can continue to support NNPCN, our LOCAL VISITING HOSPICE! At Canada Helps, there is an option to become our monthly donor too. Please remember NNPCN between your Hydro and telephone bills, and SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL VISITING HOSPICE not only now but all year through!



July 04, 2016 Official Release



What is Palliative Care?

When Medicine has exhausted all known resources, a cure is not possible, and the patient has limited time to live, palliative care is provided so that the patient has quality end of life. Palliative care is an extensive series of measures that enhance physical, psychological and emotional comfort and well-being in end of life: pain control, comfort measures, and psychosocial support are just a few of them.

What is the difference between Hospital Palliative Care, Long-Term Care, Residential Hospice, and Visiting Hospice?

Hospital palliative care is designed to help patients with complex and/or multiple health conditions, who require ongoing complex care, better provided to them in a hospital setting, where doctors and nurses work 24/7 and there are more resources. There are a limited numbers of beds allocated to patients with serious terminal conditions.

Long-term care is designed to help patients who are not terminal, and may still live for many years with complex, chronic and/or multiple health conditions. These patients are not palliative care patients.

Residential Hospice, such as the prospective Nipissing Serenity Hospice, is designed to help palliative care patients who require more medical and nursing assistance than long-term care facilities or private residences can provide. Residential hospices have 24/7 nursing, less medical doctors than a hospital, and a doctor may have to be called in to see their own patient. The client goes to the residential hospice to die, and the average occupation of a hospice bed is 28 days. This means that each residential hospice bed is dedicated to an average of 12 patients/year. A 10-bed hospice will help around 120 patients/year. A 6-bed hospice will help around 72 patients/year.

Visiting Hospice goes where the palliative care client is. The aging process is inevitable and terminal illnesses can happen wherever people live. Aging and illness don’t choose places to happen, they happen everywhere. Care may become more intense anywhere, as people approach their end of life. Most independent living facilities, retirement homes and long-term care facilities must deal with the reality that their residents go into end of life and die in their facilities. This is a fact. At home, services such as visiting community nurses and personal support workers visit to address issues and support family caregivers. 

Visiting Hospice, such as NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN), provide trained volunteers – many of which are retired nurses and health care professionals. These volunteers go wherever the palliative care client is. If the palliative care client is at home, our volunteers go to their home. If the client is suddenly admitted to the hospital, our volunteer will follow their client while they are at the hospital. If the client goes back home, our volunteer follows them back home. This means a familiar presence to the client all through their end of life, and time enough to establish a bond.

Hospital Palliative Care, Long-Term Care, Visiting Hospice and Residential Hospice are complementary services, and essential. These services cover different needs of the community, and the sum of them all guarantees quality care. Each of these essential services must be adequately funded to serve the population.

What is the Relationship between NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) and the prospective Nipissing Serenity Hospice?

It is too early to tell how NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) will be working with Nipissing Serenity Hospice. A residential hospice doesn’t serve clients dying at home. They serve clients dying at their hospice. A visiting hospice can help clients dying at a residential hospice, and also help clients dying at the hospital, homes and other facilities.

NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) has been operating in our region for 28 years. We are in the community with volunteers providing respite, bereavement support, psychosocial support, and caregiver support.

Visiting Hospice and Residential Hospice are two different mandates that require different administrations, operations, staff, training, etc. In many locations, both visiting hospice and residential hospice volunteers and staff are working side by side in the best interest of their common clients, each one in their own mandate. There are many administrative models and alternatives where collaboration among palliative care providers can happen.

NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) Board is in the exploratory phase of discussions with the Nipissing Serenity Hospice prospective board, to study potential alternatives of collaboration. There are key milestones that Nipissing Serenity Hospice will need to achieve before they become an operational reality in hospice palliative care.

Key milestones for the prospective Residential Hospice to happen in North Bay include:

  • The prospective Board of Nipissing Serenity Hospice needs to raise the necessary funds for the building. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care does not provide any funding for capital construction. The last estimate indicated an approximate $6,000,000 cost for the building, landscaping, and contractor fees, etc.
  • Nipissing Serenity Hospice needs to provide evidence that it can sustain this level of revenue generation each year. After construction, operational expenses will be partially provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. At last indication, it is around $105,000 per bed. There is some indication from the Ministry that this may increase. The balance of operational expenses and all initial building costs will have to be raised by our community every year, through: fundraising events, In Memory donations, Pledges/Legacy donations, Third Party fundraising, and Foundation funding applications. The prospective residential hospice needs to raise approximately $600,000 to $700,000 every year to complement their budget. It will cost approximately $1.2 million/year to operate a 6 bed facility.
  • How many beds will the Ministry of Health and Long-term care fund? Although Nipissing Serenity Hospice has started its fundraising campaign, we are still waiting to hear from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care on the number of Hospice beds that will be funded for. The NORTH EAST LOCAL HEALTH INTEGRATION NETWORK (NE LHIN) has indicated that it will only support 6 Hospice beds in our community. The NE LHIN has also committed to developing one-bed hospice suites in Mattawa and West Nipissing.

Is NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) in support of residential hospice?

We need reassurance that Volunteer Visiting Hospice services will continue in the community. NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) wants a sustainable system where funding is distributed where it will have the most impact for our citizens.

It is projected that 2/3 of people who die will have two or more chronic diseases after months and years of what is called “vulnerable frailty”[1]. In order for the system to be sustainable, we need to support these patients in place (in their homes), or have spaces in LTCs, and residential hospice beds. To support caregivers and patients, we need to build a strong Volunteer Visiting Hospice base and empower the community to help themselves through training. The costs are much lower and the outcome much better. We are also anticipating a significant increase in deaths. National figures estimate that there will be 40% more deaths each year by 2020[2]. This is just 4 years from now.

The Hospice Palliative Care Provincial Steering Committee has recommended to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care a population-based capacity planning formula for where these dying patients should be served: 68% in-home, 15% Long-term Care homes + Residential hospices, and 17% hospital palliative Care units.

As the Visiting Hospice of our community, NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) is in the unique position of giving respite and psychosocial support to 100% of our population, wherever the palliative care clients and their caregivers need us: at home, long-term care facility, residential hospice or hospital. Our major concern is the 60% of population dying at home, since they are the ones needing services the most.

We need reassurance that there are funds for services in the community where a vast majority of our citizens will die.  We are in support of more funding and resources for hospital palliative care, long-term care facilities and health care partners, and also the prospective residential hospice in our community, since each of these services is essential to our population.

“The most appropriate and sustainable system includes support for informal caregivers and volunteers (Advancing High Quality, High Value Palliative Care in Ontario, p.8).”

This is the understanding and approach to quality palliative care supported by NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) and the END-OF-LIFE COMMITTEE, where these decisions will be made.

NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) will work with all stakeholders on building a sustainable system, one that supports not only residential beds but a full spectrum of palliative services.

The Future of Palliative Care in our Community

Most people prefer to, and will actually have their end of life at home. If people living with chronic and/or terminal conditions choose to age and die at home, their family and/or caregivers will be looking after them. Health care professionals and other supports such as nurses, PSW’s and trained volunteers will go to them.

Hospitals and residential hospices are settings where end-of-life care for patients suffering from complex and/or multiple conditions happens. Patients who must receive complex health care will be admitted to hospitals and/or will be lucky enough to get one among the limited number of beds in a residential hospice setting.

It is unrealistic to expect that the whole dying population of our region will be admitted to a hospital or residential hospice in the end of life. The greatest part of our community will die at home. For every person who dies, 3 to 5 caregivers and/or close family members are impacted.

NEAR NORTH PALLIATIVE CARE NETWORK (NNPCN) services are in increasing demand. We are ready and willing to respond to the current challenge. We need the support of the community to accomplish the huge task of serving our whole population.

It is not only about providing visiting hospice to palliative care clients. It also involves giving training and psychosocial support to their caregivers.

Another major piece is giving psychosocial support to health care professionals in the community. Caregivers and health care professionals need to be supported, so that they don’t burn out.

Please step forward and support us in any capacity you can: with your time, skills and donations.

Let us gather together as a close-knit community and prepare for the future now. Together, let us build a structured comprehensive support system wherein each member of our community is empowered to respond to the increasing needs of our aging population.

Preparedness and foresight. This is what empowers a community to face their challenges successfully, when it is needed the most.

TO CONTACT US: [email protected] – 705-497-9239.



APPPENDIX. Ontario Population Projections 2011-2036

Source: Ontario Population Projections Update, 2011–2036 – 8 – Ministry of Finance, Spring 2012

Age structure

By 2036, there will be more people in every age group in Ontario compared to 2011 and the aging of Ontario’s population will accelerate. Baby boomers will have swelled the ranks of seniors; children of the baby boom echo generation will be of school-age; and the baby boom echo cohorts, along with a new generation of immigrants, will have bolstered the population aged 15–64.

The median age of Ontario’s population is projected to rise from 40 years in 2011 to 43 years in 2036. Median age for women will climb from 41 to 44 years over the projection period while for men it is projected to increase from 39 to 42 years. The number of seniors aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from 1.9 million, or 14.2 per cent of population in 2011, to 4.2 million, or 23.6 per cent, by 2036. By 2017, for the first time, seniors will account for a larger share of population than children aged 0–14.


By the early 2030s, once all baby boomers have reached age 65, the pace of increase in the number and share of seniors is projected to slow down significantly. The annual growth rate of the senior age group is projected to slow from an average of 3.6 per cent over 2011–31 to less than 1.8 per cent by the end of the projection period. However, this age group will still be growing much faster than the 0–14 and 15–64 age groups. The older age groups will experience the fastest growth among seniors. The number of people aged 75 and over is projected to rise from 887,000 in 2011 to over 2.2 million by 2036. The 90+ group will more than triple in size, from 88,000 to 286,000.

The proportion of women among the oldest seniors is projected to remain higher than that of men but to decline slightly as male life expectancy is projected to increase faster than that of females. In 2011, there were 47 per cent more women than men in the 75+ age group. By 2036, the ratio is projected to have fallen to 21 per cent more women than men of that age.

[1] Canadian Council on Integrated Healthcare, Dying with Dignity in Canada, 2012.

[2] ibid


April 12, 2016

What is at stake with all the attention that End-of-Life care is receiving?

André Cotterall.

Adequate care and pain and symptom relief, and bereavement support for our loved ones is at stake. As hospitals receive less funding we as citizens need to advocate for adequate funding for community health services, the community social support sector, the volunteer sector, and for residential hospice beds. The burden of care is now in our communities. The need and burden of care is increasing exponential each year.

 In the “Dying with Dignity Report” it is projected that 2/3 of people who die will have two or more chronic diseases after months and years of what is called “vulnerable frailty”. In order for the system to be sustainable we need to support these patients in place (in their homes) or have spaces in LTCs, and residential hospices. The costs are much lower and the outcome much better.

Nipissing District is estimated to have a population of 87,392 (2012). 1% are expected to die within the year. Which amounts to 874 deaths/year. Source: MOHLTC, Population estimates by census subdivision based on 2011 census data. National figures estimate from the “Dying with Dignity Report” estimate that 40% more death each year by 2020. Source: Canadian Council on Integrated Healthcare, Dying with Dignity in Canada, 2012. The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association estimates that each death in Canada affects the immediate well being of an average of five other people. Source: CHPCA Factsheet 2012. The need is great!

The Hospice Palliative Care Provincial Steering Committee has recommended to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care a population based capacity planning formula for where these dying patients should be served: 60% in-home, 15% Long-term Care homes/Residential hospices, and 25% hospital palliative Care units. In reality a higher number of people are dying in hospitals then LTCs and Residential Hospice beds. Which means a higher cost to the taxpayer. Source: Residential Hospice Working Group of the Hospice Palliative Care Provincial Steering Committee, Strengthening Ontario’s End-of-Life Continuum: Advice Regarding the Role of Residential Hospices, 2015

“The most appropriate and sustainable system includes support for    informal caregivers and volunteers (Advancing High Quality, High Value Palliative Care in Ontario, p.8).”

December 18, 2015

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

I would like to take this time to thank all our volunteers at Near North Palliative Care Network for their generosity, effort, and kindness of spirit.

We have entered into the season of kindness, generosity, and an end to another year. A time of reflection and an opportunity to appreciate the blessings we have in our life. It is a time we offer gifts and share moments with family and friends. It can also be a moment of fear, loneliness, and uncertainty for those experiencing the end of life journey. Volunteers provide our clients with the greatest gift possible, – HOPE. Offering the gift of Hope in the shadow of death and dying. A willingness to offer deep authentic presence to a person in need. Sitting with a person in their pain and darkness because it is a pain and darkness that we all share as humans.

There are so many ways that our volunteers have served
• Board of director
• Attending Bingo Sessions
• Leading our Bingo
• Working on projects at the office
• Providing leadership in our satellite offices in Sturgeon Fall’s and Mattawa
• Training our volunteers
• Working with bereaved clients
• Mentoring new volunteers
• Attending to palliative clients and their caregivers and families
• Offering their talents as musicians, and artists

The Near North Palliative Care Network is a place of volunteers who have a deep concern and desire to serve those at end of life. The support the community receives would not exist without volunteers.

I would like to wish all of you a blessed holiday and start to the new year. I look forward to continuing to serve with all of you in the new year.

September 30, 2015

The Near North Palliative Care Network is entering into some exciting times ahead as we begin the Fall Season. We are making a move to the St. Joseph Motherhouse in November. The new facility will offer us many new opportunities to serve our community better. We will have increased parking, and a serene and calm environment. Not to mention the beautiful grounds to inspire us! It will certainly spark our imagination on what we can offer to our clients.

Volunteer Training has gone into full operation so make sure you have a look at our calendar of events. If you would like to volunteer give us a call or send in an application.

We would like to thank all of you who made our Butterfly Release a success this year with a total of $7,800 in revenue. We have also been fortunate to have received a donation of $5,000 from the Employment Family Assistance Plan, and $1,977 from the North Bay Area Museum Society Heritage Railway & Carousel. As we like to say we are client focused, volunteer driven, and community supported. We cannot sustain the important work that our volunteers do without the support of our community. THANK YOU!

We are also in the midst of preparing for our AGM and Volunteer Recognition Dinner in Sturgeon Falls on October 22nd. It is a time for us to reflect on all of the amazing work of our volunteers. As a sneak peek, I can tell you that last year our volunteers logged a total of 10,703 hours and over 35,000 km! Stay tune for the Annual Report after our AGM.

April 13, 2014



Dear All,

The week of April 12 to 18 is Volunteer Appreciation Week. We are writing to you to thank you for the invaluable contribution you make to the well-being of society in our region.
You have been devoting part of your life to the vulnerable sector, being there for people when they need the most: your presence in the lives of Palliative Care and Bereavement clients makes a huge impact in their lives.
We constantly listen to their praises to you, and the gratitude they feel for you. The most common sentence is, “I cannot thank you enough, you made all the difference.”
So today we are here to relay the message of your grateful clients, and to join our voices to theirs:
“We cannot thank you enough: you make all the difference!”
André Cotterall
Executive Director
Near North Palliative Care Network

February 10, 2015

ATTENTION NNPCN VOLUNTEERS AND FRIENDS! Official Statement from the HPCO about physician-assisted death.

The Near North Palliative Care Network operates under the same policies and procedures of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario.

Our position in relation to physician-assisted death is the same as the position of the HPCO: before talking about physician-assisted death, let us talk first about high-quality palliative care services in Ontario.

Patients with a terminal disease in Ontario have the right of receiving all the support they need to enjoy good quality of life until the last moment of their natural lives.

Please read the Special Notice below to understand the position of the HPCO and the NNPCN.

Kind Regards,

André Cotterall, Executive Director

Special Notice from Hospice Palliative Care Ontario

Friday, February 6, 2015

Special Notice from Hospice Palliative Care Ontario – February 6, 2015 PART 1

Special Notice from Hospice Palliative Care Ontario – February 6, 2015 PART 2

Special Notice from Hospice Palliative Care Ontario – February 6, 2015 PART 3

April 3, 2014

Elliot Lake Bereavement Training Update

Monica Do Coutto Monni (NNPCN Bereavement Lead) and I have returned from conducting a three day Intensive Course in Elliot Lake with Elliot Lake Palliative Care Program. The training is designed for external agencies willing to initiate a Bereavement Program in their community, or to streamline an already existing Bereavement Program. The training consisted of sixteen (16) hours of training in two (2) consecutive days, eight (8) hours of training per day. We had a total of 12 students in the course. On the third day Monica Do Coutto Monni delivered a moving community presentation on grief and bereavement, and the psychology of loss.

It was energizing and exhausting all in one. We learned a lot from our students and Sylvie Ferland the Executive Director of Elliot Lake Palliative Care Program. We also developed strong connections and bonds that will last a lifetime. The course continues with 12 months of 2 hour video conferencing meeting with the newly “minted” facilitators.

Here is some of the feedback we received:

“I appreciated the follow through, the organization, the invitation to participate. Also the knowledge of Monica and André, their sharing of personal experience. The process of 8 sessions…from pain to hope, beautifully done. You were right Monica…overwhelmed to flowing easily.”

“Very impressive work. I enjoyed the process. Not only did I learn a lot, I grew in this experience. Very well done, presentation timeliness.”

“Thank you for such a wonderful, informative course. Most of all, thank you for being so kind, patient, and considerate of my questions, and private grief remembrances!”

“Wonderful expertise, presented in easy-to-understand way. Written materials excellent and clearly laid out. Welcoming, safe atmosphere to practice and ask questions. Opportunities to take role as facilitator.”

March 7, 2014

Survey Results – New Course Registration Fee

I have some results to share with you from the survey we asked you to compete on my February 24th Blog on charging a refundable registration fee for our NNPCN courses. I thank everyone that took the time to respond. Your results will be shared with the board.

A total of 19 volunteers responded to the survey. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of these respondents were in complete support of the new initiative, 21% had some reservations or concerns with introducing a registration fee, and 10% of the respondents were completely against the idea.

The comments in support of the initiative included (68%):

• Increases commitment
• Encourages graduates to become involved sooner
• Discourages individuals from taking the course for personal reasons

The comments in support of the initiative but with reservations included (21%):

• Concerns that some applicants may not be able to afford the registration fee
• The registration fee is too high
• It may “turn people away”
• “Room for special cases” that need to be refunded because the volunteer cannot
commit for good reasons or the volunteer is not offered the necessary hours
• We need to examine all the reasons why volunteers are not staying with NNPCN
• We need to ensure that we evaluate the new registration fee
• We need to specify how the registration money is being used

The comments not in support of the initiative included (11%):

• Sends out a message that NNPCN is having issues retaining volunteers and needs to
rely on initiatives to “imprison” volunteers.
• Sends out a message that volunteers are perceived by the organization as a
liability and not an asset

The results indicate that there is strong support for charging a refundable registration fee. With this support there are some key areas that need to be implemented alongside the increased registration fee.

I will be putting forward the following recommendations at our next board meeting:

1. We communicate clearly the reasons for the registration fee. How it fits within
the larger volunteer engagement strategy (I.e. Creation of new team hubs).
2. We develop a yearly volunteer satisfaction survey. That we examine closely
volunteer retention issues (I.e. support, education, communication, timely
involvement of new graduates, etc.).
3. We implement a process for applicants to request a waiver of the registration fee or
a refund of the registration fee if they have a legitimate reason they cannot
complete the hours.
4. We refund the applicants registration fee if we cannot provide them with the
volunteer hours they need for a refund.
5. We evaluate the new initiative in terms of accessibility, cost, and effectiveness.

February 24, 2014

New Course Registration Fee

The Near North Palliative Care Network (NNPCN) Board of Directors reviewed the costs involved in our Palliative Care training, and volunteer retention, following training. After careful consideration, based on our examination, the Board has made a decision to begin charging a registration fee of $100 for all internal palliative and bereavement courses. These fees will help offset the costs involved in training and ensure that our programs are sustainable. Once our volunteers have successfully completed the course and have provided a minimum of 36 hours, within a 12 month period, the $100 registration fee will be reimbursed in full.

Utilizing the standards set by Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO), the Palliative Care course offered by NNPCN is a 30 hour course over 10 weeks. The design of the course is interactive, involves community partners and small class sizes. Volunteers that succeed and are ready to start volunteering receive a minimum of three visits with a mentor, followed by an evaluation of readiness by the mentor. We currently also offer a Train-the-trainer Bereavement Facilitator course.

NNPCN is looking to create other educational opportunities in end-of-life issues for our volunteers. In the near future we will be offering 4 Levels of Bereavement and Grief Training Courses, and on Advance Care Planning.

NNPCN will continue to invest in our volunteers. This investment also includes our new Volunteer Engagement strategy ( We recognize the onus is on the leadership of NNPCN to ensure that we provide an attractive environment where volunteers will want to give their time and commitment. For newly trained volunteers they need to receive ongoing mentoring, efficient transition into active service, and an introduction into a mutually supportive community of volunteers. For existing volunteers they need to receive ongoing educational support and opportunities to utilize their talents and interests.

The Board is very interested in your feedback. Please complete a 2 minute survey at the following link. We look forward to your comments. **The survey is now closed**

Click here to take survey

February 14, 2014

News in Bereavement!

In the last 6 months a lot of work has gone into making improvements so that we can serve our clients better.  We have re-examined our referral and assessment processes, committees, recruitment and training criteria. We have been gradually establishing dialogue and better integration with external referring agencies to ensure that our clients receive the appropriate interventions they need.

Our client screening process is now more detailed, albeit direct and simple. We provide individual and group peer-to-peer facilitated support. Our volunteers are trained in an eight-session facilitated process. Our training manuals receive ongoing review to include useful and updated information that can better support Facilitators and clients in session.

Our volunteers simply witness to and advocate for the client’s own healing process.  We are not in the business of providing any counselling or clinical support. Our client screening process allows us to determine if our support programs are a “good fit” for the client. It also ensures that volunteers only receive clients that fit the purpose that the volunteers were trained for.  If in the assessment process a client is deemed not to be a “good fit” we work hard to find them the appropriate referral to meet their needs.

We have been connecting with amazing partners, such as the Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the Nipissing Network.  Our interconnection and collaboration with other service providers is a positive and great addition to our strength.

We are also finalizing adjustments to our telephone support program in a new, more direct and simpler version that makes a perfect bridge between our Hospice and Bereavement Services. The Mattawa and West Nipissing teams have already made adjustments to the program. Stay tuned for news regarding this.

As of today, a total of 27 clients are on our caseload.  Of the 27 clients 15 have received an assessment and are receiving support, 6 clients are on the waitlist for our next group, and 6 are waiting for individual support.

Here’s a few upcoming events and good news around our Bereavement and Grief Services:

1) We will be offering a bereavement training course this spring

Monica Do Coutto Monni and Lana Richardson will be conducting the training. As of today, we have 23 applicants that want to take the course. Interviews for applicants will start in March. We are charging a $100 registration fee for the course. The registration fee will be reimbursed to the new Bereavement Support Facilitators when they have provided a minimum number of hours in return.  We will be offering assistance to those volunteers that cannot afford the fee.  I will be making an announcement regarding registration fees in the next few weeks. Stay tuned as I will be looking for your feedback on this.

This training course applies to:

a) the open public, professionals and organizations;
b) those interested in learning more about Bereavement and Grief;
c) those interested in supporting someone in their family or circle of friends going through grief;
d) those interested in finding answers and support to their own grief;
e) those interested in becoming new volunteers in diverse areas of the NNPCN;
f) those interested in becoming new NNPCN Bereavement Support volunteer Facilitators.

All applicants will be asked which of the above options better describe their interests around the NNPCN Bereavement Training Course during the Applicant’s individual pre-interview. The Applicant’s individual pre-interview is a mandatory pre-requisite to participate in the Bereavement Training Course. Candidates who miss their individual pre-interview can remain as Applicants to our training: they can opt to be included in the Bereavement Training wait list for the next time the training is offered.

2) We have a few open positions for Bereavement Support Facilitator

All trainees who successfully complete the training will receive a Certificate but not all trainees automatically become Bereavement Support Facilitators. Our current open positions for Bereavement Support Facilitator will be filled by newly certified trainees who meet pre-requisites for the position, which include, among other selection criteria, but not only:

a) available time for subsequent training; and
b) a minimum of volunteer time to give to clients.

The job description for this position will be soon published on our Volunteer Opportunities page.

Please notice that this is a selective process: not all successfully certified trainees who complete the training sessions will be called for an Interview to become new Bereavement Support Facilitators.

Upon completion of training, all newly certified trainees who have not opted or been selected for the Bereavement Facilitator volunteer open positions,  and who desire to volunteer for the NNPCN, will be contacted and invited to an individual interview, to explore diverse volunteer opportunities in the NNPCN that might be a great fit to the invaluable skills they bring in.

All newly trained volunteers will be integrated to our new Volunteer Engagement initiative.

3) We will be soon announcing Bereavement Group Sessions in the spring. Stay tuned!

4) Sylvie Ferland, Executive Director of Elliot Lake Palliative Care Program, has awarded the NNPCN with a contract to conduct a Bereavement training course in Elliot Lake.

This will be a three-day visit.Two-day training for the volunteers, followed by a ½-day consultation and administrative set-up, and a community presentation. This will result in over $6,000 in revenue back into our bereavement programs.

To sum up:

We have taken the last 6 months to focus on building strong bereavement programs. I will continue to provide more updates as I receive them. I anticipate that we can look forward to a growing program that offers solid technical and know-how background to support well-trained volunteers, and strong partnerships with our community service providers.

As we continue to develop our Volunteer Engagement strategy (, I look forward to further positive changes in how we organize and deliver our bereavement programs. You can look forward to new opportunities and areas to provide a positive contribution.


February 13, 2014

Barbara Gendron Retiring after 14 years of service!

Rose Ransom and the Sturgeon Falls team would like to announce that Barbara Gendron is retiring after 14 years of dedicated service to NNPCN.  We wish her well in all of her future endeavors.  She will still remain part of the family and has intentions of staying in touch with us.   At her last team meeting it was a pleasure to hear of all her adventures working in respite in West Nipissing.  Barbara your services, and contribution will be missed.

Left to Right: Barbara Gendron, André Cotterall, Rose Ransom

Left to Right: Barbara Gendron, André Cotterall, Rose Ransom


January 21st, 2014

We have some fantastic new partnerships with Nipissing University and Canadore College to announce!

Canadore College

Monica Do Coutto Monni has accepted the position of Preceptor for the PL260 Palliative Care Field Placement. This will afford us the opportunity to connect with students from Canadore and have more connections with end-of-life services in our region.  The Preceptor’s role is to support, mentor and evaluate students doing their Palliative Care Field Placement through Canadore College, in an end-of-life service in our region.

Nipissing University

Dr. Susan Srigley, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Science – Chair, Religions & Cultures, one of us at NNPCN, has developed a new course “RLCT 2066 Death, Dying, and Spirituality” that she is teaching this semester.  Susan has worked closely with us to develop some opportunities for student placements.  As a result, we have developed a partnership with Mair Greenfield, Community Service Learning Officer in the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, through the Biidaaban Community Service-Learning Community Placement Program.  This semester we will be taking on four students to tackle projects that we would like to complete at NNPCN. They include:

  • Outreach Work
  • Administrative Processes and Procedures
  • Palliative Resource Development
  • Volunteer Engagement Strategy
  • Governance Orientation Package
  • Music program
  • Practice Review for Volunteer Home Visits

Click HERE to know more about our Project Areas for Students!

This is a start of a good partnership that will only grow at each successive semester. The projects will be accomplished and new ones will grow and we will have greater connections with students who are beginning their careers in our region.

We are in year two of a partnership with Susan Robinson, Nurse Practitioner CCAC, and Clinical Instructor at Nipissing University.  Last Year we had three 3rd year nursing students involved in the Needs of the Dying campaign (click HERE to go to link):

  • Jessica Delorme – 3rd year BScN Nursing Student, Nipissing University
  • Heather Brunet – 3rd year BScN Nursing Student, Nipissing University
  • Cindy L’Ami – 3rd year BScN Nursing Student, Nipissing University

This year we have two new students from the 3rd year nursing BScN. Last year the nursing students developed all of the online content. This year the new students will be formatting the online content and we hope to launch the campaign in April at the North Bay Mall on Lakeshore Drive.

Stay tuned this spring!

André Cotterall, NNPCN E.D.


January 10th, 2014, 10 AM

I am very excited to announce that we have begun the very first steps of implementing our Strategic Growth Framework 2013-2018 (click on link)!! Our highest priorities are to increase our capacity, to enable you as volunteers to be at your very best, to enjoy what you do, and feel supported.

It is an extremely difficult and challenging task for me and my staff to ensure that all levels of communication, reporting, education, support, and training needs are met. Early in 2012, we began a consultation process with volunteers through a series of focus groups. This continued with telephone calls from Stella Pelkey to reengage the North Bay volunteers in participating in team meetings.

Recently, Carla Goldsmith our volunteer engagement lead on the board developed a series of questions and conducted a telephone survey with our volunteers. A lot of hard work but it has been worth it! We have received feedback that guides this next step we are about to take!

The results of this survey (2013 Questionnaire Summary) have been extremely encouraging in that we acknowledge we have some work to do but that we have a solid organization and culture to work from. We also believe in each other and feel that we have a unique group of compassionate, loving, and dedicated volunteers. I would echo that statement!

These next steps will finally respond to what you have been asking for. More communication! More support! More professional development opportunities! More options in how you can volunteer at NNPCN!

We have now posted a new job description for several open opportunities for you to become our Volunteer Team Lead. Please take a look at the Volunteer Opportunities section or our website for more details. I am so happy that I can finally begin to communicate these changes to you.

Take Care, and Thank YOU!

André Cotterall, NNPCN E.D.

January 10th, 2014, 4 PM

Near North Palliative Care Network (NNPCN) has played a vital role in end-of-life care in the Nipissing and Parry Sound Districts for the last 25 years. Joan Burnett, our founder, was living in Powassan when a very close friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer. The family was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to turn for support and information. She quickly realized that there was a gap in support for the terminally ill. Since our first days we have been committed to attracting good volunteers who have a love for people. Our volunteers play as special role in helping individuals and their families through the dying process. We provide information, companionship, deep listening, and healing in the face of a terminal illness. We also provide grief and bereavement support.

Population projections and recent commitments from our provincial government require us to rethink how we provide our services in order that we continue to be of value and meet the demands of our communities. To just leverage with the actual present needs we need to grow 16 to 17 fold in capacity. In order to continue serving our communities in the next two decades we will need to grow at least 41 to 42 fold. Our provincial government, in the recent budget announcement, has committed to strengthening and improving end-of-life care. The provincial government realizes that what is key to meeting the demand is providing access to care in the individual’s place of their own choosing. That we need to reduce the number of re-admissions to emergency departments, within the last 3 months of life, and find alternatives to long-term care homes given the long waiting times. Research and evaluation results also demonstrate that the cost of dying in hospital is much higher than receiving hospice care at home or in a home-like experience of a hospice residence.

As an agency, we have worked hard in the last year at developing a comprehensive strategic growth plan so that we can be ready to meet the needs of our populations. The Individual with a life-limiting illness, family and caregivers are at the centre of what we do as an agency.

· We are working hard to focus on strategies that ensure that our volunteers are engaged, committed, and equipped for their work.
· We are working hard to grow with our culture of mutual support, trust, encouragement, and compassion
· We are working hard to put in place good governance structures, policies, and procedures
· We are working hard to evaluate the work we do so that we can always improve.

This is not happening because of one individual but rather because of the collective commitment and passion of all of us. I know that members of NNPCN believe in what they are doing and want the best possible outcomes for our communities. I look forward to the work ahead of us and celebrating our successes as we move forward.

Please check on the blog periodically. I will be submitting our annual report and a summary of last year’s successes! Such as, 50% increase in our fundraising and donations, increase in grants, new social media and website, 3 new board members, bereavement contract with Elliot Lake, successful bereavement groups, etc! Lots to celebrate and look forward to in the new year. Stay tuned for more good news!

Take Care, and Thank You!

André Cotterall, NNPCN E.D.


September, 25th, 2013

Reflections on the Loss of Dr. Donald Low and Dr. Larry Librach

Dear All,

The loss of Dr. Low after the recent loss of Dr. Larry Librach, both renowned physicians in their respective fields, is an enormous loss to the health care profession and to all Canadians.

Our sympathy and support is with their family and friends.

Dr. Low’s posthumous video should sharpen the focus on accessible and quality end of life care, which despite the efforts of former Senator Sharon Carstairs and notable others remains an avoidance topic for most Canadians.

At the NNPCN, we provide palliative and bereavement services work within the framework of the law, and will continue to do so.

Our conversation with our clients is about ensuring their wishes are respected; their pain and symptoms are managed effectively; and that they and their loved ones have emotional and spiritual support as needed.

The vital service of palliative care teams, in which volunteers play a significant role, deserves equal consideration in any conversation about choices made at end of life.

Take Care,

André Cotterall, NNPCN E.D.


July 17th, 2013

Message to Friends and Community

It is very clear that we have a pool of dedicated and talented volunteers that believe in what they are doing. I have been at work at NNPCN for a year and I still have much to learn from all of you.  Our strength as a visiting hospice comes from our collective experiences, knowledge, accomplishments, diversity of backgrounds, and a culture of compassion and empathy for individuals with a terminal illness.  This compassion and empathy extends to the families and caregivers of those with a terminal illness.  I understand that at our core we value human dignity, compassion, and the provision of comfort and quality of life for those we serve.

We are entering into a period of significant change in how hospice palliative care is provided within our region.  I am currently representing our region and interests as a visiting program on the leadership team that will be making decisions on how to implement the new “shared care team” model.  I am encouraged by the attention that hospice palliative care is receiving and believe that this will provide a tangible and real opportunity for volunteers and the visiting hospice movement to have more prominence and influence on how hospice palliative care is delivered in our region.

I will be communicating more in the future – stay tuned!

André Cotterall, E.D.

Connect with us

Main Office:
St. Joseph Motherhouse
2025 Main Street West
North Bay, ON  P1B 2X6
Phone: (705) 497-9239
Fax: (705) 497-1039
08:30-16:30 Monday-Friday
(closed for lunch between 12:00-13:00)

Mattawa Office:
(705) 744-3771 Fax: (705) 744-2787
West Nipissing Office:
(705) 753-5771  |  Fax: (705) 753-6130