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

A TOUCH OF CLASS: Changing the Culture of Healthcare

Check out my latest article on LinkedIn:

This is an exercise of good taste, humility and grounding in reality, part of what I would like to contribute to the culture of end-of-life, hospice, and palliative healthcare. How to acquire a fresh-aired, open-window, broader-horizon vision of how much more is out there.

Healthcare agents should be encouraged to attend current online international congresses, among thousands of other venues where the 22nd century is already happening. These are privileged opportunities to realize the scale of our personal contribution at the local level of healthcare, compared to hundreds of thousands of other specialized and interdisciplinary R&D hubs, in all fields of science and tech, around the world.

Just check the names and credentials of any current scientific committee, or the list of authors of any current published scientific paper, and you will get a good page of names, followed by impressive academic titles, printed in tiny font sizes.

To advance science and tech in any field, since the 80’s (that’s 40 years ago), and due to the huge amount of knowledge our species gathered in the last half-century, we have witnessed the explosion of huge teams of researchers and highly specialized technicians – hundreds of highly educated professionals in each team. Most of them are just cited as “et al” (and others), after the names of the main authors and team leads of new cutting-edge research.

When you walk by these anonymous agents of the future, along the hallways of higher education institutions, laboratories, and research facilities, you would never imagine that you have just got a glimpse of a science or technology Award. They are in general so unassuming and informal. And that is beautiful to see.

As a small operational manager of a small Visiting Hospice in a remote rural area of Northeastern Ontario, Canada, I like to share with my staff that “there is no more single star in the sky in the real world out there.” 

Single stars in the sky happened in science and technology during the Enlightenment and the Victorian Age (roughly 300 to 200 years ago), when we humans experienced an adolescent infatuation with the power and initial achievements of our intellect.

Late blooms of the era of superstars of course happened in the Hollywood Golden Era in the last century, with idols such as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and Laurence Olivier – and their names are already fading in the popular memory.

We are now in the era of “your 2 minutes of celebrity in social media.” A very iffy laurel, when you think about the achievements done by our modern teams of anonymous techno-scientific researchers.

Any ideas of self-importance in a world like ours are downright self-embarrassing.

That is why I grow weary from the mindset of silos, turf wars and empire building among end-of-life and hospice palliative frontline healthcare. This is so yesterday.

It is an act of sheer determination to live through meetings with a smile, while being graced with displays of expertise and self-importance, or plans to take over the world tonight; as local frontline healthcare staff; in one small table or group of small healthcare agencies in Northern Ontario; among thousands of others far bigger, Toronto-centric, healthcare agencies in the province, and beyond, who have no idea what we are talking about, when we quote our small agencies north of Barrie which, according to southern Ontarians, is the last well-known outpost and landmark, before braving the Great White North.

I will not even evoke the scale of thousands of international end-of-life and hospice palliative care agencies at global level.

I wish I could contribute a little to culture change within the end-of-life care continuum. The Ontario Ministry of Health has been trying professional system and culture change management for the last 17 years or so. In the last 10 years or so, I have witnessed the Ministry doing their best efforts to improve the system, in at least 3 different occasions.

I see slow progress, but still resistance from voices of the past, in the form of employees who do not even blush at their love for workplace politics and personal agendas.

Silos, turf wars and empire building are nothing but magical thinking. Quite a disconnect from reality. There is no empire to build here. This is no place for conquistadors.

This place is called “deathbed.”

This is also public money, from each of us taxpayers, who donate 15% of our labour in taxes at every transaction, in the hope of having kind healthcare as we age, lose our strength, and lie down to die.

Of course we are still underfunded, understaffed and overworked in healthcare. It is undeniable that we must advocate, loud and clear, for more support to our industry, and that there is priceless valour, and value, in what we do.

However, how do we reconcile the high value, and pressing need for more and better end-of-life and hospice palliative care, with a culture of collaboration, humility and service, in these quite disordered times we live in?

How to achieve the clarity that we are employees at the service of dying people?

The glaring obviousness is, the organization that pays our salary received this funding from the Ministry, and the Ministry received this money from the taxpayers, with the single goal of alleviating the pain, the fear, and discomfort of the dying, as they breathe their last.

Quite a low point, in anyone’s career, to not even blink twice at the thought of using the fruit of taxpayers’ sweat, allocated to help the frail, the ageing and the dying, to some self-serving goal.

If only each of us healthcare employees heartily embraced a culture of compassion, of dignified grounding to reality, and never condoned personal marketing or personal politics, among peers at the workplace. If only we saw these as they really are: objectionable, and a socially unnaceptable practice.

There is great difference, between strong advocacy for more and better supports to end-of-life and hospice palliative care services providers, and to the dying client, and internal competition for scarce resources among agencies, leading to mutually destructive, unhealthy interpersonal, intra-agency dynamics that drain resources away from frontline staff, and ultimately from the dying client.

We, the employees of the people in end-of-life care, are paid by the taxpayers to serve the vulnerable, the ageing, the dying, the caregiver, and the bereaved. To serve them not only with our formal education, but also with our humanity, humility, and compassion.

I think one moral, logical and sensible choice, and also a choice of good taste in the practice of end-of-life and hospice palliative healthcare, as it is now, is to understand that we are still begging for the resources we lack. And if begging, then beggars are we. It is high time to cover ourselves correspondingly, in the beggars’ dress of humility, that only honours us.

I repeat, end of life and hospice palliative care still needs a huge injection of money and resources, which is a nice way to say that we are still poor – no royalty, no king, no queen.

Time to get down from our high horses, from our high-heeled shoes, to bend down to our bedridden client, and meet this beautiful human being at their eye level, smile at them, and truly hold their hand whenever we can.

Time to remember who you were from the start, your idealism, when as a young person you decided to go to a nursing or medical school, because you always had a kind heart, and you wanted to help others. Does this real you fit workplace politics, the bitterness and cynicism that gradually ate on you…? Can you even feel happy, or proud of yourself, among so much mutual distrust, suspicions, gossip and trash-talking, with so many mutual nasty behaviours and little sly schemes among colleagues…?

We should remember who we are, who we have ever been, our internal treasure. If we still cope with scarce resources in our industry, it is not logical to also lose our last shred of personal dignity by becoming – besides poor – also bitter and mean.

The difference each one of us can make, at the scale of frontline staff exercising our humble daily jobs, happens when we help our colleagues with no hidden agenda, because we know that what they do, day in and day out, is hard enough – and their burden is as heavy as ours. To give from the little you have, this is beautiful.

The difference each one of us can make is to serve one client at a time. Doesn’t seem much, but to that one vulnerable client experiencing the challenges of ageing and end of life, we anonymous frontline healthcare providers make a world of difference. And this for me is beautiful and worthy enough.

As the saying goes, humility is the crown of all virtues. End-of-life care, provided with love, compassion and humility, is the new noble. An absolute, extreme act of heroism, that deserves respect and gratitude.

A concious and well-informed decision in favour of anonymous self-giving comes gilded with a touch of class.


Check out my latest article on LinkedIn:

When humans first surrounded their small settlements with sticks, stones, and foliage, in the hope of keeping predators out, they inadvertently created what we call “the separation between the state of nature and the state of civilization.” As Aristotle would put it, the separation between nature and the “polis” (city). One reality out there in the wild, another reality, the human reality, in here, within our walls.

However, we could not escape the fact that we are part of Mother Nature’s the food chain. Eaten by the bigger and stronger, eating the smaller and weaker. Most life forms are such, predator and prey at the same time. So what happened with “the state of civilization” created by humans within the walls of their hamlets, is that we brought to the polis our own human “state of nature,” i.e. we introjected the predator-prey state of nature in our human state of civilization.

As cities developed, “foris muris civitatis” became a metaphor for being “outside the state of civilization.” A feared punishment to those within the walls – to be outside the city walls, to be foris muris civitatis. That was the harbinger of a short, brutal, unprotected life, exiled to the “human state of nature.”

From the beginnings of the “human state of civilization,” as we learned how to farm and breed animals, we concomitantly developed a new human food chain, by predating over our weaker fellowmen.

We followed our chieftains and feared their hunters and killers. We acclaimed kings, generals, hailed their victorious armies, and asked for their protection. We enslaved those we had subdued, so that they worked for us, to buid our temples, palaces, and monuments within city walls.

We sent them to labour on the fields outside the city walls – foris muris civitatis – and to die in our mines and in our wars. And we imposed our laws on them.

All of a sudden, there were many layers of fellow humans in our perception: those with citizen status and privileges, such as rulers, armies, full citizens (voting males), second class citizens (their women and children), their domestic slaves – and “those out there,” foris muris civitatis.

“Those out there” were also treated as many layers of increasingly less, or no rights whatsoever.

Artisans and tradesmen built their little huts against the outer walls of the city, in the hope of being partially protected by the warlord “inside the state of civilization,” and thus become indirect part of the “civilized” world, with partial access to the privileges and comforts of the city. They were the first to be crushed against the outer walls, and serve as a buffer of protection to those inside the walls, when enemies got closer.

Those a little further, working on the fields of the lord, gradually became useful serfs, and operated as “working farm animals,” to supply the city with the fruit of their physical labour and sweat. And of course, their huts were the first to be burnt, in case of an invasion.

If you fast-forward this general gist to our current “state of civilization,” it will be easy to understand that we transformed “foris muris civitatis” into invisible walls of social-economic classes, systemic discrimination, and inequality.

One very recent state of “foris muris civitatis” is the growing chasm between the knows and know-nots, think and think-nots, massively associated with the state of haves and have-nots.

Those who detain scientific and technological knowledge, and master know-how, are gradually speciating culturally from those without access to knowledge and technology. To a point that their respective thought processes, and language, are becoming gradually estranged. The chasm is increasing, and this is deeply concerning.

Know-nots and think-nots are now foris muris civitatis of the technological society and its job market. As such, they are exposed to the dangers of an unprotected life, exiled to the “human state of nature.”

In our modern urban centres, this is translated into “no access” to the huge skycrapers, wealthy suburbs, and industrial facilities, among others. One often has the shocking view of the homeless, exiled foris muris civitatis, sleeping on the sidewalk, against the gates of these magnificent buildings.

Locals in smaller communities, a little further from our megacities, scientific and technological hubs, may still sustain a simpler, often self-contented, “state of civilization” of past eras. These citizens often have an anachronistic sense of fiefdom, of protection and aristocratic privilege, over the poorest among the poor, their neighbours.

However, the shocking truth is that, unfortunately, this is living in blissful oblivion.

Without access to knowledge and know-how, independent of where we live, independent of the critter comforts we may still possess, the chasm is growing, and most of us are actually know-nots and think-nots, foris muris civitatis.

A lot of contented citizens are actually living against the invisible walls between the current “state of civilization” and the “human state of nature.” Still part of a brutal human food chain.

As I silently observe this all with a broken heart, I often question myself whether this is really “civilization” or if our species still lives in some brutal state of nature, in a remote pre-civilization stage.


North Bay, August 11th, 2021

Dear  NNPCN Volunteer,

I thank you personally for your decisive collaboration during these almost two years of unprecedented pandemic.

Thanks to your prudence and vigilance, NNPCN did not lose one volunteer or client to COVID. Hats off to you!

As the Province moves forward with the gradual reopening, as you know, we may face situations we had not seen before.

People are unpredictable and the COVID virus is far from being completely controlled worldwide.

You, NNPCN Volunteer, are our main line of defence!

At any sign of risk to you or your client’s health and safety, please do not hesitate to communicate with your Satellite Team Lead, the Office Team, and myself.

As the borders are gradually open to international travellers,  I ask Satellite Team Leads, the Office Team and each Volunteer, to be mindful of, and pose this question from now on: have you recently traveled, and date of return.

Lots of people are returning by car from the USA. Please observe the minimum of 14 days from return for in-person pair ups.

Palliative Care Visits

As said, we will slowly start palliative care in-person pair ups in the satellite teams and North Bay, with 100% safety: fully vaccinated volunteer with fully vaccinated client.

Client and facilitator observe social distancing and use of surgical masks.

NNPCN Office will provide the surgical masks to you.

Second tier of safety: non-vaccinated homebound frail palliative client with a vaccinated volunteer, and vaccinated members of the client’s household.

All other cases to be brought to NNPCN internal meetings and attention, and decided upon case by case, on the basis of safety.

Garden visits possible, and decided upon case by case.

Unvaccinated volunteers and clients preferably provide and receive phone or teleconference services, for their own protection.

The Ministry recently acknowledged the value and need of online services and will start funding them. Online services are here to stay. They allow hospices to serve a greater number of clients.

Many clients in remote rural areas have difficulty to travel to the nearest city to receive in person services (elderly, don’t drive anymore, mobility issues, etc).

Bereavement Clients

Same rules as above. We will start gradually with 100% safety.
Pair up fully vaccinated clients and facilitators and screen both the day before each session.

Client and facilitator observe social distancing and use of surgical masks.
NNPCN Office will provide the surgical masks to you.

All other cases to be brought to our internal meetings and attention, and decided upon case by case.

At the Main Office in North Bay, there will be an interval of 30 minutes between sessions, so that surfaces in Bereavement Reception and Session Room are disinfected, and the air in the session room is sterilized with the UV lamp.

Please feel free to communicate with our office team for additional questions. I am sure that we will have many new aspects that will require that we think together.

The central priority is to move forward with prudence and safety.
Thank you again, for all that you are and you do. I can’t wait for the day we will be able to meet in person again!

Miigwetch, Annii,
Cordialement, Kind Regards,

Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.
Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director
Réseau de soins palliatifs du Moyen-nord, Directrice exécutive

Miigwetch, Annii,
Cordialement, Kind Regards,
Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.
Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director
Réseau de soins palliatifs du Moyen-nord, Directrice exécutive


North Bay, May 19th, 2021

BEREAVEMENT NOTICE UPDATE. Mass In Memory of Darren Renaud.

Dear All,

A mass In Memory of Darren Renaud will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Motherhouse on Saturday, June 19th, 2021 at 16:00. Due to the pandemic restrictions, this will be a private celebration, not open to the public.

With so many people grieving the loss of Darren, if you would like to be united in intentions, we invite you to light a candle at 4 pm from your home. Although from a distance together we will be sending our incredible energy, love, and prayers up to Heaven.

The Sisters of St. Joseph will be praying for the repose of Darren’s soul and for the consolation and intentions of his loved ones. Near North Palliative Care Network will have flowers in honour of our good friend Darren at the chapel. Flowers and cards can be sent to the Reception of the Motherhouse on Friday, June 18th, morning time.

Donations In Memory of Daren Renaud can be given online on Canada Helps You can also donate to the Wise Tails Book fund on Canada Helps. Darren wrote one of the fables of this fundraiser book to help NNPCN. Nicky is illustrating it. Together with Linda Schnabel from CareerWorks, we are fundraising now to print the book.

On behalf of Near North Palliative Care Network, please receive our heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of messages of support and sympathy we have received from our public.

Miigwetch, Annii,
Cordialement, Kind Regards,
Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.
Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director
Réseau de soins palliatifs du Moyen-Nord, Directrice exécutive
Bureau Central / Main Office: Rue Main Ouest, no. 2025 / 2025 Main St W, North Bay, ON P1B 2X6
(705) 497-9239 – 1-800-287-9441 – Fax: (705) 497-1039 – [email protected] –

North Bay, May 16th, 2021


Dear All,

The mass In Memory of Darren Renaud will be held at St. Joseph’s Motherhouse. Date and time to be confirmed and notified to NNPCN public in the next few days. Unfortunately, due to COVID-10 restrictions, the service cannot be open to the public.

Expressions of sympathy can be addressed to NNPCN Main Office, 2025 Main Street West, North Bay, ON, P1B @X6. Phone: 705-497-9239. Email: [email protected].

In Memory donations can be done online at Canada Helps, by clicking on this link: .

On behalf of NNPCN Board, Jenny Leblond, CAO Township of Chisholm, NNPCN Vice-Chair and Interim Chair according to NNPCN By-Laws, Section 6.1 (a) will be issuing a Note of Condolences shortly.

Rest assured that, during this time of grief, NNPCN team of professionals is there to guarantee that solid Governance and Executive operations remain secure and unchanged. Governance roles will transition smoothly according to NNPCN By-Laws. NNPCN services remain unaltered, uninterrupted, and available as always to our community.

Near North Palliative Care Network: here for you when you need it the most.

Miigwetch, Annii,
Cordialement, Kind Regards,

Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.
Réseau de soins palliatifs du Moyen-Nord, Directrice exécutive
Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director

May 14th, 2021

Dear All,

It is my sad duty to inform you that we have lost our dear Darren Renaud, Chair of the Board of Near North Palliative Care Network. Darren passed away suddenly on Thursday, May 13th, 2021.

In this sad moment, I am here for each one of you, our Board, Staff, Volunteers and Clients and Friends of NNPCN.

Darren loved Near North Palliative Care Network. He has been, and will always be, an inspiration – our loyal and strong champion and protector. He personally supported NNPCN and me, through all good and hard moments, with his strength and unwavering loyalty.

Darren inspired me often, with his beautiful loving attitude. Always humble, always silent, always peaceful, always strong. He leaves to us his most admirable example of kindness, honesty and truth, and his strong heritage of love for the cause of Visiting Hospice Palliative Care.

We stay united and strong in our resolve to serve our community with Visiting Hospice, now for a double reason: for Darren, and for the cause he loves so much, and we love so much – our Near North Palliative Care Network.

We will follow up with the details of the NNPCN celebration in honour of Darren’s beautiful life, in the days to come. The Butterfly Release this year is dedicated to Darren, our good friend.

Please receive my heartfelt sentiments. Our prayers are with Darren and his loved ones.

Miigwetch, Annii,

Cordialement, Kind Regards,

Monica Do Coutto Monni, B.A. Pol.Sci. M. Psych.
Réseau de soins palliatifs du Moyen-Nord, Directrice exécutive
Near North Palliative Care Network, Executive Director
Palliative Care Interdisciplinary Education Services, Chair
IAHPC International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care, Institutional Member, Palliative Care Advocacy, Canada Representative
United Nations Human Rights OEWG Open-Ended Working Group on AgeingIAHPC Delegate for Canada
UNA United Nations Association in Canada, Member
EAPC European Association for Palliative Care, Member
GAROP Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People, Member
CHPCA Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, Institutional Member
SCC Standards Council of Canada Mirror Committees /ISO/TC 304 - Healthcare Organization Management, [MC/ISO/TC 314] Ageing Societies Member
HPCO Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, Accredited Institutional Member
CCPA Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, Professional Member

Bureau Central / Main Office: 
Rue Main Ouest, no. 2025 / 2025 Main St W, North Bay, ON P1B 2X6
(705) 497-9239 - 1-800-287-9441 - Fax: (705) 497-1039
[email protected]

Soutenez votre hospice de visite local. Faites un don par carte de crédit, Canada Helps, ou PayPal. Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous. 
Support your local Volunteer Visiting Hospice. Donate with Credit Card, Canada Helps, or PayPal. N'oubliez pas NNPCN dans votre héritage. Please remember NNPCN in your legacy.

Le Réseau de soins Palliatifs tiennent à reconnaître que la terre sur lequel nous réunissons est le territoire traditionnel de l'Anishinaabe de la Première Nation du Nipissing sur les terres couvertes par le territoire du traité Robinson-Huron.
The Near North Palliative Care Network would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe of Nipissing First Nation on lands covered by the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory.


April 21, 2021

Check our latest article on LinkedIn.

Dear All,

I just sent this to our local authorities and my Board, and thought this would brighten your day. It is not only problems, right? There are also small good news.

In the fiscal year of 2020-21, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Near North Palliative Care Network quickly adapted to work with 100% safety to our volunteers and clients. Where in-person visits were not possible, we were present to our clients with phone and teleconference visits. We served 4,282 clients with palliative care, bereavement and/or training and education services, individually or in groups, and gave 17,330 Volunteer hours to the community. NNPCN is the Volunteer Visiting Hospice of Nipissing and East Parry Sound districts. Despite our modest funding, we fulfilled our promise made on March 24th, 2020, to take the moral high road during challenging times, excerpts quoted below:

The real nature of the Near North Palliative Care Network has always been to serve the members of our Community when they need it the most – during their end of life, grief and bereavement … Here is how you do it. You keep focus and priority on serving your Client; you shut up and work hard; you mind your business and help all your partners as a good colleague; you collaborate with everybody in the community; whenever possible, you go the extra mile in silence, no need to let others know. You remain a loyal supporter and friend. You have just one word.”  (May 24th, 2020, NNPCN IN TIMES OF CHANGE)

Word given, promise fulfilled.


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

Near North Palliative Care NetworkExecutive Director

August 02, 2020

Check out latest article in LinkedIn.


by Monica Do Coutto Monni

Here’s how I like to explain work ethics to my new Interns.

From lowest to highest rank, imagine that we can operate in five levels : Monkey Business, Fair Enough, Intelligent, Noble and Evangelist.

Monkey Business

Individuals and organizations can operate at the cunning level of ethics. This is the worst co-worker you can get, at the lowest of all levels of ethics, and what we normally call Monkey Business. In simple words, these are individuals and organizations that will sneak on your back to steal your banana and will happily congratulate themselves at being so smart. We all know people and organizations like that. They do not trust other people, life, and most importantly in their own capacity of succeeding through their own personal worth. In general, there are worms in their psychological can that need to be addressed, often related to history of breach of trust, abuse and neglect in early childhood. They are always trying every edge and angle to get a free lunch through deception and exploitation. They do not care about others and they are incapable of genuine cooperation. They use posturing, psychological seduction and manipulation to influence others and get what they want. You can find this sorrowful type hanging out in cliques at work, in coffee breaks at the office cafeteria, and in any politicized work environment. They display low efficiency, low production, and parasitical behaviours. Besides sneaking, they enjoy gossiping, criticizing, and making self-aggrandizing remarks. They often operate by instigating co-workers secretively, through slander and plots. They like to push and influence others to act outwardly against people or towards some agenda of their interest. If things go wrong, they never take responsibility. It is all about putting others down to get the banana just to themselves with little or no effort or consequences to them. They need help such as psychotherapy to be able to grow. They are corrosive, toxic, unproductive, and they destroy the spirit of collaboration, mutual trust and team work in their environment. For these reasons, serious organizations do not keep them.

Fair Enough

Individuals and organizations can operate at the average level of ethics. In brief, “Fair Enough” just wants to eat in peace the banana they worked for. They are sincere and honest, and they are not trying to be harmful to others. They just want to do their job and be left alone. They usually hang out in a state of half awareness by the Monkey Business compound, and eventually get mugged. They think in terms of producing just what they are paid for, nothing less, nothing more. They are somewhat self-absorbed, looking only at their own interest and not at the needs and interests of their team, customers, and organization. In general, this has to do with some deep disappointment with others, consequent intolerance, and insufficient confidence in themselves and life. They keep things dull at the workplace because they do not fully enjoy people or work itself. There is little or no personal and organizational growth at this level. Their common ground with Monkey Business is that they do not trust others and life. For this reason they are easily influenced and used by Monkey Business instigations. They are the embodiment of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” They believe in their own honesty because they do not want to harm anyone, and they are happy at doing what is right. They cannot realize that by being stagnant they are not treating themselves fairly, and by keeping the bar of personal and professional growth flat, they level life at the lowest common denominator. They lack inspiration, or simply lost their mojo for some reason. They deserve more than that. They deserve growth, and a meaningful life. This requires constant effort. Fair enough is never enough or fair to you, when it comes to living your life to the fullest.


Individuals, organizations and businesses can operate at the analytical level of ethics. In brief words, they are like a scientist, who pays Fair Enough one banana to sit by the Monkey Business compound. Then they observe what happens and how both will react. “Intelligent” believes that, if they understand how Monkey Business and Fair Enough operate and interact, they will be able to find a way of intervention and training that will take both from mediocre to a more productive behaviour that makes clients more satisfied, production increase, and business grow. They sincerely care about their own personal growth, the growth of people around them, and their company. However, they seldom realize that they are also playing an iffy game, and they are not that above Monkey Business or Fair Enough in terms of work ethics. They are not completely transparent or collaborative to their teams, and there is an utilitarian deceitful hue colouring their efforts. Have you heard about “the carrot-and-stick principle”…? In simple words, “Intelligent” are individuals or businesses that like to ride the donkey, and who believe this is all that people and organizations can be: good donkeys taking them to the bananas. “Intelligent” likes to see themselves as honest leaders, good and productive individuals and businesses, and they are somewhat self-satisfied at being so smart. There is still a residue of not believing in the Good in other people and themselves, of genuine teamwork and collaboration, that must be addressed by them.


Individuals and organizations can operate at the self-empowered, high level of ethics. In brief words, Noble enjoys the effort to reach their full potential, by living intensely and with intent, by being the best they can be at every moment. They enjoy pushing themselves to grow more, and they are capable of acknowledging and overcoming their own limits, which is a degree of humility already. They are also capable of seeing the Good in themselves and in others. They feel self-confident, prepared, resilient, hard working, and competent enough to produce plenty of bananas out of their own worth, together with like-minded colleagues. They enjoy working with Intelligent towards salvaging Monkey Business and Fair Enough jobs, with the banana wealth they produce. Because they believe in the intrinsic Good in everyone, they trust and inspire others, and they often think that if everybody gets their bananas, the motives to be ethically iffy will disappear from the environment. They are real power-houses, strong and proud of themselves, their worth and ethical values – as they should. They are rare and precious in this world. They feel strong enough to be protective of their teams and organizations, sacrifice for them, and invest time, training, role-modeling and patience to raise the bar and lead their teams towards a better self, a better company, a better community and a better future. The iffy work ethics at this level is that Noble runs serious risk of getting disgusted at Monkey Business and brain numbed by Fair Enough. This may lead Noble to pride, perfectionism, and a rigid sense of superiority. In simple words, they may lose charity and emotional touch with others, i.e., their own humanity. This may lead them to gradual isolation in small elitist bubbles. There is one final lesson they need to learn, to overcome this level.


Individuals and organizations can operate at the spiritual level of ethics. I am borrowing the term Evangelist from a relatively new position, the Chief Evangelist Officer, popularized in the Silicon Valley by Guy Kawasaki in the 1980’s. A Chief Evangelist Officer knows everything that there is about work, their product and company, and promotes their company culture mainly through marketing. I am stressing its ethical flavour here, beyond sales, towards Human Value and Intangible Assets, both essential to the Mission of any company that aspires success next century. In brief, Evangelists realize that, after all is said and done, all of us eventually die and join our bananas. We rotten together, no matter how cultivated your brain or heart may be, and we create humus, that rich topsoil you enjoy in your garden. As humus, we ultimately feed future bananas and future generations of every level of ethics, from Monkey Business to Noble. Individuals and organizations at the Evangelist level of work ethics understand that, all in all, the ultimate value is not how many bananas we can produce, get from or give to others, but how happy, safe, loved and engaged with life we all feel, as we plant and take care of our bananas together, in a sustainable way, so that we can ultimately sit and happily enjoy our bananas and one another, while we are alive. Evangelists are individuals and organizations gone full circle, from Noble all the way back to profound humility (which, by the way, comes from the same root as the word “humus”). They finally understand the ethics and the power of mutual love and support at work, of enjoying life together, on the rock of simple, old-fashioned, human decency. This is what gives meaning to a rich work-life balance that is not crooked, not deranged, not cold and lonely, not empty, not in existential fear, hopelessness or despair. Ultimately, that is what consummate professionals are looking for, and what will retain them in your company: meaning, and high quality of life. They will not stay in a toxic work environment that makes them feel rotten all the time, and where they feel powerless to promote intervention for better.

Work ethics is priceless and precious, the final prize in itself. Intangible Assets such as trust, honesty, mutual kindness, dignity, expertise and humility are the safe way towards this elusive happiness and healthy lifestyle all professionals are looking for. They are the invisible power behind all we do. Trust in the ultimate Good creates the hope and meaning you need to want to wake up every morning and go plant your bananas, as you pass on sustainable life to future generations.

Truth be told, we are not even distantly there – at all. General behaviour has seemingly been pretty nasty and cheap lately. However, this is unsustainable, and will implode sooner or later. If you look back at History, despite all horrors humanity has experienced, there is a clear trend of things getting gradually better. Individuals and organizations around the world have always been forced by circumstances to grow up and better. I have no doubt that circumstances will sooner or later take work ethics to the Evangelist level worldwide, and our descendants will be able to edify one another at the workplace, as they take good care of our banana garden together. Rather sooner than later.

#workethics #stafftraining #organizationalculture #evangelist

June 08, 2020

My Special Message to You

Dear Friend, the Live Butterfly Release is a Community Celebration of Life, In Memory of our loved ones who died, and in solidarity of you who are grieving a loved one who died. We understand, and we are with you.

On your behalf, NNPCN will release a small swarm of 300 butterflies, In Memory of your loved one.

To watch the Butterfly Release in real time, go to:

Facebook Livestream:

YouTube Livestream:

This year, we remember especially those who died alone in hospitals and long-term-care beds, due to COVID.

As a community, we want to especially embrace you, our friend, who have lost your loved one to COVID and could not say your farewells properly and in person. We know the pain, and our hearts are with you.

In thankfulness, we support our amazing primary care healthcare providers, and all frontline workers who risked their lives, and suffered in silence, while helping all of us. We understand, and we are with you.

From our hearts, thank you, healthcare providers and frontline workers of all kinds! You are amazing!

In solidarity, we support you, brave owners of local businesses, who are experiencing a different form of loss and grief, that hurt body, soul and mind deeply, as loss does.

It is hard to close the door of a small business, the fruit of your dream, work and sweat of so many years. We understand, and we are with you!

Better days will come!

There are so many other forms of loss: a tough childhood, abandonment, indifference, loneliness, unemployment, living with chronic pain or illness, receiving the news you or your love one have an incurable disease, divorce, being an orphan, suffering prejudice and persecution, poverty, being a victim of war and violence, selling your home, moving away, being rejected, being homeless, a refugee, an immigrant.

Loss is loss, and no matter the loss, it breaks our heart the same. So whatever your loss has been, my friend, if you are grieving, know that we at NNPCN understand, and our hearts are with you.

Whatever is your pain, when you see the butterflies fluttering this Saturday, during the Butterfly Release, make your wish, send your message of love in the wings of the butterflies to your loved ones who died, believe that things will somehow be OK again.

We are in this all together. Better days will come. We love you!


Monica Do Coutto Monni

NNPCN Executive Director

May 31st, 2020

Healing Palliative Healthcare

I have been around the Palliative Care industry in Canada since 2009 and have seen extraordinary improvements, true acts of human kindness, heroism, and real feats. Naturally, all of us hope to contribute to its betterment. It seems to me that the human factor among healthcare professionals is a good starting point.

I believe it is absolutely possible to invest in better preparedness of future palliative care professionals and managers. It starts by their education in undergrad years. Future palliative professionals in primary care do need a substantial increase in courses that invest in their personal resilience, cultural normalization of death, ethics, and self-care.

It is common knowledge that young graduates are seldom prepared to face the reality of dealing with end of life, palliative care and death, day in and day out. Levels of stress and burnout are still high in the industry. In other words, there is still much work to be done, to engineer a career model that protects healthcare professionals from trauma and high levels of neuroticism all along their working years.

Organizations are still understaffed, and professionals are still overworked and underpaid. In demanding healthcare settings, such as palliative care, this would also pass by better funding, more staff, better career plans and security, and less hours of work per week, so that professionals could invest in better personal and life-work balance.

From the administrative perspective, we can use more investment in courses that prepare future players to get laser-focused understanding about the nature of public administration and state-sponsored healthcare. It is about taxpayers’ dollars returning to taxpayers in the form of healthcare services, and personnel being the stewards of this process.

There is still great confusion around what optimizing the continuum of healthcare, to the benefit of patients, is really about.

Many players still misunderstand the language of integrated services as some kind of draconian economic model of partial or total merger of companies. What we are really talking about here? We are talking about healthy communication within the system, not about forced mergers, hostile takeovers, or empire building.

What needs to be engineered in healthcare is a model that fosters collaboration, not one that fosters unhealthy levels of competitiveness or defensiveness. A model wherein professionals feel safe, and that rewards players and organizations when they join interests for better care of their patients.

If there is a model, if any, that might contribute to this new language, that would be the concept of conglomerates, not mergers. Autonomous organizations joining forces spontaneously for common interests, to get better results. That works, and should be rewarded. Intelligent strategic management. You don’t better healthcare by trying to grow an organizational Godzilla. You better the system if you strategize a model that fosters organizational agility and symbiosis.

We must of course take into account the very historical nature of public administration, which has a chronic tendency to gradually expand personnel and needs pruning from time to time. There are reports of inefficient over-bloated public administration since ancient Chinese history, 6,000 years ago.

However, looking back on more recent years, the language of integration, misunderstood as some kind of organizational hostile takeover, triggered defensiveness and turf wars not among administration only, but unfortunately among healthcare professionals providing frontline primary care to our patients and clients.

The unintended consequence of the language of integration was the creation of a managerial nightmare because of the human factor. It caused fear among players – fear of seeing organizations dissolved into a bigger partner, and jobs lost.

The consequence was that defensive walls were erected, with all the ills that come with it. Charades, petty politicking, self-serving, rumours, plotting and instigations, sense of self-importance and self-entitlement to public money, siloing, cliques and turf wars on a field that is not our private property at all.

Careerist ambitions trying every deception, angle and edge to get personal advantage, mutual suspicions and backstabbing, devious double talk, plans to take over the world tonight at the expense of taxpayers.

At the personal level, this is an easy fix and nothing that a moral person can’t realize for themselves, and change ways, after a good soul search. Some might use counselling or psychotherapy as well. At the systemic level, we might want to develop checks and balances to control organizational systemic harassment, not only individual harassment at the workplace.

There is also this misperception that organizations are frozen in time, and will never change, so those who are “wrong” or “bad” must be “broken” or “opposed” by some drastic act or intervention. Nothing could be farther from reality. Organizations are historical entities. They age, they are generational, they must adapt to changes in the environment. They change quicker than one would like to admit, especially in volatile times like the present.

At any point in time, some organizations and planning tables, depending on the personality and beliefs of their dominant members, become open to fruitful collaboration with partners. Others unfortunately become cliques, catering exclusively to themselves. Closed social groups within healthcare (or any other industry) don’t welcome external voices and don’t open any opportunity to partners or external players.

Many a time, some players, albeit well-intentioned, live in the erroneous belief that they know better, nobody else does, and without them, the system would collapse. Some invest huge amounts of energy in concocting ways of keeping partners subdued to their interests, without giving anything in return, or worse, subtracting from partners and their organizations.

The glaring obviousness is that taxpayers don’t pay healthcare players to gossip and plot for personal power or pay homage to cliques in unproductive meetings. Taxpayers pay healthcare professionals to give good healthcare services to their patients.

In sum, the current equation of factors that still wound healthcare and deserve healing can be defined as the confluence of: lack of better training and education to deal with end of life and death; an environment conducive to personal trauma and high levels of neuroticism; poor psychological preparedness and access to self-care; poor support for a safe career in terms of fair funding of salaries, number of staff and hours of work; and managerial models that trigger unhealthy responses from the human factor.

Looking at this equation, one can see it is not rocket science. There are solutions at hand to every stumbling block mentioned above.

A simple rule to address the human factor, and to foster healthy relationships among partners even now, is to ask ourselves, in every interaction: does this behaviour / practice add to, or subtract from our clients, staff and organizations? Is this building up common collaboration to serve common clients? What we are trying to accomplish with this behaviour?

To think like a good healthcare professional, one has to be humble and observant above all. It is more about listening, learning and understanding than talking, more about finding common interests than asserting ourselves.

After mapping the terrain in detail, and acquiring very good, in-depth knowledge of players and opportunities, we pursue relationships and practices that add to the interest of our clients, staff and organizations. These are clear assets. 

We obviously don’t invest time funded by taxpayers in unhealthy dynamics and practices that subtract from our clients, organizations, and drain our staff (physically, emotionally, and their work time paid by taxpayers). These are obvious liabilities. 

In the case of uncollaborative partners and systemic obstacles, this is how we take the high road and perform well to the government and taxpayers, in an imperfect world:

  • we understand that nothing is forever, and people and organizations can and will change in time; luckily, for better;
  • we mind our business; we don’t intrude in anyone else’s matters – it is not necessary;
  • we harm no one and don’t get into disputes – when one doesn’t want, two won’t fight;
  • we help where we can, keep a collegial behaviour of constant collaboration, and build up mutual trust – your attitude matters!
  • we go our way in peace and serve as many clients as possible;
  • we wait patiently and in silence for a more favorable moment in the future, when players and the healthcare environment change to healthier, more collaborative ways;
  • when we feel burnout, we look for support within our team. Team is everything on the long run! Like family in personal life;
  • we are not here to correct anyone, this is a futile effort. People only change when they can and want.

In the meantime, we keep educating people around us by example. We role model, and we share a healthy vision. We analyze neutrally what works, what doesn’t.

We analyze systems and behaviours, we don’t judge people.

Good ideas and practices build up momentum. Just keep putting your good ideas and practices out there. Trust people’s intelligence and their desire for a better life. Sooner or later, like good seeds, good ideas take root.

Palliative healthcare has not been feeling that good lately but it is far from being a terminal patient, believe me.

Palliative healthcare is a strong and noble child. It is alive and well. Hopefully, it will grow vigorously in the years to come, to serve millions of vulnerable citizens at the time they need it the most.

Palliative healthcare just needs a little guidance now, and some tender loving care, to thrive back again to its full health and happiness.

May 28th, 2020

11th Live Butterfly Release 2020

ON LIVESTREAM – Saturday, July 11th, 12 noon to 1 pm on Facebook

Dear All,

The COVID pandemic changed everything, and at NNPCN we are changing together, to meet the needs of our Volunteers and Clients during this time.
This year, the big news is that the Butterfly Release will be a symbolic Celebration of Life broadcast by live stream on social media and then posted on our website.
Due to the ban on public gatherings, we will release the swarm of around 300 butterflies from the gardens of the Motherhouse on your behalf, In Memory of our loved ones who passed away. You will be able to see the swarm soaring in close-up, on video!
Due to the new nature of the event, the individual reservation of butterflies is not possible. Just simple donations to the cause of Volunteer Visiting Hospice in our communities.
As you know, the Live Butterfly Release is our main fundraising event. Donations help NNPCN give training to a growing number of volunteers, and to expand our services to an increasing number of clients in need of your support.
We count on you again this year, to help spread the word to your family, friends, acquaintances, social media contacts, and to help us with donations to NNPCN.
Here’s how to donate: 
Any amount of donation you can send us this year is appreciated.  
Phone: 705-497-9239
E-mail: [email protected]
Mail your cheque: NNPCN Office at St. Joseph’s Motherhouse
2025 Main Street West. North Bay, ON, P1B2X6

Click on Canada Helps link below:

Click on PayPal link below: 

Our campaign is running on our website and social media, in English and French. Please make sure to visit both, to learn more about all the new actions we are developing to adapt the Butterfly Release to an ONLINE LIVESTREAM.
Here are some of the news, first hand to you (you can find them on Facebook and our website as well):
Sorry for the long message! This year we need to share far more information so that you help us. Please don’t hesitate to phone us if you have any questions.
Thank you for your loyalty to the cause of Volunteer Visiting Hospice Palliative Care in our community.
We, NNPCN Volunteers, are not fair weather friends. Come rain or come shine, we are always here for you. Please be there for us in these tough times we are crossing together. Together, we will see it through!


Kind Regards, 
Monica Do Coutto Monni
Near North Palliative Care NetworkExecutive Director

May 24th, 2020


Dear All,

It is in times of trouble that we show our real nature.

The real nature of Near North Palliative Care Network has always been to serve the members of our Community when they need it the most – during their end of life, grief and bereavement.

We serve our Community devotedly, as Volunteers, because we have always believed, and will always believe in being there for you.

We are your Volunteer Visiting Hospice in Nipissing and East Parry Sound.

You know that our services are completely free of charge. That is how it has always been, and will always be.

At NNPCN, we have clear understanding of what a Registered Charity funded by the Ministry of Health is.

Public funding comes from the work and sweat of common citizens like you and me. All moneys in our Provincial budget come from the taxes we pay, day in and day out.

It is public money, and as such, it must stay public.

Every dollar is yours, and must return to you as services needed by you and your loved ones. This is the fruit of your work, and the work of your ancestors.

Charities like NNPCN, who receive public funding and donations, are simple stewards of your money, and transform these dollars into the services you need.

In our case, we give you Volunteer Visiting Hospice Palliative Care and psychosocial grief and bereavement support.

Today, I come before you to renew our commitment of being good stewards.

The world is crossing difficult times of fast change.

In Ontario, Healthcare is transitioning from the LHINs to the new OHTs, the COVID-19 pandemic is among us, and Canadian Baby Boomers are in growing need of healthcare support, as they age.

Globally, the economy and job market are witnessing unprecedented challenges, our lifestyle changes dramatically day by day, with social isolation, remote work, unemployment, inflation, politico-economic unrest and volatility increasingly present all over the world.

We all live in silent expectation and fear: what will go wrong next…? 

Challenging times, indeed, when it is difficult to trust in our social structures and other fellow humans. Challenging times arise the best and the worst in human nature. We all know that.

How do we cross hard times such as these? Where to find direction? The answer is, with dignity.

At Near North Palliative Care Network, we made our choice 33 years ago, when Joan Burnett, our Founder, started to help dying members of her community for free, in 1987, and many people of the community, inspired by her example and role modelling, joined her to help others.

Our values and ways at NNPCN have deep roots, and won’t be shaken.

I want to renew our commitment, before you all, that in the middle of the storms of our time, NNPCN chooses consciously to take the moral high road.

We will continue to fix our eyes in our Mission and Goals – to serve our clients the best we can, for free.

This is the top priority and the reason of our existence: to serve you. Our Board and Staff have a double commitment: to serve and protect our Volunteers, as our Client Number One, so that they generously give our  Visiting Hospice end-services to you and your loved ones.

In the past 5 years, NNPCN grew 500% in number of clients served and Volunteer hours. COVID-19 didn’t stop us. Two weeks after the Declaration of Emergency in Ontario, when most institutions were still in shock, disoriented, and looking for a direction, NNPCN Volunteers were already on the field, giving continued support to our clients with phone visits.

Here is how you do it. You keep focus and priority on serving your Client; you shut up and work hard; you mind your business and help all your partners as a good colleague; you collaborate with everybody in the community;  whenever possible, you go the extra mile in silence, no need to let others know. You remain a loyal supporter and friend. You have just one word.

Palliative Care is no ordinary job. Palliative Care is a calling, and a mission.  It is about giving comfort and controlling pain and symptoms of frail people in their deathbed, and giving respite and psychosocial support to their distraught loved ones.

That’s what taxpayers pay us to do for them, and what you and your loved ones expect from us at a moment you need it the most. Palliative care patients and bereaved members of our community are your neighbour, your friend, your family. They are counting on us, and they are at their most vulnerable moment.

You are a good citizen, professional and public servant when you render devoted service to your Client with your honest hard work.

It is not rocket science. It is a question having self-respect and never acting below yourself.

In these chaotic times, when so many people question themselves what is right and wrong, and it is difficult to find strong direction and leadership out there, it is up to us to be rock,  moral compass and role model to those we love, and to those we serve. We all have it in us, and it is about time to show it and be true to one another.

Taking the high road in trying times is choosing to be loyal to your true nature. It happens when you choose to be and to remain a good, reliable and decent human being, despite all difficulties.

Come rain or come shine, it is my commitment to you that NNPCN will be there for you as always, unwaveringly serving our clients.

In the middle of these storms of change, count on us. We have our eyes on the moral compass: we are focused on its direction of clients above all, we keep sailing on, and taking you with us to the safe harbour of sincerity and true service.

Steady as she goes.



May 23rd, 2020

Dear Colleagues, we appreciate if you forward this message of support to your membership. The campaign in support of our local businesses is active on NNPCN website and social media until July 11th, 2020. Thank you, Monica


Dear Friends,

Hard times show us what stuff we are made of.

Near North Palliative Care Network has a vocation to always be there when people need it the most.

This is one such occasion. Time to show our solidarity and gratitude. To be there for one another.

For many years, our local businesses have supported the cause of Palliative Care with loyalty, especially during our main annual fundraiser, the Butterfly Release.

The donations sent to us by our local businesses have helped NNPCN to expand training of more volunteers in our community, and serve more clients in need – our loved ones, part of our family.

It is our turn to give back. In this difficult moment, when so many of our local businesses are struggling, this year, during the whole campaign of our 11th Live Butterfly Release 2020 ONLINE, WE WILL BE GIVING VISIBILITY TO ALL OUR PAST SPONSORS, daily.

We don’t expect nor will ask donations from our local businesses this year.

You are our neighbour, our friend. You are the parent trying to keep your business afloat for your family. The friend who gave the first job opportunity to one of our children. The friendly smile greeting us at your store or office, and giving us advice, suggestions and a nice small chat.

Local business of our community, we want to see you thrive again.

Next year, we will be together again at the waterfront, releasing our butterflies under the sun. This year, we celebrate you.


Make sure to celebrate and support them too. Thank you for all you are and all you do, Northern businesses! WE CARE!

More about our Live Butterfly Release:


May 15th, 2020

IMPORTANT: Protective Masks and Nitrile Gloves available to NNPCN Volunteers

Dear Volunteers,
COVID-19 pandemic will subside, but at this point we cannot affirm when. It may stay with us for a good one year or so.
At NNPCN, You, our dear Volunteer, are our Client Number 1!
Our first commitment is to serve and protect You, so that you feel safe and prepared to serve our end-clients.
Our Goal Number 1 during this crisis is to get to the end of the pandemics with zero casualties among our staff and volunteers!
We acquired a small number of PPE masks and nitrile gloves that are now available to our volunteers, for your protection.
Please contact the office to get yours. We can mail them to you, or you can get them at the Motherhouse switchboard.Do not hesitate to contact us if you need more protection. We are here to serve you!Happy Victoria Day! 

April 02nd, 2020


To All Residents of the Districts of Nipissing and East Parry Sound.

Dear Friends,

During this time of social distancing, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and in good health.

NNPCN is in the list of essential healthcare services during the pandemic. we are open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

We offer our psychosocial support phone visits to all members of our community.

Our trained Volunteers are here to help combat social isolation among the residents of North Bay and Area, West Nipissing, Mattawa and Almaguin Regions, North up to Temagami, South up to Novar, West up to Hagar and East up to Deux Rivieres.

The COVID-19 situation is triggering a new kind of individual grief and social grief, aggravated by anxiety, depression, loneliness, social isolation, fear of an uncertain future, practical daily challenges like getting your groceries and medication, not enough support to our elderly and lonely people, challenges with our family, with frontline jobs making staff exhausted and burnout, with unemployment, with our business, or our finances.

Whatever is your challenge, we are here for you, and ready to listen to you with unconditional understanding and support.

We are trained not only to touch base by phone or teleconference with residents of our community, weekly or on demand, but also to support businesses and professionals in distress.

We walk the extra mile and ask clients in the community if they lack anything: medication, food, transportation, someone to help them with their home chores, etc

When any vital need is located, we are here to advocate for you. Volunteers report it to me, so that our Team Leads and myself advocate for you or help you find the help you need.

Please help us reach out to the vulnerable sector of our community: the elderly, the sick, the lonely, the poor, burnt-out caregivers and professionals. If you are concerned with someone, offer our support to them and ask them to contact us.

Do not hesitate to refer facilities, organizations and residents of our community that would benefit from a phone visit for psychosocial support.

For further information or to refer clients, please contact the NNPCN Office.

By phone: 705-497-9239.

By email: [email protected].

Applications online:

On social media:

To Volunteer with us:

Near North Palliative Care Network, here for you when you need it the most since 1987.

Stay safe, my friend!


Monica Do Coutto Monni, NNPCN Executive Director

March 18th, 2020


Dear NNPCN Friends,
In an effort to contribute to your information, please find below the three documents released by the Executive Council of Ontario: 1) Declaration of Emergency; 2) Closed Facilities; 3) Prohibited Public Events. Click on the link below to download:
During this period, and until suspension of Declaration of Emergency, Near North Palliative Care Network will offer you essential staff to answer phone calls and emails from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm .
Volunteers, clients, partners and the public are encouraged to phone and email us for information: 705-497-9239 – [email protected].
Keep calm, wash your hands, practice social isolation, and stay safe.

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