It’s a double first for Joanne Gallevo, who graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the first Nursing class in the collaborative Seneca-York program (2001), and who has been appointed Clinical Nurse Manager at Emily’s House, Toronto’s first children’s palliative care hospice.
Emily’s House is an offshoot of the Philip Aziz House, which is a non-profit hospice that provides practical, physical, emotional and spiritual support for adults and children living with life-limiting illnesses, and is where Joanne has been working after completing her Masters of Science in Nursing at the University of British Columbia. She has been developing the patient-care program at Emily’s House for the past two years, and is beginning to train her newly-hired staff.
Emily’s House rendering
The hospice is set to open in late March 2013, but is still looking for funding for 4 of its 10 beds, despite already generous donations that have allowed the hospice to be constructed and staffed. It is aiming to provide a variety of services to children and their loved ones, including respite care, which will allow caregivers to take a break from their daily care giving routine. Other services the hospice will provide include bereavement and educational services, acute end of life care, pain and symptom management, transitional care, and perinatal care.
“Families with children who have life-limiting illnesses can’t just leave their kids with the babysitter,” says Joanne.
Some of Joanne’s goals as the clinical nurse manager include making sure that “children and their families have the option to receive hospice care. Before Emily’s House, children had a choice to either go home or live at the hospital. But now, the hospice provides a third option with access to nursing and medical staff. Children will be able to receive hospice care from diagnosis to bereavement. Now, the families will have more options while dealing with the difficulties of a terminally sick child.”