Casey House expands homecare


Her beautiful new baby son was born just days after the very pregnant African finally made it to Canada from her homeland. But almost immediately, the hospital had to be the bearer of bad news: Immigration-related screening for new moms and newborns indicated both were carrying HIV, the virus associated with AIDS.

The hospital gave mother and child excellent care to begin with, but it couldn’t take on the whole need. It took Casey House, the hospice in Toronto that’s provided care for men, women and children with HIV/AIDS for almost two decades, to meet the challenge.

Everyone now says it was the special nature of homecare provided by Casey House Hospice that kept both mom and son alive and well and thriving in their new community. Casey House Home Hospice provides the same high-quality care that residents in the hospice receive then goes “above and beyond” the limitations that many visiting nurses unfortunately find themselves bound by.

“Our community nurses are problem-solvers,” says Lynn Muir, RN, with Casey House. “We work from the holistic hospice philosophy, caring for the whole person, the social needs, emotional, spiritual, whatever. We’ve got the networks, the ‘rolodexes,’ that help people navigate the health-care system and everything connected. It’s far beyond simply administering medicines.”

Muir was able to link the new family with a new GP. She recommended both the immigration experts that helped mom secure landed status in Canada and the counselors that helped her get a home to live in, as well as get information about childcare, where to learn English as a second language and how to secure special funding that could help cover drug expenses.

Muir savours the special qualities of community nursing. “I can assure clients I’m their advocate, their cheerleader. They’ve invited me onto their turf and I’m there for the long haul.”

Today, mom happily invites Lynn over for a coffee to talk about just how well things are going. A Canadian now with her own place, mom ‘gives back’ as a volunteer on a phone line that answers women’s questions about HIV/AIDS. Have no doubt her answers include her first-hand knowledge of the depth and breadth of home hospice care from Casey House.