Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Integrated Community Program  >  Palliative Care  >  Our care team

Our care team

Our team embraces an interprofessional approach to patient care. Upon admission, we work with you & your family to provide information about our team; the services they offer and how they may help best meet your needs. We consult with other professional services, including the palliative care consult team, in order to provide you and your loved ones with the highest quality of care.

Our team members include:

(Click for more information)

  • Advanced practice nurse (APN)

    The advanced practice nurse co-ordinates with the team to work with you and your family. The APN:

    • Assists staff in patient-focused care practices using the standards of practice from the College of Nurses of Ontario and those from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
    • Assists staff, when required, with many nursing and other related skills
    • Collaborates with the interdisciplinary staff regarding documentation that captures your concerns from a patient-focused care perspective


  • Audiology

    Audiology assumes responsibility for delivering efficient, effective hearing health care services:

    • Provides clinical audiological assessments
    • Provides rehabilitation on an individual need
    • Recommends assistive listening devices


  • Chaplain

    Our chaplain/spiritual care provider provides support in an interfaith, spiritual capacity to people from all faith traditions, as well as those who are not associated with a faith tradition.

    The chaplain may:

    • Assist and support you in identifying and communicating your spiritual needs
    • Support you in grief and loss issues that may surface for you and your loved ones
    • Explore issues of meaning and purpose that may be present for you during this time
    • Support and assist you in bringing closure to "unfinished business," especially in the area of making peace or reconciling relationships
    • Connect you with a specific faith group leader, if this is your wish
    • Provide, as well as facilitate the provision of religious or spiritual rituals, e.g., sacred texts, music, prayers, meditation
    • Assist in planning / designing of funerals, celebration of life services, or memorial service


  • Clinical nutrition services

    Clinical nutrition staff will assess your nutritional needs.  A nutrition technician will review your food preferences, food tolerances and your menu requirements with you.  A dietitian is available to address nutrition or diet concerns.  Our goal is to provide you with foods / meals that you can best tolerate.  Please inform your nurse if you have specific nutrition needs which you would like to discuss with our nutrition staff.

  • Creative arts therapies
    Our creative arts therapies, located in our K1E palliative care unit, involve the clinical use of meaningful music, art and/or horticulture experiences for the purpose of addressing physiological, psychosocial, cognitive, emotional and/or spiritual needs of patients and/or their families.

    Services are provided by credentialed creative arts therapists at a patient's bedside or in a nearby studio, and may be offered individually or in a group setting.

    No particular talent, skill or previous knowledge or experience is needed to benefit from participation in any of these therapies.

    Research suggests that active or passive participation in creative experiences can:

    • Promote relaxation/reduce anxiety
    • Reduce perception of pain
    • Improve mood
    • Facilitate life review/other psychosocial processes
    • Enhance feelings of control/increase orientation
    • Facilitate meaningful interactions among family members
    • Improve overall quality of life

    There is no cost for these services and one may self-refer, or be referred by any healthcare professional or family member.

    Session times are flexible and are available throughout all stages of illness, up to and including the very final moments of life.

    For more information, or to make a referral please call 416-480-6100 ext. 62135.

    Music therapy

    Music therapy sessions may include:

    • Singing/vocalization techniques
    • Music listening (live and/or recorded music)
    • Songwriting
    • Improvising/instrument playing
    • Using adapted music/instruments
    • Playing music and using imagery
    • Listening to music and using relaxation techniques
    • Discussing meaningful lyrics
    • Recording a live music session to leave as a gift to loved ones

    Art therapy

    Art therapy sessions may include:

    • Painting and drawing
    • Silk painting
    • Collage
    • Photography and portraits
    • Pottery and ceramics
    • Creative writing
    • Sewing and weaving
    • Glass making
    • Legacy work such as creating a "Life Book" or making pieces of art to leave for family members

    Horticultural Therapy

    Horticultural therapy sessions may include:

    • Planting
    • Harvesting
    • Creating projects using materials from nature
    • Caring for plants
    • Enjoying the garden or greenhouse
  • Environmental services partner

    Working with the patient care unit team, the environmental services partner performs a variety of housekeeping related tasks designed to ensure a clean, aseptic, and aesthetically pleasing living and working spaces for patients, staff, and visitors.

  • Nurses

    A primary nurse (registered nurse) is assigned to your care and is responsible for communicating your plan of care to your family and oher caregivers.  A group of associate nurses (registered nurses and registered practical nurses) work along with the primary nurse to provide you with continuity of care.  The primary and associate nurses will listen to your concerns and share them with the other team members as needed and desired.  The nurses work closely with the other team members on the unit to help you make decisions about your plan of care and to ask you to evaluate the care you receive.

    Staffing Holidays & Weekends
    Days 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 3 RN's / 3 RPN's Same
    Evenings 3:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. 3 RN's / 2 RPN's Same
    Nights 11:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m.  2 RN's / 2 RPN's Same


  • Palliative care consult team
  • Patient administrative associate

    In partnership with patients, families and staff, the patient administrative associate supports patient-focused care through the co-ordination of administrative and clerical processes required for the delivery of seamless and effective service.

  • Patient care manager

    The patient care manager is the liaison between hospital management and staff/patients & their families, ensuring the unit is delivering care that meets & exceeds expectations, as established by the hospital's principles and standards of patient focused care.

  • Patient services partner

    The patient services partner helps get you settled and oriented to the unit. They create a pleasant and comforting environment for everyone on the palliative care unit. The patient services partner also assists with meals, helping with menu selection and delivering food.

  • Pharmacy

    The focus of the oharmacist is to work with you and your doctor to select medications that will help to reduce any symptoms you find distressing.

    The pharmacist offers the following services:

    • Provide a list of medications you are receiving
    • Provide education to you and your family regarding your medications
    • Assist you and the nursing staff in developing a schedule for taking your medications


  • Physician

    There are two physicians who provide service on the palliative care unit. Their visits usually occur during the morning hours. The physicians have education and expertise in caring for persons who are terminally ill and particular skill in helping to manage difficult symptoms such as pain and nausea. The physician and pharmacist work together with you to provide the apropriate and effective medications needed for your comfort. The physician is available for family conferences if needed and desired by you and/or your family.

  • Physiotherapy and occupational therapy

    These services are provided to patients on the palliative care unit on a consultative basis when a need is identified. The goal of these services is to help promote quality of life and safety for patients. The primary means of achieving this is by recommendations and prescription of devices to assist with a patient's level of function. Often these services work together to develop the recommendations and prescriptions. Mobility aids will be provided for patients when and if available. Below is a brief description of what each service provides:

    Physiotherapy services

    • Assessment of ability to walk and transfer in/out of bed/chair, safely
    • Prescription of a walking aids to assist with safe ambulating and transfers
    • Education of family members and patients how to transfer safely in/out of bed/chair, and how to use a walking aid safely
    • Provision of an individualized exercise program a patient can perform in room on his or her own or with family


    Occupational therapy services

    • Assessment of fit and use of wheelchair when patient is no longer able to walk safely
    • Assessment of ability to transfer in and out of the wheelchair
    • Assessment for and prescription of medically based equipment (e.g.: splints, arm slings, neck brace)


  • Recreation therapy

    Recreation therapy in palliative care aims to facilitate the development, maintenance and expression of a satisfying leisure lifestyle. Our services can be accessed by referral by a health care professional, patient or family member. Recreation Therapy may include leisure skill development, leisure education, leisure participation and community involvement and can help patients maintain their cognitive, physical, social and emotional well being.

    Some examples of recreation therapy in action include:

    • Baking/lunch groups
    • Community bus trips
    • Pet visits
    • Discussion groups
    • One-to-one activities as determined by the patients unique and individual needs


  • Social work

    The social work team provides counselling and bereavement support to patients and their families, and offers information and referrals to community resources, such as funeral planning, financial assistance, bereavement supports & discharge planning. We also provide tours of the palliative care unit and offer education regarding palliative care.

  • Speech-language pathologist

    Speech-language pathologists have specialized knowledge, skills and experience in assessment and management of communication and swallowing disorders. The focus of this consultative service is to provide practical help and advice to patients, family and other caregivers in the following areas:

    • Enhancing communication with individuals with communication disorders
    • Optimizing the ability of the person to swallow food, liquids and medications safely, comfortable and with dignity


  • Volunteers

    The role of the volunteers is to offer support and assistance to you and your family in the following ways:

    • Friendly visiting, listening, and/or offering a silent presence when you may not wish to be alone
    • Serving you refreshments if you desire
    • Accompanying you off the unit, to the library or outside, according to your wishes
    • Any other assistance as requested, if within the scope of the volunteer role


Location and contact

Palliative care unit admissions (K1E/K1C)

For Palliative Care Unit Referrals.
Please refer to Making A Referral
Phone: 416-480-6182
Fax: 416-480-6118

Palliative care consult team

For inpatient consultations and ambulatory care clinic visits.
Please refer to Palliative Care Consult Team
Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 67255
Fax: 416-480-5146
Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

If you have any questions regarding palliative care referrals and resources, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For urgent matters outside of business hours, please call locating at 416-480-4244 and ask the operator to page the "on-call palliative care physician/consultant".

» Download our brochure

Make a gift to the Palliative Care Unit at Sunnybrook:

Donate now »