2012 Annual Lecture: High Quality, High Value – Hospice Palliative Care in Ontario

Guest Speaker: Rick Firth, Executive Director, Hospice Palliative Care Ontario

December 5, 2012, 7 pm

Father Robert Madden Auditorium in Carr Hall, 100 St Joseph Street,

University of St Michael’s College, Toronto

All are welcome  |  free

Rick Firth, Executive Director of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario will present an overview of palliative care in Ontario and the priorities and actions agreed to by health service providers, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the LHINs.


We are all going to die.  The number of people requiring end of life care is growing as the population grows and the baby boomers reach an age where terminal illness and age increase the number of patients entering the health care system.  The health care system is geared to healing – not dying.  Often, patients and their families are unable to manage pain and symptoms at home and, often, unnecessary tests and treatments are prescribed to dying patients, leading to unnecessary and unwanted hospital stays and undue complications.  What is needed is an understanding of end of life and how best to support the patient, and the family, in the community and institutional settings.


Over the last 12 months the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario and our coalition partners have been working collaboratively with Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Local Health Integration Networks to review how hospice palliative care is provided in Ontario and identify priorities to achieve quality hospice palliative care for all Ontarians.  The priorities identified are:


  • Broadened access timeliness of access to hospice palliative care
  • Strengthening caregiver supports
  • Strengthen service capacity and human capital in all care settings
  • Improve integration and continuity across care settings providing hospice palliative care
  • Strengthen accountability introduce mechanisms for shared accountability
  • Build public awareness… engage the public conversation


Rick Firth is the Executive Director of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO), formerly the Hospice Association of Ontario, which he joined in 2009. Rick serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and on the Executive Committee of the Quality Hospice Palliative Care Coalition of Ontario.

Rick is past chair of the Toronto Palliative Care Network, and has served on the governance committee of the Central Community Support Services Network, and the steering committees of both the Central and Central East Hospice Palliative Care Networks. In 2003 Rick led the first integration of a Toronto area hospice palliative care organization and continues to promote integration to ensure high quality, high value hospice palliative care for all Ontarians.

Since 1992 Rick has been involved with hospice palliative care in various capacities starting as a volunteer, a board member, and then as staff in 1997. He has also been the Executive Director of two home hospice organizations in Toronto.