From left are Hospice Cornwall staff members Christine Grant, Gisele Brasseur and Jason Samson.
CORNWALL, Ontario - New teleconferencing equipment at Carefor Cornwall Hospice means the days of waiting hours or days to connect with doctors and medical professionals in far-away places like Ottawa and Kingston are over.
The OutCare Foundation announced Thursday a $380,000 commitment to telemedicine is now being offered at Hospice Cornwall and 11 other sites in the Champlain region.
Local doctors — and patients — can consult with specialists outside the city about end-of-life care plans.
"It can all be done over a TV screen," said Jason Samson, manager at Hospice Cornwall. "It's quick...and there are no costs."
More than 6,000 terminally-ill patients a year in Ottawa and eastern Ontario will benefit from timely treatment, reduced travel and improved care, resulting in a better end-of-life experience.
Maria Badek, Carefor easten counties director, said in an interview the system can also be open for use by other health-care providers, including nursing services, to help augment communication.
She added it will enable hospice to complete distance education for staff and volunteers.
Staff often travelled to Ottawa for training sessions.
"Now we'll have everything at our doorstep," she said.
The OutCare Foundation, which made the funds available to complete the project, is the only charity devoted to raising funds for palliative care across eastern Ontario.
It supports patients and their families by raising money for special projects that benefit palliative care.