Counselling during Advanced Illness

Our team of professionals provide counselling and group support for patients in the palliative phase of their illness.

Our counsellors help our clients navigate through what can be confusing times. Clients include those living with advanced illness and their caregivers, with many of the families having children 19 and under.

We Go Where We Are Needed

We ensure our services are accessible to all. Our counsellors work with patients and families at our locations as well as at hospices, hospitals, client homes, schools, and online.

Why Grief Counselling during Advanced Illness

Grieving the losses in one’s life is a common reaction when faced with advanced illness. Grief counselling helps navigate emotions and fears associated with grief.

What to Expect

We offer individual counselling for clients living with advanced illness and their caregivers, family members, and close friends .

We are here to help people manage well, at home, for as long as they are able. With a deep understanding of and connection to the regional healthcare network, we are able to direct people to the right resources, in the right location, at the right time, and are able to help clients problem solve.

In your first session, the counsellor will explain what counselling is and how we can help. We offer a safe place to share thoughts, feelings, and reactions to grief. Sessions may include expressive therapies, writing, or other activities that help explore and express grief in a healthy ways.

Accessible to All

Counselling fees are on a sliding scale based on family income.

No one is turned away due to financial difficulties as we work hard with our community partners to ensure there are no obstacles to accessing our services. If your financial circumstances change at any time, please do not hesitate to speak with your counsellor.

Contact Us for More Info

Living with Advanced Illness Centre
1245 70 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2X8

We are wheelchair accessible and free parking is available.

Additional Support for those Living with Advanced Illness

Individuals and families tell us that support from our group programs has increased their ability to live well with their illness, improved their quality of life, and broadened their coping skills.

Community Hospice Programs

Living Through Loss

Our Living Through Loss monthly drop-in group is for bereaved adults looking for an understanding place to share their experiences with grief. Access to this program is through Rosedale Hospice, our Community Hospice counselling services, and our Companion Program.

Volunteer Bereavement Support Program

Family members that have connected with us through Rosedale Hospice or Living with Cancer Program are able to receive telephone follow-up through our Volunteer Bereavement Support Program. 

Companion Program

The Companion Program offers a family-centred and community-based approach with the goal of improving quality of life for those impacted by any advanced illness. Volunteers are carefully matched with clients to provide ongoing, regular support that includes respite, companionship, resource sharing, and other practical support. The program aims to help reduce stress and feelings of isolation in patients, caregivers, and their families and promote an active role in living life to the fullest during illness.

FAQs Answered for those Living with Advanced Illness

We often hear that people are anxious about their first counselling session. We would like to share some information with you so you know what to expect. We hope that this will answer some of your questions.

Welcome to Counselling

The counselling relationship is a special one

  • Your time with your counsellor will be all about you and your family
  • It's different from a friendship because your counsellor won't really talk about him or herself
  • Your counsellor's job is to listen to you, to help you with your grief and all that comes with it
  • Unlike what you and your friend's do, your counsellor will not be spending time with you outside of your sessions at Sage Centre

What you might want to know about seeing a counsellor

  • You have choices about what you discuss in your meeting
  • Sometimes your appointments will include some of your family
  • You can share as much as you wish about any topic
  • If you decide you no longer want to see your counsellor, let them or your parent know
  • You can say no to anything your counsellor suggests?we just ask you to be open to trying new things
  • It is important you are honest so your counsellor can understand your story and your feelings

What your counsellor will do for you

  • Keep what you tell them private unless you give them permission to share and they can't talk with your friends, their lips are sealed!
  • All the counsellors are part of a team at Hospice Calgary. Sometimes they share stories of children and teens they work with to get more ideas on the best ways to help support them and their families. If you don't want your counsellor to use your name if they are telling your story, together you can pick a pretend name.
  • Include your parent or guardian. Often they just want to know that you are okay! After each appointment or after a few appointments, you and your counsellor will talk about what you want to share with them
  • Keep your artwork or project safe until you are ready to take it home. If you don't want to take it home, please let your counsellor know
  • Be open to any questions you have and be honest with you

FAQs Answered for those Seeking Support for Themselves or Others

We hope your experience with Hospice Calgary will be positive for you and your family.

Welcome to Sage Centre

What qualifications do your counsellors have?

All  Counsellors have graduate degrees in counselling, social work, or psychology and are certified through the Collage of Alberta Psychologists, the Alberta College of Social Workers, orthe Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Our professional counsellors are bound by their professional code of ethics and Hospice Calgary's policies.

How are services ended?

When you and/or your counsellor determine that Hospice Calgary services are longer required, your file will be closed. The opportunity to re-access services for grief counselling is available.

What if I need to speak to someone outside of business hours?

Living with Advanced Illness Centre operates regularly between 9:00 am and 5:00pm, Monday to Thursday and 8:30pm to 4:30pm on Fridays. In order to access 24 hour counselling support, please contact the Distress Centre at 403-266-4357. If you are a Palliative Home Care client, contact the 24 hours response line at 403-955-6288. For any other medical emergency, call 911.

How can I contribute to improving services at Hospice Calgary?

As part of your counselling experience, you will be asked to complete surveys in order to assess your needs and the ongoing benefits of counselling. While you have the option to decline completing the surveys, your cooperation is appreciated to help improve the quality of support and services offered by the organization. 

Additional Resources

We have gathered the following resources for you. Visit our Resources page for more.

For Professionals & Volunteers Working in Palliative Care

Our Practice at Rosedale Hospice

Mindfulness Practice

Suggested Books

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