Dr. Lorraine Wood
Role at the Centre
Year started at the Centre
Year became a doctor
Dr. Lorraine Wood, a Toronto native, joined the Temmy Latner Centre in September 2004 after leaving Boulder, Colorado, USA, where she had lived and practised as a family physician for 23 years. As her patients grew older, she knew she needed more training in palliative care. While attending the Education on Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC) training for her community hospital, she met Dr. Larry Librach, who was giving one of the lectures. This chance encounter with Larry, and meeting Dr. Russell Goldman, who was caring for a family member in Toronto, really piqued Lorraine’s interest in palliative care and in the Centre.
With both kids in college and an elderly parent in Toronto needing care, the decision to return to Toronto to join the Centre just felt right.
In September 2004, after her two-week orientation, Lorraine began practising home-based palliative care in the old York region of the city, from Bloor to Eglinton and Bathurst to the Humber River. Re-navigating the Canadian health-care system was an interesting challenge. Toronto was a completely different city than the one she left in 1981. With the help of her colleagues at the Centre, many wise Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) coordinators and some incredible home-care nurses, she quickly learned how things worked. In her first year, she also obtained her Family Medicine Canadian Board Certification and renewed her license.
Learning to drive and park in the huge piles of wet snow, locating the "Tim’s" washrooms and coffee stops and trying to learn Italian, the language of many of her new patients, were just a few of the many new experiences in the early years. She is continuously grateful for the opportunity and privilege of caring for so many patients and their caregivers at the end of life in Canada.
Over the past few years, Lorraine has teamed up with her sister, Professor Linda Wood, a psychologist, and Dr. Christa Jeney on an innovative research project in the outpatient palliative care clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Learning to collaborate with her older sister has been an enriching professional and personal experience. Most recently, Lorraine has become very involved in several projects that are looking at patient and physician safety in the home in collaboration with police and the CCAC.
Lorraine has no doubt that coming home to her Canadian roots to work in palliative care and get reacquainted with family, old friends and Toronto, was definitely a great decision.