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Dr. Jennifer Shapiro

dr. jennifer shapiro

Role at the Centre

Home-care doctor

Year started at the Centre

2010

Shares a practice with

Dr. Victor Cellarius

 

If you were to ask Dr. Jennifer Shapiro what she is committed to, she wouldn’t skip a beat. Her answer is at the ready. “I’m committed to the philosophy that every person should be able to die with dignity and in comfort.” 

This philosophy informs her deep appreciation that patients have a whole range of needs — not just medical ones. Understanding the unique needs of each patient requires a sensitive approach to communication — a style enabled by her easy-going manner, warmth and patience. Communication is central to her practice and she certainly doesn’t shy away from these important, though often difficult, conversations — in fact, she welcomes them.

“I think all of the home-based care needs of my patients are my responsibility. So I work hard to communicate closely with them and with their families. I want to be able to match the therapies to their unique clinical and social circumstances,” she says.

Taking on the home-based care needs of her patients is an all-encompassing responsibility. At times, this responsibility extends to an advocacy role, when that is what’s needed to meet a patient’s specific needs. “Sometimes I may need to make phone calls to a patient’s case manager or another agency to get them the best possible care.”

Since completing her family medicine residency in 2007, Dr. Shapiro has worked exclusively doing inpatient, outpatient and home-based palliative medicine in Toronto, Newmarket, Oshawa and Scarborough. This broad experience has taught her that the families of her patients have significant needs of their own.

“I understand that the family members are suffering in many ways as well. My goal is to help patients and their families to live without regrets around the choices they’ve made and to find some comfort in the death and dying process.”

Dr. Shapiro’s commitment to doing everything she can to ease her patients’ suffering not only reassures and benefits her patients, but it is also a source of meaning for her in her professional life. “There are a lot of really rewarding moments when I’m at the bedsides of my patients, but the most meaningful times are when I bring relief.”

 

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