Audiologists Improve Quality of Life by Improving Communication Abilities

In High School, Christine Simms did not know what she wanted to do for a career. She enjoyed science courses and helping in the lab as a Biology prefect. Fortunately, a university professor working at the High School asked her what she was interested in pursuing in University. She knew she wanted to work with the deaf and hard of hearing and he recommended audiology.

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Highlighting a Nurse Practitioner and their Role in the Community

Shawn Cooper grew up in Fortune, Newfoundland, and attended nursing school at The Grace General Hospital in St. John’s, graduating in 1996. Shortly after, he moved to Gander where he practiced for 16 years in ICU/Emergency Department. While working as a site coordinator, Shawn was encouraged to continue his education. Since he missed having direct contact with patients, he started thinking about the option of becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Shawn decided to enroll in the post RN Nurse Practitioner program at MUN through distance in 2009.

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A Valuable Partnership: The Parkinson’s Speech Education Program

The Parkinson Society of Newfoundland, in partnership with Western Health, has been delivering a speech education program in the Western region since 2009 and the most recent one was held this fall. Throughout the program, participants learn how Parkinson’s disease can impact speaking, eating, swallowing and communication. The program is led by a Speech-Language Pathologist who provides strategies for participants to improve their speech, communication and swallowing behaviours in the group sessions.

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Mrs. Organ Goes Back to School

Although Mrs. Margaret Organ has been retired from teaching for more than 20 years, it is obvious to anyone who knows her that her teaching career meant a lot to her. The Long Term Care resident at Bonne Bay Health Centre was thrilled to visit students in the classroom this past spring. Mrs. Organ very much enjoyed her afternoon with Kindergarten and Grade 1 students at Gros Morne Academy.

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Improving Life for Donna and Dave

Across Canada, one in five long term care (LTC) residents is on antipsychotics medications without an appropriate diagnosis. Western Health, along with the other Regional Health Authorities in the province are currently engaged in a Nationwide Collaborative to help address this very issue. Since this began, we have been seeing some wonderful results and hearing amazing stories of how individuals’ lives have been improved by the work we are doing. Here is one of those stories.

After nearly 50 years of marriage, David Clothier (Dave) had become his wife, Madonna’s (Donna) caregiver in their family home for 2 years. After some time, Dave began to realize he would not be able to continue being the primary caregiver for his wife because he had concerns for her safety, and it was extremely demanding.

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Finding His Voice

Megan Humphrey, a Deer Lake based Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), met Landon in September 2018.  Landon is four year old boy who has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  He is non-verbal, which means that he does not use speech to communicate.

After several unproductive speech therapy sessions, Megan felt that something had to change.  “Imagine what it would like if you were unable to communicate your basic needs and wants or to say I love you to your loved ones whenever you desired. How about telling your best friend about the things that you enjoy the most or what your interests are?  Imagine how frustrating this would quickly become.  For Landon, this was everyday life.  Because he did not have an effective means to communicate with others, Landon’s behaviour was the only way he knew how to express himself,” said Megan.

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An Early Arrival

On the morning of October 5, Allison felt some pain and wondered if she could be in labour and thought she should go get checked at the hospital. Since Calder Health Centre in Allison’s hometown, Burgeo, does not have obstetrical services, she had been planning to go to Corner Brook the following week to wait for her baby to be born. Burgeo is a remote town on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, 212 km and a two hour and 45-minute drive from Corner Brook.

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