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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Corner Brook Long Term Care Home’s Therapeutic Garden is a Growing Success

Just imagine the sun on your face, the fresh air surrounding you, the sounds of gentle running water and the endless vision of blossoming flowers and greenery! Does it sound nice and relaxing? This is just a taste of what our residents, family, staff and volunteers have been able to experience in our Therapeutic Garden at Corner Brook Long Term Care Home since the garden opened in 2013.  Continue reading Corner Brook Long Term Care Home’s Therapeutic Garden is a Growing Success

Phil’s New Dog

Phil Taylor, a cook at Corner Brook Long Term Care Home received a special surprise from his co-workers this past December. Phil had recently lost Buddy, his 17 year old dog and asked his co-workers if they knew of any dogs available for adoption. One of Phil’s co-workers suggested that they should surprise him with a new dog. Everyone thought it was a great idea and the entire kitchen staff began working together to formulate their plan.
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Making Memories

Making Memories – Not your average committee!!
Throughout the course of an employee’s work life with Western Health….you may be assigned to many different work committees, whether by volunteering or being “voluntold” as they say. Recently some Long Term Care staff from a variety of professions were “encouraged” to join this new committee, later to be called “Making Memories.” The staff members represented all different disciplines and covered each site Long Term Care site within our region. As the newly assigned staff members started exploring the concept of Making Memories and it was evident that this committee would be like no other. The Making Memories project seeks to improve the lives of residents living in Western Health’s Long Term Care homes by granting them a special wish. Each resident, family member, employee or volunteer can request a wish for a resident. The beauty of this project is that it can be customized to the unique needs or desires of each resident. Initial feedback from front line staff, managers, external stakeholders, leadership and others was nothing but positive, energetic and emotional… all the same feelings that our committee was starting to feel. We knew this work would be special.

Since the committee started we have seen much success on so many levels; there has been over 34 wishes approved and granted and we have maintained membership with little efforts in recruitment – it is an easy sell! Whenever we meet to review new wish requests there is always raw emotion that comes across and it is exciting to see how well the process unfolds – everyone wants to make each wish a success. Staff at all Western Health Long Term Care facilities have excelled at bringing the wishes to life and spreading the positive message creating wonderful memories for our residents.
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Angels Among Us

Rina Decker was out for a run with her husband on a Saturday afternoon as part of her half marathon training schedule, when she was flagged down by people yelling for help at the scene of an accident. A snowmobile had gone over an embankment into the frigid water 25 feet below and a young man, barefoot and disoriented, had somehow made his way up to the road in Steady Brook, but was in obvious distress.

As luck should have it, Rina is an emergency room nurse.

Without hesitation, Rina stopped on a dime, in the middle of a long distance run, and seamlessly transitioned into ER Nurse mode. She took control of the situation and put everyone at the scene at ease with her expert care and her compassion for the patient. Rina’s medical training and professionalism were evident that day, and her kindness has left a lasting impression.

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Resident Pen Pals

I recently attended a meeting where we talked about the moments in life that have an impact on us (Lollipop moments). We talked about moments we experience that we may not have given much thought to but have a great impact on others. After attending this meeting and feeling inspired I began to reflect on some moments which make feel me proud of not only what I do but I see the pride my coworkers take in their work. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the less positive but we have to make an effort to find the beauty and notice all these wonderful people in our lives.

I have been a Recreation Therapy Worker at Bonne Bay Health Centre for 7 years. Each day I see my coworkers going above and beyond, creating moments that are positively impacting others. They act like they are doing nothing out of the ordinary and for many it isn’t out of the ordinary, it’s just who they are.

Living in a long term care home may be challenging for some of our residents. For Robert, one of the biggest challenges is loneliness. Unfortunately, Robert has limited family nearby to visit him. His only niece lives out of province and visits were limited to summer vacations. Robert and I discussed the idea of creating an email account so it was easier to send and also receive updated pictures and news from his family.
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