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Did you know that Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) are autonomous professionals whose work is highly routed in neurology and physiology? Their education focus is on anatomy and physiology of the brain, mouth, nose, throat, and related structures. Because of this focus, SLPs are true “pathologists” in both communication (speech, voice, language) and swallowing, in their ability to trace a client’s overt symptoms to neurological or structural causes.
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This interesting fact was provided by Maggie, a Speech-Language Pathologist working for Vancouver Home Health. “It sometimes feels like doing detective work!” she says. “But what I enjoy most is working with adults in the community to support them and their families in understanding and managing swallowing and communication deficits that are either chronic or new conditions.”
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Previously, Maggie worked in acute hospital and outpatient rehab, where she noticed that client’s performance in the clinic didn’t always correlate to performance reports from home. “I started to question if there would be more value to seeing clients in their “natural” environment, rather than in a clinic/hospital,” she explains. “When I had the opportunity to work in community, I jumped on the chance. Now, after this experience, I am a huge supporter of in-home rehab; using the client’s every-day environment to learn and practice new skills.”
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Maggie incorporates the VCH Values (We Care for Everyone, We are Always Learning and We Strive for Better Results) with the belief that the minute we think we know everything, is the minute we stop learning. “I continually push myself to question and investigate things I think I know,” she says. “I strive for client-centered practice, as I believe client knows their body and needs better than any medical professional, so I try to pair client’s knowledge with scientific knowledge and research to achieve best results.”
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#communicationawareness #SLP #BetterSpeechandHearing #SpeakWell #HearWell #LiveWell
Continuing our highlight of May being National Physiotherapy month, we recently caught up with Hedi, a physiotherapist working on the Personalized Support and Stabilization (PSS) team.
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PSS is a relatively new initiative created to provide up to eight weeks of community/home support and “reablement care” to increase self-reliance and optimal functionality for the frail elderly. An interdisciplinary team of professionals work together to support people to safely transition from hospital settings back to their homes.
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“In my role as a PT, I use goal-oriented activities to regain or improve a client’s independent functional capacity at home,” says Hedi. “I enjoy helping my elderly clients ‘get back on their feet’. As a community PT I love being on the road, out in the fresh air and having the independence and flexibility to plan my own day!”
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Hedi has been with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) for almost 25 years and a PT for 30 years in almost every area of practice except community. “The prospect of learning new skills and working with a new team excites me,” says Hedi. “I find that working with PSS has given me new respect for community physiotherapists. Also, the challenges I face in the community allows me to be creative, resourceful with a greater degree of autonomy,” she says. “Every day provides me with many new exciting learning opportunities.”
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Hedi joined the PSS team about two months ago. “I’ve been on a steep learning curve adapting to my new role at PSS! Despite the challenges of COVID-19, I’ve found my orientation and especially the new virtual element of my training to be very thorough and in depth. When in need of additional support, I’ve also had the opportunity of reaching out to experienced team members in the community.”
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#PhysioCanHelp #pt #PhysioMonth #Physiotherapy #community #PSS #VCHCareers
At the beginning of the pandemic, Richmond Hospital's Palliative Care Unit — home to some of Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) most vulnerable patients — was temporarily moved to accommodate COVID-19 surge and capacity planning. While the team has now returned to their original location, they demonstrated incredible flexibility and dedication in providing exceptional care to their patients throughout it all.
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We reached out to Lara Musa, Patient Care Coordinator and Educator in the Palliative Care Unit, to learn more about her experience during the pandemic:
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❓ What has it been like working in palliative during this time? What's it like on the unit?
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✔️ Other than the change in location, the unit has been functioning just like before. We continued to provide the same level and quality of care that we would have provided in our home unit: pain management, symptom management, psycho-social support, hospice transfers, support with grief and bereavement. One of our biggest challenges was finding ways to support our patients with the restricted visitor policy. We've had to find new ways to work help patients stay connected to their families virtually.
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❓What has it been like for the team and for the patients?
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✔️ We've tried to make the best out of the situation. We're lucky that our patients and their families have been so gracious and understanding during this time.
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❓ What has the team done to continue to provide exceptional care during this time? How have you been continuing to support this vulnerable population?
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✔️ We continue to provide multidisciplinary team support either in person, by phone or by Zoom. We're so grateful and fortunate to have received a tablet from the Virtual Health team, which has allowed us to provide with more opportunities to connect patients with their families. It also allows the care team to connect with family members as well for daily updates and family meetings.
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❤️ VCH sends a big thank you to the Richmond Palliative Care Unit for continuing to provide exceptional patient care during the pandemic!
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#healthcare #Richmond #palliativecare #teamwork #covidresponse
👏The 7pm cheers mean so much for all healthcare workers. Let's keep it up!💕
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#Repost @lghfoundation
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"Thank you for rooting for us, we hear you, we feel you. Let’s keep staying strong, healthy, safe and caring each other." -Noriko, Surgical Nurse at LGH
While our health-care staff lead the fight against COVID-19, there is a whole workforce of dedicated professionals behind the scenes building and maintaining the spaces in which our frontline staff and physicians provide care.
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VGH's Facilities Maintenance and Operations (FMO) team is made up of 80 staff, including carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, painters and more, who have been working seven days a week to convert existing units into ones that can safely support COVID-19 patients. “We’ve been building COVID-19 units: changing an entire department over to negative air, and installing donning and doffing rooms," says Matthew Harraway, Senior FMO Manager. “We're completely restoring entire rooms – everything from receptacles and lights to fixtures, paint and more."
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“We are using our skills to support our physicians and nurses as they fight this pandemic," says Matthew. “There's no better way for us to show our support than to contribute to the overall safety and wellness of our fellow co-workers." In addition to building dedicated COVID-19 units, the FMO team has restored and repaired over 500 beds, created showers, change rooms and storage for ventilators, and worked on the team to set up the alternate care site at the Vancouver Convention Centre, among many other projects.
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“We rallied to do all we could to help the front line. It's a really empowering and positive thing for us," says Geordy MacLeod, Paint Shop Chargehand, whose wife is a nurse at BC Children's Hospital. “At first I was a bit apprehensive, but coming to work to make a positive impact felt better than sitting at home. Even on a day off, it feels weird not being here and helping.” The work that FMO does is not only vital for keeping the hospital running, but also for infection control.
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“Infection Prevention and Control, has always counted on our FMO colleagues as incredible partners in our efforts to keep our staff and patients safe," says Dr. Titus Wong, Regional Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control.
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Thank you to all our FMO teams across VCH for all your hard work! We appreciate you all so much.
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#VGH #FMO #Vancouver #VCHCareers
Continuing our highlight of Better Speech and Hearing Month, let's hear from the Vancouver Community Audiology team providing pediatric care and how they adapted during the pandemic.
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The team provides pediatric services from birth through age 19 years. A key component of their services is diagnostic testing through the BC Early Hearing Program for babies who fail the newborn hearing screening. On March 23, the team had to discontinue all direct patient services due to COVID-19.
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After a process of risk assessment, the team decided to resume the newborn hearing tests as time-sensitive urgent services. They spent the first weeks of April carefully reorganizing structures and procedures to allow for safe and comfortable visits. Audiologists were fully trained in the skills of donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) and heightened infection control practices to meet health standards. On April 27, 2020 the team welcomed back their first infant patients and their parents.
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Sara is a Clinical Audiologist on the team. In a typical work day, she can perform an electrophysiologic hearing assessment of an infant, fit hearing aids on a teenager and perform play audiometry with a preschooler. “I enjoy the variety,” she says. “Working with kids keeps you on your toes!”
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There are many rewarding moments for Sara in her role but she highlights that the initial hearing aid fittings can be very emotional. Seeing the child’s reaction to experiencing sound for the first time and experiencing that journey with the families is an inspirational occurrence she doesn’t take for granted. “We do our best to provide family centered care that is, at the same time, rooted in evidence based practices,” explains Sara. Along with a supportive team environment, she feels very lucky to have a wonderful supervisor and incredible colleagues. “We truly feel like a team in everything that we do.”
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VCH sends a big kudos to all the audiologists who have adapted with grace and flexibility to the changes that we are facing in health care!
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#communicationawareness #Audiology #BetterSpeechandHearing
What began as a simple challenge among a small group of staff at Squamish General Hospital (SGH) to raise morale during a difficult time has grown into a way of giving back to a grateful community.
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During the month of April, dozens of nurses, doctors and staff at the hospital took part in a 30x30 challenge that pushes them to exercise 30 minutes a day for 30 days. The catch: it would cost $30 for each participant, with the funds raised going toward local charities.
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For Holly O'Neill, the registered nurse who started and inspired her to colleagues to take the challenge, the interest by her coworkers and the community has been completely unexpected. “There's been a lot amazing support and it brought a lot of us together in such a hard time," she said. Holly explained she started the challenge because most of her coworkers are moms and they often forget to take care of themselves as they put everyone else first. She thought maybe 20 or so people would participate in what she called her "take care of YOU" challenge, but the number quickly swelled to 90.
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By the end of the challenge, the group raised $7,355, with $7,000 being split between the Squamish Food Bank and the Squamish Women's Shelter and the remainder to Squamish Hospice Society. A separate five-kilometre run raised another $1,000 for the local hospice. “Truthfully, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the community," she said. The local businesses have graciously donated so many amazing prizes to support our challenge."
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While April might be over, the challenge is not. Holly intends to keep the challenge going through the summer using different themes and charities in which to generate donations. “I believe this challenge has brought the SGH team closer together," she says. "They're supportive, encouraging and proud of each other's accomplishments. Most importantly, back to my goal of the challenge, the team is taking care of themselves during these hard and unpredictable times which has been unbelievable to watch."
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#Squamish #givingback #WeCareforEveryone
Happy Physiotherapy Month! Celebrated every May, this month helps to promote the physiotherapy profession and to increase awareness of its benefits which range from increased mobility and endurance, to increased confidence and independence.
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Meet Marian, a physiotherapist at G.F. Strong who sees clients on the inpatient neuro-musculoskeletal (NMS) program. “I work with a variety of clients including burns, amputee, transplant, multi –trauma, arthritis, incomplete spinal cord injury and various neurological conditions,” she says. Marian has been a valuable employee of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) since 1991!
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“Since my clients have a variety of needs, I am always learning how to best curate their treatment plan,” says Marian. Her passion lies in helping people improve their function and seeing them successfully return back to the community after an illness or injury. “Clients often come back to visit long after they are discharged to say ‘thanks’ and let us know how they are doing. It makes me feel really proud of the work that we do.”
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The VCH Values (We Care for Everyone, We are Always Learning, and We Strive for Better Results) are evident within her team and career. Marian speaks very highly of her colleagues and says “I work with a great team of people who genuinely value and respect each other. I am part of the steering committee on our program and we are always evaluating how we can do things better. We also take time to support each other with pot luck lunch celebrations.” In addition, Marian has been able to develop her clinical skills over the years as VCH supports continuing education for staff.
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Marian enjoys working where she lives. “I love Vancouver because it is so walk able. We also have great parks and beaches and easy access to the mountains. You can literally ski and cycle in the same day.”
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#PhysioCanHelp #pt #PhysioMonth #Physiotherapy #VCHCareers