Mar 1, 2021 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Photo Courtesy of The Windsor Star, Photographer Dan Janisse
Well – it’s been almost a year since COVID-19 came to town. What a year it’s been for us all! When I think back on all that has happened, all that has changed and all that we have been through it’s no wonder we’re all tired. I’ve said in many forums that the last 12 months have been the toughest of my professional and personal life. I honestly believe that this experience has shaped me – shaped my leadership – shaped my priorities and indeed transformed me in ways I have yet to discover. I’m certain that many of you feel the same and in some ways, you know that who you are today is different than who you were a year ago.
In many ways I think we’re different as a community, as a HDGH team and as individuals. I’ve thought about some of these ways we have grown, evolved and changed over the last year. Here are some of those thoughts…
What about you? What’s different in your life? In your frame of reference? What have you learned this past year?
Last week I shared a post about how tired I am of all this. The intent was to open a conversation for us to really be honest about the toll this whole year has taken on us. I was surprised and honestly gratified by the response it’s generated – so many folks saying thank you to me for the comments and the honesty – that it resonated with their own feelings and that I helped them to know they aren’t alone. I want you all to know that it’s important for us to take the time when we can to grieve what we’ve lost, acknowledge the pain of our experiences, share honestly how we are feeling and finally support each other through the next few months as we approach the finish line of this horror of a pandemic. No one is alone right now – and as healthcare workers, we are sharing an experience that many will never fully understand. A note to our healthcare workers; it is time to take off those superhero capes and recognize that even we need to feel everything that has been the last 12 months. Our patients, families, friends and most importantly our mind, body and souls will be better because of it. So talk to each other – take the time to really ask “how are you doing.” If you’re tired of being tired (like me) feel free to reach in and we can chat. I’m here for you as you all have been here for me.
I want to close with the hope that I feel today. The vaccines are here and approx. 65% of our team here at HDGH have asked to be vaccinated – that’s awesome and gives me hope. We have begun the community vaccinations and Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes are now done and that gives me hope that the end is in sight. It’s not over quite yet but for the first time in a long time I actually can see and feel the finish line. That light we’ve been talking about at the end of the dark and scary tunnel is brighter today than it was a month ago. I know that we may have a couple of tough months between now, that finish line and light but we can do it!
To all those reading this today, hang in there – talk to each other – take some time to be kind to and care for yourself if you can and know that you’re not alone. We truly are in this together.
Jul 31, 2020 | Mental Health, Leadership, Community and Partnerships, Faces of HDGH
YAC Group Shot
The last few months have been a testament to the fact that the world is ever changing in unexpected ways. But, it has also been a testament to the great importance of connection, conversation and community that is so crucial to us as human beings. Even before COVID-19 began to sweep across nations, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) recognized the importance of including youth in the conversation of healthcare, their healthcare and the future of our community’s healthcare. I am incredibly proud of this initiative which adds a tremendously important voice to the healthcare conversation – one that frankly is not as “loud” as it should be. You will read two such voices today as you hear from Kaitlyn and Kat – two remarkable young women who are the future of our community in so many ways. Courage, compassion, collaboration and resilience have already been asked for from these young people and thankfully they answered the call with oomph J Enjoy this months blog from our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) that speaks to an important aspect of our individual and collective humanity; the desire and the need for togetherness – of supporting each other – of being vulnerable and being human.
The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was established in 2018 to provide all staff members of HDGH with feedback on hospital programs, services, new initiatives and community engagement from the perspective of youth of Windsor-Essex. Since its establishment, the YAC has grown to 14 dedicated members who all bring differing experiences, perspectives and knowledge to council discussions and initiatives.
YAC has been committed to volunteering within the community to build powerful relationships with other youth and organizations for youth. In addition to providing consistent feedback to all areas of HDGH and contributing to the social media channels, they are also currently in the process of beginning a new initiative, Wellness Through Grace. This initiative will allow students to have resources, knowledge and support to be able to better care for their own mental health, support their loved ones and guide others in the right direction when it comes to wellness.
Kaitlyn McCarthy and Katarina Kolobaric are the co-chairs of the YAC and have been members since its establishment in 2018. As co-chairs, Kaitlyn and Katarina share the role of oversight, guidance and organization for biweekly meetings, initiatives and community outreach. They feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside the wonderful individuals that are their council members as they help build a better future for youth, by youth.
A Note from Katarina:
As an individual who is always going through life at full speed, the onset of COVID-19 was not an easy adjustment. Essentially everything that I had planned for the next six months, from concerts to conferences and all the extracurricular events in between, was cancelled. Life had come to an abrupt halt, making me skid from the speed I was going at and come to a complete stop.
In all honesty, the very beginning of the pandemic was the most difficult on my mental health. I didn’t really know what to do with myself or how to really comprehend the vast degree to which this virus was affecting the world. I felt very detached from everything and everyone and like I had lost my purpose. Without the hustle and bustle of in-person University, my lifeguarding job and my other various involvements, it came down to realizing I literally had no hobbies because I never had time for them. It took a little while, but I was finally able to start feeling like myself again. Though I intensely missed the ability to see my loved ones, to hug them and talk to them without it being through a computer screen, I made peace with what I had.
My mentality was always able to shift positively when I came back to the root of my gratitude - being so thankful for my health and the health of all those around me. Also, being thankful for technology and its ability to still give us some form of connection helped me get through the more extreme feelings of social isolation. What really helped me was establishing a routine. Making a list of a few things to do every day made me feel more productive and purposeful. Adding on other hobbies that I had dropped because of lack of personal time, like actually reading for pleasure, inspired me to seek other things that I could do, simply because they made me happy. Having hobbies and setting tasks for yourself is great, but doing nothing is fine too. I learned to be more kind and patient with myself when I just didn’t have the energy to do anything on certain days.
There is no right way to respond to a pandemic. It has been scary, frustrating and extremely taxing on everyone. Allow yourself to take all the time you need, give yourself credit for just getting out of bed. Appreciate the little things. If we can take away anything from this pandemic, it should be that we should always take the time to slow life down a bit. To not take for granted the things that we have and to spread more love and kindness to the people in our lives.
We will most likely never go back to the “normal” we had before. But, that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. We are most definitely capable of coming out of this stronger than ever - resilient and ready to take on the next challenge. Continue to become more in touch with yourselves and learn as much as you can. We are powerful beyond measure and will make it through this, together.
A Note from Kaitlyn:
In March 2020, I stood amongst 100 other nursing students waiting for a midterm to begin, shoulder to shoulder. I had just gotten home from Toronto where I shared a milkshake for dessert at a restaurant and watched a film at the theatre next to strangers. Days later, I said an indefinite good-bye to my closest loved ones and gathered with my family to watch the Prime Minister make his first address regarding COVID-19. In the beginning, it felt surreal, like normal would be back and I could pretend that nothing happened. But soon still hasn’t come.
In March I was prepared to care for my community in the midst of such uncertainty. As an aspiring nurse and a dedicated member of my community, I knew being on the frontlines was where I needed and wanted to be. I was hired in mid-March as a Patient Screener at Erie Shores Healthcare and then signed on to be part of their Migrant Worker COVID Outreach Assessment Team. While working, I finished up my semester of nursing practical experience and lectures, online.
Ever since the beginning, I have struggled immensely with things I never would have expected to struggle with. I miss not being able to hug my loved ones or be surrounded by people smiling, laughing and talking, in shopping malls or at school. I am the one to tell families that they can’t see their loved ones in the hospital and I am the one to give doctors and nurses their designated personal protective equipment for the day. I have held the hand of a young migrant worker through multiple layers of gloves as he was swabbed for COVID-19, pale with fear. I don’t handle all of it well, there are still many days I cry or shake with anger. However, there are also days that my cheeks hurt from smiling and my mind is at peace.
Driving past the supportive signs that line the roads on my way to work and seeing the posts on social media about community togetherness helps me get through the bad days. Having the time to connect with old friends over the phone helps me get through the bad days. Finally focusing on myself and doing things I enjoy like going for a walk, listening to old music, painting and being with those in my household helps me get through the bad days. However, what has helped me the most and what continues to help me the most is knowing that we are all in this together.
No matter what, we are all affected by COVID-19. It may be in different ways but, at the end of the day, we are all learning, we are all trying, we are all doing our best and we will recover from this, together. So, for those of you who are at a similar place as I am, my advice to you is to take each day one step at a time. Take this time to focus on yourself, reach out to others to encourage them and support your community. The world is not going to move on without you, we are the future of the world, we will move as it does. But, as you find yourself in the unknown; watch, learn and start to see how you can be the change as a generation of the future.
Jun 9, 2020 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Allied Health Staff
This guest blog comes to you from Cassandra Leblanc one of HDGH therapy professionals. We had talked a little bit about the pandemic pay decision by government following one of the staff huddles I did on the units and after some back and forth by email decided that Cassandra’s voice needed to be shared in this format. In her blog Cassandra speaks to the role of therapists in our health system and why they matter, why they are important to our patients and to our community, and why they are ESSENTIAL. I personally and professionally am proud of our team here at HDGH and am pleased to provide a venue for their worth to be understood by those who may not “get it”. To us at HDGH they are indeed essential!
Thanks Cassandra for accepting the invitation to blog!Jan
The Ontario government recently released a revised, and final, list of healthcare staff eligible for pandemic pay. As an occupational therapist in a rehabilitation hospital, it was not only disappointing to hear that allied health professionals were once again omitted from this list, but demoralizing to realize that the Ontario government does not view our work as, “essential”. I am not alone in expressing that occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants are concerned with the impact that this decision may have on how our services and our professions will be regarded in the future. We fear that the decision to omit allied health from pandemic pay may devalue our work in the eyes of the government, the public, and our interprofessional colleagues. With this concern in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to shed light on the unique value of allied health professionals in a rehabilitation context. We often joke that you only learn what a therapist truly does when you need therapy. While our roles are so diverse that it is impossible to capture the full scope of allied health in one blog post, I hope that this provides some semblance of perspective.
Allied health, or as you may know us individually, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants, are healthcare professionals that focus primarily on function. Through therapy we ensure patients are able to return home to care for themselves and their families, to return to work as productive members of society, and to enjoy activities as they had prior to hospitalization. Allied health works closely with patients and families to safely and efficiently discharge patients to reduce hospital lengths of stay, and have been shown through research to be pivotal in preventing secondary complications and costly re-admissions to hospital. As the Chicago Tribune put it, "It's one thing to survive the infection, but what's next?" We are the healthcare professionals who help patients to walk, talk, and care for themselves. We help patients regain movement of their limbs, compensate for cognitive difficulties, and educate on living life to the fullest with disabilities or chronic health conditions. We help patients return to work, enjoy leisure activities and sport, and enable them to age in place safely. In short, allied health professionals support patients to regain their quality of life after illness or injury.
This brings my discussion to where we are now, in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Ontario government has neglected to acknowledge therapists’ value, there has been a steadily growing need for therapy throughout the pandemic. As professionals who focus on both recovery of illness and adaptation to disability, we have proven to be well suited to meet the needs of COVID-19 patients as they face new and debilitating symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, globalised weakness, and cognitive difficulties after long term ventilator use. In addition to our evolving role with the illness itself, we also continue to care for our pre-COVID-19 caseloads and ensure swift and safe discharge to help keep hospital capacity low in the event that the pandemic takes a turn for the worst. As you can imagine, it is impossible to provide the care we do without coming into close contact with our patients. Therapists and rehabilitation assistants are providing invaluable care with the same passion, courage, and resilience as the professions included in pandemic pay. All while donning the same protective equipment and braving the same risks of contracting COVID-19.
We are proud of our chosen professions. We are proud to put our patients first, no matter the risks. We are proud to help our patients flourish and find hope in the face of adversity. It is baffling to me how the Ontario government does not consider therapists as, “essential.” All I can think is that the government, like much of our public, is simply unaware of the services we provide. Occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language pathologists, and certified rehabilitation assistants may not be the first health professionals that come to mind when thinking of hospital staff, but it is my hope that by making our voices heard, our value and the services we provide on a daily basis will be considered essential during future healthcare decisions.
Below are a few articles highlighting therapy and their role during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Jun 1, 2020 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
HDGH PFAC Chair, Barb Masotti
I’ve invited a very important colleague, friend and HDGH Champion as a contributor for June’s Blog. As you can imagine, the last few months have been full of decisions, changes and emotions. HDGH would not be the organization it is, or have had the ability to lead through this COVID-19 pandemic without our Patient and Family Advisory Council, or PFAC as we often refer to it, ensuring that the voice of patients and their loved ones are at the centre of our decisions. This was important to our organization pre pandemic, and even more important now, during a time when our organizational decisions have such a direct impact on our patients, clients and their loved ones.
I am pleased to e-introduce you to Barb Masotti, the Chair of our HDGH PFAC as my June Guest Blogger.
PS: If you feel as though joining our PFAC would interest you, please visit https://www.hdgh.org/en/pfac for more information on how to become involved.
I’d like to start with heartfelt thanks to all who work for Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. Your commitment to uphold the values of respect, teamwork, social responsibility and compassion at the hospital makes my heart sing. You have worked hard, extremely hard, during this most difficult time – COVID-19. You have shifted gears, redeployed staff, accepted new assignments, reorganized everything and found ways to accomplish the work that needed to be done. Your continued dedication has fulfilled the goal of keeping patients, families, staff and community Safe. During these arduous times there can be no greater goal. On behalf of all the members of the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
I’ve been a community member of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare’s Patient and Family Advisory Council for five years. HDGH made a commitment to ensure that the Patient/Family Voice would be heard and valued. I can assure you that has occurred and is still occurring during this pandemic. At the onset of COVID-19, HDGH created a variety of new committees to deal with everchanging situations. The Patient/Family Voice is part of numerous discussions and is involved in decision making. HDGH quickly began to formulate visitor restrictions and PFAC was consulted from the beginning. Currently, we have PFAC members reviewing possible steps in a Tiered Visitation Policy as HDGH looks at reopening services. Some members were invited to the initial meetings that established the Family Support Team. The Ethics-COVID-19 meetings has a PFAC presence. In April, HDGH’s PFAC sent a letter of appreciation and thanks to all and in May was part of a video giving thanks for Nurses’ Week. The newly formed CEO Advisory Council had its first teleconference meeting and “yes” a PFAC member sits on this council also. As situations evolve, so does the involvement of the PFAC. HDGH continues to maintain that the PFAC is not just a “token”, and we want to applaud their leadership in hearing the Patient and Family Voice.
But…there is one more novel committee that I want to talk about and that’s the HDGH led Regional Patient Advocate and PFAC Committee. It is comprised of five regional hospitals; Erie Shores Healthcare, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Bluewater Health, Windsor Regional Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. This committee has come together to share strategies and experiences. Hopefully, this is the first step in initiating a healthcare system where the “gaps” are smaller and patients’ journeys are “smoother.” Yes, HDGH’s Patient and Family Voice is there too.
Now, you might be wondering what the future holds for the Patient and Family Advisory Council. Well, we’ve had our first “Zoom” meeting to catch up with everyone’s lives and there are more to come. It’s different, that’s for sure, and we long for the human connection that we’ve made with each other. We’re all finding our way – a new way for now.
I wish you all Strength, Health and Affection,
Barb Masotti, Chair of HDGH Patient and Family Advisory Council
May 11, 2020 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships, Faces of HDGH
Nov 1, 2019 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Something we’ve always admired from the CEO in Janice is her honesty. We always know when asking Janice a question or for her feedback that we’ll get nothing short of the truth.
As our HDGH’s communication team, this is something we value in her leadership. Her approachability, transparency and honesty is not just something felt by the Comms Team but qualities also honoured by our staff, patients and partners. For this month’s blog, we thought it would be fun to use this honesty to our advantage through a Q & A style blog; Real questions, real answers with very little fine tuning from behind the scenes :)
We hope you enjoy getting to know our CEO like we do.
-The HDGH Comms Team
Driven. I have been told by a lot of folks over the years that they perceive me that way and I’ve come to see it as a positive descriptor. I know where I’m going, what I have to do and I rarely get distracted from those two things.
Years ago I would have answered differently but now I believe success is about love; loving and being loved is for me the most important gift we are given as humans. I am a very successful woman on this level as I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love in return – life is good.
This one is tough because I made SO VERY MANY mistakes. One that stands out though given what I do now is not asking for help when I struggled with figuring things out after my son was born. In hindsight I was likely experiencing post-partum depression but at that time I didn’t know it and felt that as a nurse I should have it all figured out. I didn’t and as a result I wasn’t my best self for my family – especially my new son.
Managing the demands that come with the job – demands on my personal time and my family. For instance, I’ll be with my grandkids or my hubby and folks will approach me to chat about HDGH and the services we provide. Sometimes these are good conversations (mostly) but once in a while not so much! I think my family has become used to it and I’m working on that too.
So much but two things stand out for me right now. First, is the success of our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). I’m passionate about patient/family voice in healthcare and the work that’s happened here is inspirational. We’ve recruited some amazing folks who are making a real difference for our community and I’m really proud of that.
The second, and equally important, is the introduction and uptake from staff on the Unit Based Councils across the hospital. One of the reasons I got into management in the first place was because I felt I needed a voice – I needed to have a say in what happened in my work and in my workplace. To have these councils working now and making positive change is incredibly validating that HDGH is on the right track to creating a sustainable staff voice.
Neither. They are equally important. Instinct without expertise is guessing and expertise without instinct is rote performance. You need both, sprinkled with a whole lot of humility, kindness, willingness to be wrong and ability to laugh at yourself.
So many people really have inspired me over the years. It’s hard to choose just one. So I’ll take this question and say that as a female leader I look to other female leaders for inspiration and frankly, for the first time in my many years on this planet, there are so many women leaders on the world, national, provincial and local regional stage that it’s hard to pick just one. So in that order I’m inspired by the following women:
Globally, Angela Merkel who is a rock star world leader. She gets things done and takes no “stuff” from bullies disguised as Presidents.
Nationally, Elizabeth May who is knowledgeable, intelligent, prepared, authentic and not afraid to say she doesn’t know everything but what she does know she really really knows.
Provincially, I have to say I really admire Julia Hanigsberg who is the CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. She’s down to earth, social, kind and good at what she does. Best of all, she advocates for kids! Nothing is more inspirational to me than that.
Locally, lots of women inspire me every day to be a better leader and many of them work for HDGH. I won’t name them because they all know who they are :)
Stop taking yourself so seriously – everything doesn’t need to happen the way you think it should happen. Be a little less tightly wound and relax a bit more about where you are and what you’re doing. Life will happen. You don’t have to have it all figured out today. Oh and buy stock in a funny little company called Apple when you get the chance :)
Hug my grandkids. Multiple times.
From everybody who works here, gets care here or supports us in some way or another. Ideas come from commitment, compassion and collaboration. Nobody has all the answers and the best ideas come when we listen to each other.
Taking time to do all this stuff I’m talking about here – listening, building relationships and networks with others. Listening to the advice of others whom I admire and most importantly passing on the lessons I’ve learned to others. When I mentor young leaders, I always grow and learn a lot. That’s the beauty of growing old - learning that growth comes not by forcing it but by making room for it.
Sep 3, 2019 | Faces of HDGH
Happy September, all. Hope you had a great summer and are starting to feel the crisp fall breeze make its way through your windows (still a little early for pumpkin spice, if you ask me ;) Personally I will say this was one of the best summers I’ve had in many years, filled with the laughter of my shorties, time with my mother, restful afternoons contemplating all manner of things on my back deck and a sense of contentment that HDGH is in a very good place as a hospital and as a 1,200 strong community.
There is something about this time of year that makes me feel calm and optimistic. It could be the great summer I’ve had or the excitement of how the last few months of 2019 will close out – I’m looking forward to the approaching season and all the great things to come for us all at HDGH.
In June, we said goodbye to a very special member of our Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Family. Joanne Desjardins, retired from her post as Patient Advocate after many dedicated years with our organization. Joanne’s retirement is filled (by all accounts) with adventures, golfing and quality time with family and friends. She deserves all that and more!
Over the last few months, we spent very important and necessary time interviewing for HDGH’s new Patient Advocate and I’m delighted to introduce our guest blogger this month, Lisa Raffoul who has joined the team in this position. If you haven’t met her yet you have a treat ahead! She’s a special person with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working on an important community initiative that I’m involved with.
I can tell you that there is a feeling you get when speaking with Lisa that is both peaceful, trusting and comforting. She is experienced, knowledgeable and has spent many years supporting patients, families and loved-ones through her professional and personal work. You can read more about Lisa’s journey here.
Welcome Lisa to the HDGH fam. We are thrilled to have you.
Until next month,
I am super excited and thrilled to work as Patient Advocate at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. As a parent once navigating for supports and services for my son, I appreciate the importance of the role.
A time of illness can be stressful for patients as well as for their families. Plans can change unexpectedly, and it may be difficult to think clearly. Confusing as it is intended to be helpful, the healthcare system can be scary and intimidating. Nowadays, patients and families are gaining a more active role in their care and treatment and it’s vital for patients to have someone who can help them navigate through unfamiliar territory.
Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare is committed to patient and family centered care. The core concepts of this approach are apparent throughout the organization. Patients and families are treated with dignity and respect, incorporating their knowledge, values and beliefs into the planning and delivery of care. Patients and families are provided with timely and accurate information in order to effectively participate in their care and decision-making and are true partners in guiding policy and program development, education for practitioners, facility design and in the delivery of care.
I have been warmly welcomed and in my short time here, I already recognize that everyone is accountable to upholding the organizational values of respect, teamwork, compassion and social responsibility. Sharing those principles, I am proud to be part of the Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare team!
519.251.5111 ext. 74404
Aug 1, 2019 | Patient Stories, Faces of HDGH
This month’s blog comes from a very talented HDGH Physiotherapist and also, PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Jennifer George has been working on our inpatient rehab team at HDGH for over five years. She has spent the last 11 years of her career studying and reflecting on the importance of communication in our health and educational systems which is so important in all of our worlds.
Her latest book release, Communication is Care: 9 Empowering Ways to Guide Patient Healing is available through Amazon, Indigo (Windsor or online) and all e-book platforms globally – ie. Barnes and Noble (so cool!).
She is a mentor to future and current health providers on discovering their purpose, achieving fulfillment, and creating the best patient experience. We are so lucky to have Jennifer as part of our HDGH Family and our patients are equally as fortunate to have her as part of their rehab journey.
Those readers interested in getting in touch with Jennifer to discover more opportunities to connect, collaborate and revolutionize healthcare delivery can subscribe to www.jennifergeorge.co.
Thanks Jennifer for not only your contribution to August’s blog but also to the impact and lives you change each day through your work and words.
At one point or another, the majority of us will be patients of the healthcare system. Our fundamental need of good health and independence connects each and every one of us and grounds us in gratitude every day. If you think about every single experience you have ever had in your lifetime, it was rooted in your health in some way and has led you to where you are in this moment.
When I was asked to write this piece on “patient-centeredness,” I thought it would be simple to share my perspective with you. However, when I sat down to write my thoughts on what this means to me as a human being and as a healthcare provider, I suddenly felt overcome with information and emotion. I found myself reflecting on how I treat my patients everyday and how I would want to be treated if I were a patient.
Our healthcare system is starting to give a voice to the value of empathetic and compassionate care. As a result, it is revolutionizing patient-centeredness into human-centered care. I say this because at the core of it all, we are one – I am my patients and my patients are me. How many times have you thought to yourself as a healthcare provider, “My patient is the same age as me…my patient could be me…I will be this or that kind of patient one day…I would do or feel the same way if I were in my patient’s shoes…”.
In order to provide excellent care as a healthcare provider, you inevitably find connection to your patients in their full human form, not by their diagnosis or identification numbers. It is in this human connection that your patients are ultimately able to understand you and feel understood by you when they are in your care.
Human-centeredness is what unites us and is mutually reciprocated between you and your patients. It is the “flow of focus” on that one purpose that will give meaning to your patients’ involvement in their own outcomes and to your work in helping them get there.
This is witnessed in ongoing collaboration among the inter-professional team, consisting of shared empathy, being mindfully present, and empowering your patients to be their own advocates of care.
Most recently, I was met with a new patient who although consented to assessment, I found it difficult to connect with and establish rapport despite how many questions I asked. Upon leaving his room, I felt uncertain about my ability to understand him, and then it suddenly hit me: I circled back around and asked him what his experience had been like leading up to this admission.
Immediately, his spouse expressed that the only plan they were aware of was that he was going to go home from acute care with home care services. Yet, they were here at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. They were informed just hours before that the plan was to send him to our hospital. I felt they were still wrapping their heads around the past few hours of his sudden transition.
Now, it made sense to me as to why I felt there was a disconnect between us both. I then responded by asking if the original plan is what he still wanted. My patient did not say yes or no. He was overall very indifferent.
Although challenging, this critical conversation is what moved our alliance into the right direction - my patient had no interest in any tangible goals like how I could help to restore his strength and gait in that moment, he was just consenting to the assessment because everything up until this point was felt to be done unto him. This made him feel untrusting and unheard.
I reassured him that if he still wanted to stick to the original plan that we would do everything we could to support it safely. Most importantly, I reassured him that he will be fully informed and strongly encouraged to be a part of his care plan and goals. The plan will not happen to him, but with him guiding us, his care team.
He notably sighed and smiled in relief. I truly believe that had we not had this open conversation, I would not have been able to provide effective care due to my lack of complete understanding and his inability to be present in each therapeutic session.
Our alliance - now enhanced by intangible understanding and genuine concern for one another, would mark the beginning of the human-centered experience. An experience in which both the patient and the provider feel a shared sense of belonging, harmony, and peace.
Nov 5, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Happy November folks … this month’s blog is going to focus on appreciation and why saying thank you and being grateful to your employees is important. I’m going to start by taking you back to when I was a little girl. My parents worked hard but there was never anything extra in our household so it was truly miraculous the year that we got a television. The reason I tell you this is because one of the shows I remember most is Romper Room and the reason I remember this show was the Magic Mirror. For those of you who grew up in the Star Wars era and beyond where everything science fiction is possible I ask you to consider what it was like for a little girl in Scarborough, to sit in front of the TV, and see a beautiful lady with a magic mirror say that “she can look through her mirror and see all the boys and girls.” Kind of like Santa Claus. My sisters and I would watch and hope that she called our name … I don’t ever recall her calling my name but the anticipation of it – the knowledge that she knew that I was there –was powerful to me. It was fantasy, but for me, very real. One of the show’s hosts was interviewed about the Magic Mirror and the popularity of that segment where she would go to the desk and pick up the mirror. She said, “It has less to do with me. It has even less to do with the mirror. It has everything to do with that little kid sitting on the floor who I would talk directly to,” she says “Little children want to be recognized. They want to be noticed. Then as adults we still want to be validated and seen.”
That desire to be validated and seen is why saying THANK YOU and why this year’s staff appreciation week matters.
I’ve worked in many organizations where employees are valued and appreciated as well as those where that is not the case. There is a difference in how those organizations feel, perform and how patients, clients and families experience their care. Not surprisingly organizations where staff feel valued, appreciated and are told thank you outperform all the rest on most of the metrics that matter. Here, at HDGH, we want our staff to feel appreciated, thanked and validated – and we’re working hard on creating that kind of culture. Thus – the Changing Lives Recognition Program.
From an HR perspective, a blog from hracuity.com talks about 5 reasons why employee engagement matters (2015). One that jumped out at me is that employees like being connected and involved and seeing themselves as an important piece in the bigger picture – the Mission of the hospital if you will. I liked that and relate it to our commitment and ongoing support to the development of our unit based councils where staff voice plays an important part in achieving excellence on the unit. I believe staff voice matters – is actually critical in our success – and I commit our leadership team to continuing to support this journey.
The second perspective is from a blog by kabbage.com (2017) about how to value your employees. It’s focused on small business and you may wonder about its relevance in healthcare but I think in many ways we are a small business. One could argue that our individual units and programs are unique small business environments in some ways. The post articulates much of what I’m talking about here; everyone benefits from praise in the workplace, thank you matters and flexible environments where employees have discretionary decision making (unit councils again) matters. But what stood out to me is this statement; Everyone needs a mission. This is important because it leads to the discussion about what makes HDGH successful – everyone being part of the bigger picture and feeling that their contribution makes a difference. Being acknowledged, appreciated and thanked for your work leads to that connection.
Finally let’s talk about the numbers.
In 2017/2018 HDGH saw a 5% improvement in patients receiving information on admission, a 3% reduction of total patients falls, a 92.2% overall hand hygene and 94% of our patients telling us they would recommend HDGH to friends. HDGH is doing really really well on our quality and safety metrics. Our patients’ feedback is excellent and our engagement scores across all areas is good to great. That’s important because remember that our focus and our priority is to provide excellent patient/client care. Staff that are valued and appreciated are happier at work and the results here demonstrate that quite ably.
In closing let me be really clear and address our HDGH staff directly. It’s important to validate and appreciate you all in order to provide better patient care, to do well on our accreditation survey, to have better results on our QIP etc. All that is important. But – it’s not the best reason to say thank you to all of you for what you do. The best reason to say thank is that you are deserving of thanks – of acknowledgement – of appreciation.I want you to know that we get how tough the job is. We know how much you care. We know how tired you are sometimes. We know that sometimes you wonder if anyone is paying attention.
We do and we are.
Thank you for continuing to help us achieve great things for our patients, and clients and our community. We appreciate it and we appreciate you.
I appreciate you.
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