June 12, 2018
Although June is stroke awareness month, our District Stroke Centre continues to raise awareness all year long. We promote and provide community support groups for stroke patient and caregivers as well as support ongoing education and communication to care providers across the continuum.
To help ensure an exceptional patient experience on the Integrated Stroke Unit, members of the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team partnered with the March of Dimes to establish a “Stroke to Stroke” peer visiting program. Patients who experienced care in the Integrated Stroke Unit and then were supported in their home by the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team were offered an opportunity to “give back” by becoming hospital volunteers on the Integrated Stroke Unit. Those volunteers provide one-to-one visits with stroke patients, providing conversation and hope by setting the example of what recovery can look like and/or adjustments to a new normal. Positive feedback has been received from the volunteers, patients and staff involved in the program.
More than 50 stroke patients have experienced the support of a stroke peer volunteer since the launch of the program six months ago. A patient survey has been developed and will be used to inform improvements to the program.
A special thank you is extended to Grace Benedict, Erin Bickell and Holly Graham, of the Community Stroke Rehabilitation Team, for the vision to bring this program to life. The support of Cheryl Hunt, Corporate Lead Volunteer Services, has been much appreciated.
Rob Tompkins sums it up from his perspective. “After I had my stroke in 2016, no one told me what life was going to be like; I really thought I would go back to being 'normal'. But your life does change in many ways and I think helping to volunteer helps me to encourage others and give them hope.”
L to R: Glenda Murray, Janice Bertens, Greg Misener, Brian Frame and Brent Webley
Robert with Integrated Stroke Unit Staff L to R: Sandra Ross, Unit Clerk; Katie Lauzon, RN; Colleen Frayne, RN, Team Leader; Robert King, Volunteer, Stephanie Baril, RPN