A Healing Partnership

By Carmine Stumpo
VP Programs, Michael Garron Hospital
It’s something that most of us take for granted: the ability to swallow our food or drink or simply say, “Hello.” But for many people in our hospital, this is a tremendous feat. A few weeks ago I shadowed Lorraine Zandi-Wong, a speech language pathologist (SLP), on the job as she partnered with patients, helping them to regain the ability to swallow and speak again.
I had the opportunity to not only witness her expertise and skill, but also see the incredible teamwork and partnership between the health care team, support services and patients. And if you “follow the food” – that is observe how a vital need is customized for patients – you’ll see that teamwork is the only way to ensure high-quality, safe, patient-centred care.
In this edition of Dispatches from the Frontlines, you’ll meet Allan and his wife, Regina. Allan was admitted to B3, internal medicine, after suffering a stroke. He was unable to swallow properly or speak. As soon as patients like Allan are admitted, the partnership with a SLP begins. From the initial patient consult and “swallow test” to determine a patient’s ability to swallow solids and liquids; to working with dietitians and food services to ensure food and drinks are safe to consume while in hospital; to partnering with nursing staff to educate caregivers in how to mix foods and drinks at home, continual communication and collaboration with other health professionals and support services is key.

The SLP is part of a strong team of professionals from dietitians, to nurses, to food service workers, to physicians who all work together for one goal: to help folks like Allan and Regina return home with the confidence that they can continue the healing journey outside the walls of our hospital.
Watch more Dispatches from the Frontlines here.
Join me on Twitter @Stumpo_Carmine.

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