A Healing Partnership

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.
 

Dispatches from Outside our Hospital Walls

Dispatches from Outside our Hospital Walls

By Carmine Stumpo, VP Programs
 
Rain or shine…on any given day, you’re likely to find Risha Raja, an occupational therapist out and about in our community.
 
She’s part of our Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) at Toronto East General Hospital. They’re a dedicated, inter-professional team of nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and physicians.
 
Our ACTT helps some of the most vulnerable people in East Toronto. And it’s just one of several TEGH community-based programs that really does bring care closer to home.
 
As Vice President, Programs at TEGH I have the privilege of working with all clinical areas. Everyday, I see tremendous compassion and commitment in the patient care we provide across the entire spectrum of age and illness within TEGH.
 
So why am I talking about what goes on outside our hospital walls?
 
Because it’s a very different world outside our walls.
 
And it’s equally important to know and understand how we work with our partners, so that our efforts as a hospital extend well into the community. It’s about creating a strong network of community services.
 
Shadowing Risha, I saw firsthand how a strong network of community services ensures that folks – like many of ACTT’s clients – will rely less on our Emergency Department.
 
In simple terms: a strong, supportive community network will be able to catch our most vulnerable before they slip through the cracks.
 
As care increasingly shifts to the community, we’ll have to rely on innovative partnerships and our current partners to provide that supportive network.
 
Whether you work inside or outside our hospital walls delivering care, we’re all in this together. We’re all united by the fact that we’re here to provide the best care for our patients and their families.
 
It keeps our community healthy – and happy.
 
I’ve realized that I really need to get out more. And I can’t wait. In the meantime, please watch my first of Dispatches from outside our Hospital Walls.
 
Follow me on Twitter @Stumpo_Carmine.