Helping patients in their quest to live fully

After months as an inpatient in St. Joseph’s Regional Rehabilitation Program, waiting for a bed in long-term care, Jenna found purpose again, in special jobs given to her by her care team.

Jenna’s eyes light up as she walks through the halls of Parkwood Institute Main Building helping other patients get where they need to go. Since being admitted to hospital in April 2021, the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) inpatient team caring for Jenna noticed her increasing frustration with not being able to go home and not having a bed in LTC. For patients like Jenna with neurobehavioral disorders due to brain injury, having too much spare time can also trigger behavioural responses.

"Her confidence and positivity grew so muh and the energy she gave to other patients and myself was heartwarming..."

The team knew behind these behaviours, Jenna was kindhearted and helpful. Using their collective expertise in neurobehavioural rehabilitation, they brainstormed ideas on how to engage Jenna in meaningful, purposeful and functional activities. 

Jenna and Bonnie Haynes holding linen bags standing in hallway at Parkwood Institute

Program porter, Bonnie Haynes partnered with Jenna to bring other patients to scheduled appointments throughout the building. “I took Jenna under my wing... having her help me porter patients to and from therapies. She also took on tasks such as finding the patient’s room, monitoring their schedules, opening doors and manning the elevator. Her confidence and positivity grew so much and the energy she gave to other patients and myself was heartwarming. Her eagerness and willingness to help others is stunning...” 

Jenna took on many other tasks on various units during her time at Parkwood Institute, making anniversary cards for patients, stocking gowns, gloves and linens, helping staff make linen runs, gathering bagged laundry in the hallway and bringing it to the utility room to be sent for laundering. Her efforts were recognized by members of the EMG team, who presented her with a lab coat. 

Undoubtedly the friendly greetings Jenna extended to everyone brightened their day and enhanced her sense of self-worth and value. “When I gave her positive reinforcement by saying how proud I was of her and acknowledging how amazing she's doing she simply said, ‘I'm really good at it, I want to work here,’ " says rehabilitation assistant Anelise Collrin.

Behaviour consultant Dave Furac was ecstatic with Jenna’s progress throughout her admission, “She had significant improvements in her demeanor and ability to function and regulate her emotions and behaviours. We were able to discharge Jenna home in mid-September and know our ability to think outside of the box with our rehabilitation treatments has really helped her in her quest to live fully.”

Did you know – St. Joseph’s is a provincial leader in providing neurobehavioural rehabilitation to patients with acquired and other brain injuries? Our Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), opened in 2001, providing a unique model of care to help patients regain as much function as possible and get them back to living full lives. In 2021 St. Joseph’s incorporated the NRC team into the well-established Regional Rehabilitation Program, bringing experts from various health disciplines together to provide world renowned care. The team recently marked their 20 year anniversary to celebrate their longstanding commitment to excellence.  


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