Healthbeat – Family CARE Grants Making a Big Difference for Rehab Patients


[captionpix imgsrc=”” captiontext=”Tamara Eckman, who is undergoing rehab for her shoulder, can adjust the table height for the arm bicycle. The table and other equipment for the Rehabilitation Department were purchased thanks to a Health Sciences Foundation / Volunteer Association Family CARE Grant.” width=”620″ height=”766″]

THUNDER BAY – Healthbeat – Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference to patient care. That’s the idea behind the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation / Volunteer Association Family CARE Grants. These employee-driven projects allow staff members to identify areas of improvement in patient care, providing the funding needed to make it happen.

Rehabilitation Services at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is an excellent example. This department provides various rehab services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and speech therapy. Services are designed to help patients reach their maximum potential after an injury, medical event like a stroke, or a joint replacement.

Having the right equipment is key. For example, the department has what is called an arm bicycle. This equipment helps people in wheelchairs or those with a leg injury build strength in their upper body and improve their cardiovascular health. However, the table the department originally had for the arm bicycle couldn’t accommodate all wheelchairs, making it difficult or impossible for some people to use the equipment. A Family CARE (Care Advancements Recommended by Employees) Grant provided the funds needed to purchase a specialized table.

“The new height-adjustable table allows the patient’s wheelchair to safely fit under the table and ensure proper positioning of the patient to allow them to fully participate in their rehabilitative program,” said Emmanuelle Rousseau, Team Leader in the Rehabilitation Department.

The table can be adjusted to a more comfortable height for those standing to use it as well.

Rousseau also received funding for 10 anti-tippers for wheelchairs, specialized foot drop splints used to prevent heel pressure sores and foot drop in bedridden patients, and two dedicated wheelchairs to help bring inpatients down to the Rehabilitation Department on the first floor. Previously, volunteers would have to spend time locating other wheelchairs throughout the Health Sciences Centre.

“The availability of these two chairs helps to ensure that the inpatients are able to attend their rehabilitation session with the occupational therapist or physiotherapist in a timely fashion, which maximizes their therapy time,” Rousseau said.

Theses relatively small grants made a huge difference to patient care.

“Without the CARE Grants, none of the new equipment received in 2011 could have been purchased due to budget constraints,” she said.

These grants would not be possible without the outstanding support of donors to both the Health Sciences Foundation and the Volunteer Association.
“The Health Sciences Foundation created the Family CARE Grant as a way to honour the role that all employees play in patient care,” said Katherine Frape, Executive Office Coordinator at the Health Sciences Foundation.

You can help, too. Make your donation directly to the Family CARE Grant program by dropping by the Health Sciences Foundation Donations Centre (next to Robin’s Donuts at the Health Sciences Centre), by making a donation at the Volunteer Association (to the left of the Grand Staircase on the second floor), or by calling (807) 345-HOPE (4673). Even a small donation can make a big difference!

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