The great indoors are calling and we need your help!
The Behavioural Health Unit at St. Peter's Hospital supports 63 patients with a diagnosis of dementia whose behaviours present a risk to self or others. Over the course of their stay, patients are assessed and treated in a secure environment so that they can ultimately be supported in their transition to an alternate level of care. To optimize quality of life for patients during their stay, the unit has engaging activity spaces so patients have opportunities for socialization, cognitive stimulation, engagement and…fun!
Currently, many activities happen in the multipurpose room. From having meals and visiting with family to group activities and programs, it's a busy and well used space. While the activities in the room make it vibrant and lively, we want to refresh the area so that patients feel welcomed and engaged right away when they enter the room. Our vision is to transform the space so that patients feel like they are in an outdoor patio surrounded by a garden. By getting new furniture and installing decals to cover the length of the walls, the room will look like a beautiful garden, complete with pickable flowers on the walls! Many patients on the unit spent springs and summers gardening and we want to help spark memories of their past as well as create new meaningful moments. This room will continue to be the hub of activity and socialization it already is with the added sensation of sitting outside on a beautiful summer day.
St. Peter's Hospital, part of Hamilton Health Sciences, is a complex continuing care hospital in Hamilton that provides care for 250 patients across four inpatient units; Palliative Care, Behavioral Health, Restorative Care and Complex Continuing Care.
While St. Peter's Hospital may be best known for its Palliative Care unit, which is the largest unit of its kind in Canada, it provides a unique range of highly specialized programs to support patients across its other units. Specifically, the Behavioural Health unit which treats patients who have a diagnosis of dementia and exhibit challenging behaviours, including verbally or physically responsive behaviours in relation to exit seeking, wandering, activities of daily living and social interaction. Typically, patients spend three months on the Behavioural Health Unit where they are assessed, treated and ultimately supported in their transition to an alternate level of care.
The goal of the Behavioural Health unit is for patients and families alike to understand what the appropriate level of care is moving forward and build plans to ensure patients get the support they need. With 63 patients being cared for at any one time, the Behavioural Health unit provides a secure, safe and welcoming environment for assessment and treatment.
A True Survivor
Lolla Ivascu of Hamilton has survived both cancer and a stroke, but she has never lost her determination to experience life to its fullest.
"I thought it was just the flu," recalls Lolla. "I wasn't getting any better and I kept losing weight, so I went to the Emergency Department at Hamilton General Hospital. That's when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer."
Lolla was transferred to Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, where she underwent chemotherapy. Her kidney was subsequently removed, which ultimately put the cancer into remission, but her journey with Hamilton Health Sciences was not over yet.
"It started off as just an average day in November 2016. Suddenly I couldn't lift my arm or leg. It was a stroke. I was rushed to The General, where I had an emergency operation to unblock a blood vessel."
After spending two months at The General, Lolla was transferred to St. Peter's Hospital for an extensive program of rehabilitation.
"It was a major adjustment being confined to a wheelchair and not being able to dress myself or do things that I'd always taken for granted," she says. "I was determined that I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair."
Lolla regularly works with physiotherapists in the Restorative Care Gym, where she uses the exercise equipment to strengthen her muscles and regain her sense of balance. She is now able to get out of bed on her own, dress herself, and even walk with the assistance of a cane.
"I also do a lot of hand exercises that help me learn how to pick up small objects," Lolla explains. "I see improvement every day. Slow and steady wins the race."
Although Lolla is excited about returning home, she is greatly appreciative of the care she has received at St. Peter's Hospital.
"It's a tightly knit community here with all the staff and patients. The doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers are all good people who really care."
This is a particularly exciting time for Lolla, as her family is preparing to welcome her first grandchild this year. The prospect of becoming a grandmother is a major motivating force in her rehabilitation.
"Donors should support The Foundation because donations make a real difference in the lives of patients and their families," she says. "I keep getting stronger thanks to the care I received. You'll see - one of these days I'll be running after my grandkid!"
St. Peter's Hospital Foundation, as part of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, is focused on raising funds in support of St. Peter's Hospital and its programs. The Foundation provides funding for leading-edge equipment and patient amenities, innovative research initiatives, redevelopment of patient care spaces, and the education and training of health care providers.