Initiative brings home to Rehab
Earlier this year, feeling ill, Gordon Glen was rushed to hospital. Medical staff determined he’d had a mini-stroke. He’d lost some functional abilities and, as a result, came to Saskatoon City Hospital’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Centre.
“The centre has 35 beds,” reports Marla Fieber, manager of Interprofessional Practice. “The intensive rehab program is for people recovering from a variety of injuries and conditions such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, neurological disorders, amputations, and multiple trauma.”
The centre is ideal for helping people like Glen overcome catastrophe. He spent several weeks regaining function and working toward living as independently as possible.
His time in the hospital was beyond expectations but he was surprised by at least one aspect of his stay. “I expected to be in a typical hospital setting with white walls. I was pleased to find it wasn’t like that all.”
Glen arrived as centre staff were completing a three-year initiative – Bringing Home to Rehab. It was funded by donors to Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation.
“Our vision with Bringing Home to Rehab was to enhance care and help people plan for a new part of their life in an environment they know and understand,” says Dr. Gary Linassi, provincial head of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “We wanted to make the ward a more comfortable place, where patients can think about what the future holds rather than dwell on what’s happened.”
The centre’s psychologist, Dr. Fern Stockdale Winder, says prior to the initiative the stark nature of the ward affected some patients negatively. “The environment was very institutional, making it difficult for patients, especially those who have experienced trauma. They found it challenging to be in that type of setting.”
The overlying goal of Bringing Home to Rehab was to create a more physically and culturally friendly environment, which included painting walls and entryways in bright colours while adding furniture that was less institutional looking.
Glen, who could take himself from the ward to the outpatient physical therapy clinic across the hall, says varying colours were helpful. “The different colours were nice to look at but they also helped me find my way back and forth. It was great to do this by myself so that I knew I could when I went back home.”
Allyson Cross is another patient whose recovery was enhanced by the project. This past summer she was seriously injured in a head-on car accident. Cross broke her right femur and sustained major ligament, artery, and nerve damage to her other leg. Her injuries required surgeries and week-long stays in all three hospitals in Saskatoon
“I moved around a lot so I was excited to come to Rehab at Saskatoon City Hospital because I knew it meant I was nearing the end of my recovery,” Cross says. She spent about three weeks as an in-patient on the ward and will return for regular physiotherapy for the next several months.
“I’ve known of a few people who spent time on the ward,” she says, “but I’d never been here until I was a patient. I was really surprised by how it looks. Both my dad and I said it’s more like a hotel than hospital.”
Cross adds that the décor and enhancements made the ward friendlier. “It was better for communicating with other patients, which was great because they’re the people who understand what you’re going through. I also liked the fact some of the paintings were done by patients. Seeing these as well as the mural was inspiring. They displayed all the great work that’s done here.”
Cross is referring to the art made by patients during recreation therapy as well as the stunning mural by First Nations artist Kevin Peeace. Peeace created the mural on site, drawing inspiration and input from patients. The mural generated comfort not only for patients but also for families. “My nephew was on the unit this winter and seeing this beautiful piece of art reflecting indigenous peoples was very heartwarming and welcoming in a space and place that’s often stark and sterile,” says Dr. Rose Roberts.
Dr. Roberts thanked the centre’s staff, the Foundation, the hospital and especially donors for “this effort in fostering reconciliation and seeing ourselves reflected in the surroundings.”
Saskatoon City Hospital’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Centre is located on the seventh floor of the hospital.