Celebrating the ‘heroes and warriors’ who help the elderly

AAPA winners
Staff members were awarded for their work with elderly patients during the Specialized Approach to Senior Care Week. From left: Eva Gardos, Assistant Head Nurse, Psychiatry; Anne Sophie Dubuc, Nurse, Internal Medicine; Julie Valiquette, Physiotherapist, Allied Health team; Patricia Wilkham, PAB, Surgical Short Stay Care Unit; Emmanuel Paquette, Nurse, Surgery Oncology; Sophie-Line Kettenbeil, Head Nurse, Surgery Care Unit; France Savoie, Nurse, Internal Medicine and Amandeep Kaur, Nurse, Geriatrics.

It may not always be possible for a hospital to restore the health of an elderly patient, but neither should that patient suffer from a decline brought about by care that does not adequately meet their specific needs during their stay. All too often, however, hospitalized adults over the age of 75 experience a significant loss in function. As many as fifty per cent suffer from malnutrition, while one in every four may be harmed by an undesirable effect linked to a medication.

AAPA nutrition
An awareness event was organized for Specialized Approach to Senior Care Week at the Jewish General Hospital. Staff from the Department of Clinical Nutrition discussed the importance of proper nutrition for seniors. From left: Belinda Lobo, Dietician, and Donna Schafer, Chief of Clinical Nutrition for CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.

To guard against these grim outcomes, staff at the JGH have adopted the Specialized Approach to Senior Care (AAPA), which helps elderly patients maintain their autonomy throughout their time in hospital. Patients that have been educated about physical activity and proper nourishment, for example, usually benefit from a shorter length of stay in hospital, and are at a lower risk of placement in a long-term care centre following their discharge.

“There are very effective steps that the healthcare teams can take to help protect this vulnerable group from decline during their hospital stay,” says Isabelle Caron, Associate Director of Nursing. “It could be as simple as making sure they’re cognitively stimulated, or that they receive help and encouragement to walk regularly and eat properly.”

For the second consecutive year, the AAPA committee organized a week of events to celebrate the hard work of staff devoted to AAPA practices and to promote the importance of caring for the elderly.

Sixteen employees were given excellence awards for their dedication to elderly patients, based on nominations by their colleagues:

  • Eva Gardos, Assistant Head Nurse, Psychiatry
  • Patricia Wilkham, PAB, Surgical Short Stay Care Unit
  • Amandeep Kaur, Nurse, Geriatrics
  • Anne Sophie Dubuc, Nurse, Internal Medicine
  • Shiela Manglo, Nurse, Orthopedics
  • Emma Carandang, Nurse, Oncology
  • Rose Abi Rachel, Nurse, Emergency
  • Claudie Desgagné, Nurse, Intensive Care Unit
  • Alexandra Barroca, Nurse, Cardiology
  • Dana Dayan, Nurse, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit
  • France Savoie, Nurse, Internal Medicine
  • Patricia Martel, Nurse, Hematology Oncology
  • Mojgan Kamangary, Nurse, Surgery Care Unit
  • Emmanuel Paquette, Nurse, Surgery Oncology
  • Victor Hugo Happi, Nurse, Neurology
  • Julie Valiquette, Physiotherapist, Allied Health team

“This award means a lot to me because everything I do, I do from my heart,” said recipient Ms. Wilkham. “I love working with the elderly. Every weekend I work, and I give my best to the patients.”

“At my age, it’s a big honour to get a prize like this,” said Ms. Gardos, who has been working at the JGH since 1973. “I was quite surprised, but it’s a nice feeling to be recognized.”

“This award ceremony is very special for us,” affirmed Ms. Caron. “We’re taking the time to congratulate heroes and warriors in healthcare that are there for elderly patients on a daily basis.”