Niagara Health honoured healthcare professionals who embody the spirit of collaboration at the 13th annual Interprofessional Practice Awards on Thursday.
This year’s award recipients were chosen for consistently demonstrating excellence in caring, teamwork, forward thinking and innovation.
"Congratulations to all of the nominees and award recipients. Their work is truly inspiring and highlights the importance of collaborating as a team to provide excellent patient experiences and quality care," said Derek McNally, Executive Vice-President, Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Executive. "We know there are strong benefits for patients and their families when healthcare professionals from all disciplines work together and share knowledge and best practices."
Interprofessional Practice is the combining of professionals from across disciplines into one healthcare team to optimize patient care. This model allows Niagara Health teams to share information, knowledge and best practices to improve patient outcomes.
A total of 51 nominations were received for this year’s awards.
"The quality of nominees is reflective of the extraordinary caring that is being provided across our organization," said Zeau Ismail, Niagara Health’s Director of Interprofessional Practice, Ethics & Research. "In partnership, we accomplish more and we thank all our Interprofessional Practice colleagues for their ongoing collaborative efforts to improve the patient experience."
Niagara Health is also grateful to the Ontario Public Service Employees Union for their generous contributions and sponsorship to make Thursday’s banquet a success.
Here are the 2019 Interprofessional Practice Award recipients:
Excellence in Clinical Expertise (Individual Practice Award)
Sarah Chapman-Jay, Speech Language Pathologist, Greater Niagara General Site
Sarah demonstrates a genuine love of her work as a Speech Language Pathologist. One of Sarah’s patients was recently diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder. Sarah researched the disease to make sure she was providing evidence-based therapy to help the patient’s communication. She also helped navigate referrals to help the patient communicate more effectively with his family and friends. Sarah inspires other staff with her commitment to the department and with her supportive and selfless attitude.
Debbie Fenwick, Physiotherapist, Greater Niagara General Site
Debbie is a member of the team that piloted the new bundled-care program for post-operative hip and knee arthroplasty patients in Out-Patient Physiotherapy at our GNG site. She played an important role in developing the post-operative physiotherapy care patients received. Debbie developed hand-outs for patients that explained the exercises and desired outcomes. She developed a patient satisfaction survey, which patients completed anonymously at the end of their treatment program. The survey results demonstrated high patient satisfaction with the program.
Alexandria Giles, Occupational Therapist, St. Catharines Site
Alexandria is an excellent addition to the interdisciplinary team. She continues to enhance her knowledge by attending training sessions and conferences and sharing her knowledge with her colleagues. She was a key collaborator in the introduction of new bed mattresses on the Woolcott Wing at the Welland Site. Alexandria was an excellent resource for the new restraint policy and was a strong advocate for her patients when supporting people with dementia and the least-restraints policy. Alexandria is enthusiastic, driven, and continuously optimistic.
Excellence in Professional Competence & Development (Education Award)
Amanda Gauthier, Dietitian, Welland Site
Amanda regularly goes above and beyond to deliver quality care and work effectively with the interprofessional team. Recently, a new dietitian explained how Amanda provided her with support, answering questions and providing feedback to improve her practice. Amanda continuously shares her knowledge and thought process with her colleagues. The new dietitian noted she feels she is developing the confidence she needs to independently practice dietetics, thanks to Amanda’s support. Amanda leads by example and inspires others to put quality patient care, professional development and evidence-informed practice at the forefront of their work.
Gabrielle Roberts, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Greater Niagara General Site
Gabrielle consistently provides the highest level of patient care. She works with her patients in the Occupational Therapy treatment room, encouraging and assisting them to achieve their rehabilitative goals. Her optimism and outlook motivates patients and staff around her. She goes above and beyond to research and provide the appropriate equipment and process for organization within the department. Her dedication to providing orientation, teaching students, treating patients and supporting other staff members reflects and exemplifies the CORE values of Niagara Health. She treats all patients with the highest level of respect and compassion.
Myuran Sivarajah, Senior Medical Lab Technologist, Welland Site
Myuran is a knowledgeable technologist in all fields of the lab. He is a source of information and knowledge for staff when they have questions or issues in the lab. Myuran makes his colleagues’ days less stressful so they can focus on getting patients’ results out quickly and efficiently to physicians caring for patients. He is as a wonderful individual who deserves recognition for his dedication and commitment to his profession.
Excellence in Interprofessional Practice Collaboration (Team Award)
New Trauma Pathway Team, Senayit Tekabo, Lydia Mazzuto, Kyle Landry, Kathy Wlodarczyk, Sean Robb, Lori McGrinder, Vonda Comeau, Michele Parise, Robert Cosby, Mental Health and Addictions, St. Catharines Site
The New Trauma Pathway Team demonstrates excellence in interdisciplinary collaboration. They are providing more specific psychoeducation and psychotherapy through the new Trauma Pathway Program. The team strives to recognize each other’s professional lens to provide comprehensive care. The development of this program has required consultation and supervision from experts outside of Niagara Health in order for the team to provide the most effective, time-tested and studied modalities.
Sixth-floor Medicine Team, Welland Site: Pamela Adam, Marsha Ambeau, Antony Treesamol, Jolly Augustine, David Beach, Chelsea Benson, Katrina Bolkeny, Katherine Curry, Alex D’Ilario, Christine, Diotte, Ashley Dockrill, Jennifer Dulaj, Peter Feleter, Lindy Finkbeiner, Jessica Flannigan, Jennifer Freeman, Doris Frost, Stephen Forget, Tracey Fowler, Melissa German, Tiffany German, Tina Gichard, Marie Gillmore, Keith Gracey, Samantha Grenier, Tammy Harding, Chelsea Havran, Valerie Hill, Caroline House, Katelyn Hucik, Sherry Interisano, Natalia Jankowski, Erin Kis, Ashley Kuijer, Liz Kukan; Jenny Law, Ilan Maister, Leanne Macsai, Donna Mantesso, Kelsey Martin, Rachelle Noel, Melissa Paterak, Rebecca Parry, Rebecca Pembleton, Kassandra Pick, Lyn Potter, Emily Redwood, Melissa Reid, Corinne Samms, Patricia Serrame, Subhash Suchin, Ashley Topiwala, Carolle Vaillancourt, Barbara VanderWeir, Leah Warankie, Rhonda White, Lisa Wort; Jennifer Lee, Dr. Sobkowski, Dr. Gupta, Dr. Habdank, Dr. Gallab, Dr. Makar, Dr. Gabrielli, Dr. Mazzetti.
In 2018, the Medicine Program at the Welland Site introduced a Nurse Practitioner/General Internal Medicine Model with a goal of providing a consistent care approach to patients. By consistently involving all team members in the care planning early in the day, the system became more efficient and the team worked in a unified fashion to expedite diagnostics and assessments. The sixth-floor team has seen reduced length of stay for patients and a higher volume of discharges since the model’s introduction.
Excellence in Patient and Family as Partners
Debbie Potashnyk, Recreation Therapist, Douglas Memorial Site
Debbie engages patients and families in all of the recreation therapy activities at Douglas Memorial. Recently, she brought in therapy ponies from a local organization for patients and families. It is not unusual to see Debbie dancing with patients while a patient plays along on the piano. Her optimistic and joyful approach brings smiles to everyone.
Jennifer Lamothe, Occupational Therapist, Greater Niagara General Site
Jennifer’s practice within Occupational Therapy consistently reflects the strength of hope and optimism for patients to achieve their optimal level of functional independence. She takes a patient-centered approach, listening and collaborating with the patients to progress through rehabilitation. She provides connections with community partners and resources for patients to access upon discharge. Her empathy, dedication, and consideration reflect her commitment to providing the highest level of patient care. Jennifer has taken the initiative to provide promotion of her profession, organizing events and bringing a greater awareness of Occupational Therapy at Niagara Health.
Excellence in Leadership by Providing Student Preceptorship
Helen Kim, Pharmacist, St. Catharines Site
Helen’s teaching approach is well-balanced between supporting students and challenging them to uphold the highest standards of patient care. She is proactive and highly engaged in the planning of student and internship training. Helen provides valuable feedback to integrate student and internship rotations to provide a high-quality learning experience for students.
Excellence in Providing Safe, Quality Patient Care by a Rising Star
Anna Glauser, Pharmacist, St. Catharines Site
Anna demonstrates extraordinary tenacity, positivity, and effort to be the best that she can. She started an innovative project involving the record keeping of long-acting antipsychotic injections to prevent adverse double dosing for vulnerable patients in the Mental Health program. Anna is always smiling and positive.
Excellence in Ethics and/or Research
Marilee Stickles-White, Manager Clinical Nutrition, St. Catharines Site
Marilee has been an inspiring leader of a joint Registered Dietitians/Speech Language Pathologists subcommittee across all Niagara Health sites, as well as Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre and the community. Her work involves introducing, educating and working on the implementation of the new International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative. Marilee is considerate and professional in her approach to every meeting and she anticipates the next steps and communicates very clearly and effectively with all involved.
Excellence in Innovation Award
Petra Fraelic, Occupational Therapist, Douglas Memorial Site
Petra was instrumental in helping a patient with no fingers feed himself. Through her knowledge, she found a specialized splint that would hold utensils, allowing the patient to feed himself. Thanks to Petra, the patient now has more independence.
Jillian Tweedy, Occupational Therapist, St. Catharines Site
Jillian worked with a patient who had barriers returning home safely. Jillian helped coordinate the equipment and resources necessary to allow the patient to return home. She volunteered to complete a home visit to assess if the appropriate equipment could be put in place. She also met with the Occupational Therapy team from the community at the patient’s home to help transition the patient out of hospital. Her creativity resulted in better patient care, and helped the patient feel confident that he could manage at home.
Darlene Venditti, Clinical Leader, St. Catharines Site
As part of the new Highly Integrated Rehabilitation Outreach Services Transition team, Darlene has been a key leader and contributor to generating new ideas, championing their implementation, and leading the team. She assisted with the planning of the orientation for the new team, hiring of the staff, and working with partners such as Niagara Health’s Decision Support team to create a weekly data-board and Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre. She is an out-of-the-box thinker who makes significant contributions to the healthcare team.