Kemptville District Hospital’s new Convalescent Care program gives patients the care they need to return home quickly

Joyce Charter in her home away from home at KDH.

Joyce Charter in her home away from home at KDH

FEBRUARY 25, 2014 – A sudden misstep on a staircase in her home landed Kemptville resident Joyce Charter in an operating room at Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital. During her complex surgery, plates and screws were required to repair the broken tibia and fibula in her right leg. As she began to recover, Joyce (83) was told she would not be able to do any weight-bearing for six weeks. In a few days she was ready to be discharged from the hospital, but was not able to return home, where her husband Doug (86) has health challenges of his own.

Joyce learned that she was a good candidate to recuperate in a facility that provided convalescent care, a short-stay rehabilitative program. Married for 60 years and inseparable, Joyce and Doug were devastated to learn that Joyce would be placed in convalescent care in Ottawa, leaving Doug to cope on his own in Kemptville for six weeks.

At that point, the couple’s family physician from Kemptville, Dr. Tania Zakhem, who also provides care at Kemptville District Hospital (KDH), pointed out that their local hospital now offers convalescent care. The next day, Joyce was on her way to KDH.

“We were ecstatic when we learned I could recuperate at KDH,” said Joyce. “We really couldn’t face a six-week separation. This way, our sons can bring Doug to the hospital to spend the day with me, then pick him up after work.”

KDH began offering convalescent care late last fall, having partnered with the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) to offer the program, which helps patients recover their strength, endurance and functioning before returning to their homes in the community.

KDH’s eight convalescent care beds are part of up to 250 new convalescent care beds in Ontario designated under a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care initiative announced in January, 2013. The increase is designed to help older Ontarians stay healthy and independent at home, avoiding or delaying admission to long-term care.

Upon admission to convalescent care at KDH, each patient is assessed by both a physiotherapist and occupational therapist, and individualized treatment plans are developed. The patient’s convalescent care team meets regularly to plan for his or her needs. The multidisciplinary team is made up of a physician, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a pharmacist, dietitian, social worker, discharge planner and volunteers.

With regular physiotherapy and occupational therapy, daily recreational activities and assistance with the activities of daily living, KDH’s new program gives patients everything they need to get back home quickly.

“With all these exercises, I’m going to be in the best shape I’ve been in in years when I leave here!” said Joyce.

KDH is the only hospital in the Champlain LHIN offering convalescent care – the other convalescent care programs in the LHIN are provided at long-term care facilities. Locating the program in a hospital means that the x-ray department, lab and emergency room are close at hand, as are medical specialists like orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Steve Oliver.

In consultation with the patient’s surgeon, Dr. Oliver provides follow-up care for convalescent care patients at KDH like Joyce who have had orthopaedic surgery. For Joyce this had been another benefit of recuperating at KDH: “We were concerned that I’d have to travel to Ottawa for follow-up appointments,” she said. “I don’t know how I would have managed that.”

Prior to the opening of KDH’s convalescent care unit, the program was available within the Champlain LHIN only in central Ottawa. A retired registered nurse, Joyce knows the value of recuperating close to home and family and has now experienced it first-hand. “Kemptville and area residents are very fortunate to have this wonderful facility close at hand,” she said. “For Doug and me, it’s been a lifesaver.”

About Kemptville District Hospital

Kemptville District Hospital is Accredited with Exemplary Standing, the highest ranking bestowed by Accreditation Canada. Committed to building healthier communities, we are a model of hospital-led integrated health services within the provincial health system. Kemptville District Hospital consistently ranks among the top hospitals in Ontario for both patient and employee satisfaction. We pride ourselves on being a good partner within the system. We operate on two sites and provide primary care management services, acute care hospital services, and advanced orthopaedic care.

For further information contact:

Jenny Read, Communications Lead

T: 613-258-6133 Ext. 223