Relishing relationships at Garden Terrace
Assistant DOC reflects on first few months on the job
July 28, 2011
With three months under her belt as the assistant director of care (DOC) at Garden Terrace in Kanata, Christine Schyf says the relationships she's building with residents and family members have been the most rewarding aspect of her new position.
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Schyf is a registered nurse with a background in hospital/clinical settings and public health who hadn't worked in a long-term care home since she was training to be a nurse in the early 90s.
After working in Montreal , she moved to Ottawa where she worked as a case manager with the Community Care Access Centre for eight years. In that position, she worked in both the community and hospitals assessing patients and helping with convalescent care and transitions to long-term care when necessary.
Patients would struggle to stay home, says Schyf and, at times, they would require multiple hospital visits.
"I would see patients in the hospital who were often elderly and they were having difficulty coping," Schyf recalls. Repeated falls or people not taking medications properly were regular occurrences in the people she worked with.
But her work often took her to Garden Terrace, where she says "it felt refreshing to see that the residents were really well cared for."
So, when the opportunity came up for a position at the home, she jumped at it.
"To be a part of all the care that is provided (at Garden Terrace) is really something that I'm enjoying," she says.
Most notably, she says, she enjoys getting to know the history and life experiences of the residents, which she couldn't do within the fast-paced schedule of a CCAC case manager.
"From my experience within hospitals and within the community, you're seeing patients but it's very fast paced and you don't get to know them," says Schyf.
"What I'm enjoying (at Garden Terrace) is you see a family member come in and you know exactly who they're seeing, for the most part, and you know the history and you're able to develop those relationships."
That closeness helps enhance the care residents receive because families know they can talk with Schyf and other team members if there is a concern. Also, because staff is familiar with residents, they can often detect when a health concern may bubble to the surface if a resident is having a bad day.
Continuing to build those relationships while learning the day-to-day aspects of the assistant DOC will be Schyf's ongoing focus, and she says she looks forward to it.
If you have questions or comments, please call 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.