Program co-creator and Developmental Services Worker Susan Boudreau, poses with Developmental Service Worker, Madelaine Millard alongside clients of the focus program in action.
Reintroducing clients to their interests, hobbies and passions beyond the hospital walls, is just one part of what hard-working Developmental Services Workers (DSW) are doing every day throughout the halls of Lakeview 0, at Providence Care Hospital (PCH).
It’s all done through The Focus Program, and as the co-creator, Developmental Services Worker Susan Boudreau says, the one-on-one programming which runs 7 days a week, emphasizes on building social, community, and life skills.
“We do a regular laundry program, some of them will go up to the café and we will help them make a purchase. But a lot of it is social activities, even if it’s just visiting for half an hour,” says Susan.
The Focus Program’s main objective is to enhance the quality of life of clients through life skills programming coupled with social activities of their choosing.
Cooking, managing money, navigating crowds, laundry and how to pick up on social ques and have an appropriate conversation are all topics the staff on Lakeview 0 cover in the focused programming.
“It’s a forward-thinking program,” says Madelaine Millard, a DSW who’s been involved since the program’s inception in 2018.
“The Focus Program helps us learn more about the client and learn more about how we can support their time here and what we can do as next steps as they move to discharge,” she explains.
But the program doesn’t stop at building life skills. Through activities like music, art, movies, gardening, and regular conversation over coffee, Susan and Madelaine explain that staff connect to the people they serve on a more emotional level in a relaxed approach; getting to know their likes, dislikes, hobbies, skills and abilities.
“It’s exciting to see progress in clients because you keep thinking about what you can do next,” Susan explains.
Through every day, innovative strides, DSW’s on Lakeview 0 say they are seeing huge results in the people they work with.
“We’ve seen a lot of success with individuals who haven’t been able to leave the unit and now they are,” Susan says with a proud smile.
“Or people who had a hard time being in crowds and now they’re able to be around a greater number of people,” Madelaine chimes in.
The women behind the initiative say the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was actually a silver lining, helping The Focus Program develop into what it is today.
“Prior to COVID it was in its developing stage. When COVID happened and we had more access to the Harmony Centre, we were able to get people off the unit easier, and had more one-on-one time.”
The Harmony Centre is a colourful space with private rooms and interactive areas that removes the institutional feel a hospital can sometimes have, explains Susan. It is used regularly with clients participating in The Focus Program but not exclusively.
“Sometimes we work with people who can’t or won’t leave the unit so we have a designated pod room on the unit too,” she says.
Through one-on-one support coupled with understanding, compassion and of course a little bit of fun, Susan and Madelaine say The Focus Program is leaving a lasting impression with the people receiving care at PCH.
“We are seeing people’s quality of life improving and success in skill building too of course” says Madelaine.
The team on Lakeview 0’s dedication to innovative and compassionate care was recognized by the organization though an achievement award for Spirit of Compassion. The award recognizes and celebrates teams and individuals who go above and beyond, responding to the needs of others with empathy and understanding.
“The Focus Program is making the people we work with more successful in their stay and in their transition” says Madelaine.
It’s Susan’s hope that The Focus Program can continue to grow. Her ultimate goal is to continue to help, understand and support clients but in an even larger format.
“I’m very proud of the focus program and there is so much room for growth,” says Susan.