Deep inside the former St. Mary’s of the Lake Hospital is the heart of healthcare: a person-centred program that preserves dignity and promotes independence.
Now called the Providence Transitional Care Centre (PTCC), the building is a historic landmark in Kingston. It sits quietly unassuming on Union Street; regal and proud. Inside, health-care professionals continue the tradition of healing, started in 1861 by the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent De Paul who cared for the needs of the poor.
“The goal of this program is to provide patients with an opportunity to give back to their community in meaningful and structured ways,” says Recreation Therapist Gabrielle Noonan who started the Giving Back Group earlier this year with Behaviour Technologist Mackennsie Pritchard.
Speaking from PTCC in the fall of 2022, the health care professionals help people develop positive and meaningful leisure engagement while gaining knowledge of community supports.
“On their initial assessments, we learned that before entering the hospital, many patients enjoyed spending time volunteering,” says Gabrielle. “Mackennsie and I decided to use activation exercises and therapeutic groups as a way for the patients to volunteer their time again.”
To date, the group has sent heartfelt cards to families at Hospice Kingston and sorted and folded clothing for Loving Hands. Patients have even made toys for animals at the Kingston Humane Society and knit hats for premature and sick newborn babies.
“The patients love it,” says Gabrielle with a smile.
“Engaging in these activities not only helps maintain and develop fine and gross motor skills, but they also promote self-expression and decrease isolation,” explains Mackennsie who knows compassion helps people connect with others, mend relationships, and move forward while fostering emotional intelligence and well-being.
Standing beside a wall lined with closets full of clothing, lotion and toiletry, the friendly duo explains the purpose of the group’s new Fashion Closet.
“Some patients arrive here without a lot of resources,” notes Gabrielle. “Our Fashion Closet contains items people need and can’t access because they don’t have family or community support to bring stuff in. It has been used heavily. We’re getting a lot of people from the emergency departments and the Community Care Hub.”
They talk proudly about the Fashion Closet which is just one-more meaningful way for patients of PTCC to give back and make the world a better place to live.
“Since being hospitalized, many patients haven’t felt a sense of purpose. This serves it,” says Gabrielle, kindly. “It’s nice to see them in that capacity of working together to make a difference in the community.”
“The goal is for patients to return to the community,” explains Mackennsie. “We want to replicate their giving back activities while in the hospital.”
Organizers of this program at Providence Transitional Community Care are grateful for past support and continue to accept donations of clothing, lotions and toiletries. To support this good work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com