Audiology services at the new MCH: a decade in the making

MCH Audiology Professional Co-ordinator Anne-Marie Hurteau says the new Audiology facilities at the Glen will make a big difference to how they deliver care. “Everything has been thought out with the patient and family in mind,” she says.

Anne-Marie’s predecessor, Louise Miller, began the planning process for Audiology services at the new MCH over 10 years ago, which helped the Audiology team start thinking early on about how they could best address their professional needs to serve families. This involved looking at everything from how to configure their screening and testing facilities to providing private, quiet space for families who are receiving their child’s diagnosis.

Audiology will be located on the 1st floor of the A block at the new hospital with adjacencies to their closest working partners. “Even though we are part of the Allied Heath group, it made the most sense for our services to be located near Otolaryngology,” says Anne-Marie, “since they are the team we work most closely with in terms of care and treatment for our patients.” Currently, the two services are on different floors at the MCH. At the Glen, patients will be able to move easily between the two departments with a connecting corridor near the back of the departments. “Some of our administrative staff will even be side by side, so the communication between our two services will be better than ever,” says Anne-Marie. Other neighbours on the floor include ambulatory clinics and the Family Resource Centre.

Perfect timing for provincial training mandate

Several years ago, the Audiology teams from the MCH and the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) launched the Newborn Hearing Screening Program for all babies born at the RVH. Babies who do not pass the screening tests are referred for comprehensive audiological evaluation at the MCH. Since it was launched, the MUHC screening program has identified more than 15 babies presenting a significant hearing loss and one out of 1,000 babies is born with a significant hearing loss every year. Soon after the MUHC program was launched, the Quebec Ministry of Health announced a universal hearing screening program. The MCH Audiology team is now playing an important role in the province-wide program.

Our department has been given the mandate to train all audiologists in Quebec who will be responsible for evaluating the hearing of newborns who do not pass the screening test,” says Anne-Marie. “We will support them regularly, and provide services such as second readings of their Evaluation results.” The timing couldn’t be better: part of the program funding allows for an additional soundproof room, which is included in the plans for the new MCH. “In addition to training audiologist at other centres, we’ll also see a much greater number of babies who are born at our RUIS birthing centre partners.”

Updated equipment

Like many other services at the MCH, the Audiology department at the new MCH will be receiving various new equipment. “All of our new equipment will have a computer data processing link,” says Anne-Marie. “Our profession requires that we keep detailed records of our patient assessments and evaluations, so the new equipment will greatly help with that.”

The audiologists are really looking forward to moving to their new space at the Glen. “Our new department will be very colourful and family-oriented,” says Anne-Marie. “We will really be able to offer a welcoming, comforting environment for our patients and their families.”

Photo: (l. to r.) Audiologists Julie Tran, Audrey Hardy, Anne-Marie Forget, Christine Lemay, Suzel Julien, and Anne-Marie Hurteau discuss their new facilities at the department’s weekly meeting. Absent from photo: Ellen Rishikoff.