Innovations Benefiting Patient Care

Eleven Innovations Bursaries awarded, $86,000 distributed, to MUHC employees with great ideas

Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous patience.
—Hyman Rickover (1900 - 1986)

Aroma message therapy, boredom buster, and a CD of songs and lullabies—these are just some of the 11 ideas to receive an Innovation Bursary.

The Innovations Bursary Committee distributed just over $86,000 in bursaries to help finance projects that will improve patient care and services at the MUHC. A total of 55 projects were submitted in the 3rd annual Innovations Bursary Awards. The selection committee whittled the entries down to 11 winners who will receive between $850 and $20,000 to launch their project.

“It was hard work. We received so many great ideas. It was fantastic,” says Paula Rozanski, Chair of the Innovations Bursary Committee and MUHC Director of Hospital Services. “In the end, we selected the top 11 innovations which we felt would have the greatest impact on patient care.
Congratulations to all of the winners.”
Ardelle Piper, a Recreation Therapist, and former intern Erin Griffith in the Therapeutic Recreation Department at The Montreal General Hospital site will use their Innovation Bursary to create a multi-sensory environment for transitional-care patients.

The project is based on the concept of a Snoezelen room, which aims at creating an atmosphere of trust and relaxation while appealing to the senses by facilitating activities with a sensory focus. This room will be designed with fibre-optic lights, music, aroma therapy and other means for sensory stimulation.

The idea is this type of sensory stimulation will benefit patients with all types of dementia, and patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke.

At the Montreal Chest Institute, The Innovations Committee handed out a bursary to launch an aroma massage therapy. Chantal Souligny and Franceen Browman had the idea of offering this service to patients with prolonged hospitalization who are often confined to their room or even their bed. The literature shows a massage can help alleviate a patient’s stress and anxiety. This service will offer patients and their families, an alternative in coping with chronic illness while in hospital.

Deborah Salmon, music therapist in Palliative Care at the Montreal General Hospital site is organizing a “Day in Medical Music Therapy.” She received an Innovation Bursary to help defray the cost of inviting an eminent music therapist to the MUHC in March 2009.

Dr. Cheryl Dileo of Temple University will give Medical Grand Rounds, presenting her meta-analysis on the effects of medical music therapy; meet with interested medical personnel; and conduct a workshop on Music Therapy Entrainment for Pain Management.

These events, taking place during National Music Therapy Week, are designed to increase knowledge and promote interest in the use of music therapy at the MUHC.

The patients at the Montreal Neurological Hospital will soon be able to watch movies thanks to an Innovation Bursary. Eileen Hogan will be using the money to purchase portable DVD players and films for each of the inpatient units. It is hoped this diversion will improve the quality of life of patients.

Also at the Montreal Chest Institute, Franceen Browman is very excited be able to buy a few wheelchairs thanks to an Innovations Bursary. The wheelchairs will allow patients to leave their rooms.

This will have a huge impact on their lives as they will be able to socialize, play games, sit in chairs for improve their circulation etc. Without these chairs, the patients are confined to their rooms for up to one year before they receive their own customized wheelchair.

Over at The Montreal Children’s Hospital, Music Therapists Pascal Comeau and Christelle Jacquet received a bursary to create a CD of children’s songs and lullabies in various languages and different cultures.

This is a collaborative project with music therapists throughout the MUHC, families, staff members and professional musicians. They plan to record a variety of multicultural songs that will be used during music therapy sessions, but will also be sold to visitors to the hospital. “The CD is an acknowledgment of cultural and linguistic diversity as well as a powerful way to reach families from various cultures,” says Mr. Comeau. “The CD may provide them with a sense of familiarity during hospitalization, and have a welcoming effect. Acoustic music and lullabies also contribute to the comfort of children.

The songs and melodies will promote relaxation and may help them fall asleep. Further, it will raise funds for Music Therapy Services.”

Sharon Wexler with Can Support was awarded a bursary to help young adults with cancer publish a book of their stories, poems, messages and art. The book will be a creative reflection on living with the illness.

They have been working directly with this population for the past two years using a Creative Arts Therapies approach to counselling. “The book project was an idea brought forth by the patients themselves and clearly represents a meaningful way for these individuals to have their stories told,” says Ms. Wexler. “The young adults have spoken at great length of their desire for advocacy and consciousness-raising activities to be developed to educate the medical staff and hospital community about the interactions with young adults living with cancer.”

At the Royal Victoria Hospital they are going to get physical. An Innovation Bursary will be used to set up a satellite physical and occupational therapy gym primarily for vascular surgery inpatients.

However, the gym would also be used for other inpatients on the floor who require rehabilitation (i.e. plastics and urology patients) or who need a physical evaluation for a safe discharge home. Once Brigitte Castonguay, Andra Florean, Erin Walker, Miguel Teixeira and Karen Henri get the gym up and running (pun intended), they would also offer its use to the therapists of Ross 3 that work with transplant patients who may require the same services as mentioned above.

Get out your knitting needles because Helene Audet, in the Finance Department, plans to organize a knit-athon with her Innovations Bursary. Not only does she plan to get the MUHC’s name in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest scarf in the world, she will also be encouraging MUHC surgeons to keep and maintain their dexterity through knitting.

Helene is calling on all knitters to donate any unwanted wool that has been hanging around the house collecting dust.

There won’t be any dust over in Medical Imaging at the RVH, MNH or MCI thanks to Colette Roussil, the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) Coordinator and the winner of a bursary.

She will use the money to raise everything off the floor: computers, computer wires, garbage cans and recycling boxes. This way Housekeeping can make a clean sweep capturing all of those dust bunnies.

Frank Vieira and Kim Heilpern will use their innovation bursary to launch a pilot project that aims to coordinate transport and valet services at the Royal Victoria Hospital site.

We all know how hard it is to get from here to there at the RVH and if you are a frail senior, or an individual having gone through an intense diagnostic procedure, it can be that much more confusing, tiring and difficult. The idea is to coordinate the activities of internal and external transport along with parking services to help frail patients leave the hospital in a timely and less stressful manner.

Winners of the Innovation Bursary will report back to the committee in February to provide an update on their project’s progress. All projects are to be completed by Fall 2009.

The Innovations Bursaries were launched four years ago, when the Honourable Dr. Arthur Porter, Executive Director and CEO of the MUHC set aside $80,000 per year to encourage innovation among staff. This is the third year bursaries have been awarded.

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