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Awards for staff at Northumberland Hills Hospital

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Northumberland Hills Hospital

Northumberland Hills Hospital

COBOURG -- Northumberland Hills Hospital recognizes staff members' personal and team accomplishments year-round and, on Oct. 4, it announced the winners of its fifth annual Gerontological Excellence Awards.

These awards celebrate individual contributions to the delivery of exceptional patient care for those over the age of 65 -- underscoring the fact that gerontology is not a department or a unit, but a specialty that involves every member of the hospital team. As such, nominations were open to all staff members.

Again this year, nominations were accepted throughout the month of June (Ontario's Seniors' Month), and four nominees stood out for the care they take in support of the hospital's older patients -- restorative care registered nurse Marie-Rose Meunier-Wescott, inpatient rehabilitation physiotherapist Cathy Rylott, emergency department registered nurse Danielle Kohlman, and restorative care ward clerk Cindy Roffey.

A press release summed up their accomplishments, as well as sharing some remarks from hospital president and chief executive officer Linda Davis.

Meunier-Wescott was recommended by several of her peers in restorative care, who described her as exemplary in displaying a kind and gentle approach when working with frail seniors and their care givers even in complex and challenging geriatric situations.

She was also described as an asset to the unit, as well as "an icon to selflessness and a very strong woman."

Rylott's trademark is a gentle and caring approach to those in her care, as well as an ability to collaborate with others and pull members of the team together to help frail seniors achieve their goals and independence.

One nomination described her as "very patient-focused throughout the discharge process." This is a key element, the document said, "as discharge from hospital to home can be a very anxious and challenging time for older adults with multiple complex conditions and their caregivers."

Nominated by her peers in the emergency department, Kohlman was considered outstanding with the older-adult population -- and particularly good at balancing the complexities of gerontology with a very busy emergency environment.

Her colleagues find her a go-to person for determining the right techniques to manage the urgency of the department with the time required to assess the needs of complex seniors and those with cognitive impairment.

While Roffey received many nominations, her peers found that the act that was most memorable for them n the past year was the special care she provided to an older patient with dementia.

"Not only did you maintain your daily very busy work routine as a ward clerk, Cindy -- at the same time you developed a beautiful and purposeful routine for this patient," Davis said.

"I understand he would sit with you and be with you, literally, beside your desk most days during his stay with us."

Nominations for Roffy also highlighted the key role she plays in the hospital's Assess and Restore Intervention -- specifically, the major part she played in the important collaboration with the emergency department and the geriatric emergency-management nurse to make a positive impact on patient flow and communication between the units to get complex, frail seniors into the right bed at the right time.

Also recognized at the award presentation was geriatric emergency-management nurse Sarah Gibbens and the co-ordinator behind the annual recognition event, as well as many other hospital initiatives aimed at expanding staff awareness of the unique needs of geriatric patients.