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Transitional care unit opens at Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre

Photo of Jennifer Carr (seated), TCU Team Lead, Roberta Halverson, CCA (left) and Nicki Laurie, CCA (right).

Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre’s new transitional care unit (TCU) cares for people who are waiting to return to community but do not require acute care in a hospital. The unit offers a care environment that supports a smooth and safe transition to another care setting, such as a nursing home or a place for patients to regain strength to return home after a hospital stay. The care focuses on reaching wellness goals and promotes activity and independence.

The TCU team plays an important role in the transition process by offering the care necessary for patients to regain a certain level of independence and wellness. Jennifer Carr, the TCU team lead, explained the unit’s mission, “Our goal is to help patients achieve their next milestone and prepare them for their next chapter in life.” This may include planning physiotherapy programs to help gain strength and balance, finding ways to lower risk of falls or playing checkers to keep patients sharp. 

Carr keeps the unit running smoothly and acts as the go to person to deal with issues that come up for patients, family and team members. She and her team oversee care, assess patient needs and teach patients about their care. As a vital part of a team, the CCA helps with personal care, such as bathing and dressing.

Carr explained the difference in patient experience, noting that in the high-stress, fast-paced environment of an acute care unit, patients might hesitate to express their discomfort or feel motivated to get out of bed. However, in a calm setting with a consistent care team, patients are more inclined to express how they are feeling. 

One patient who recently transitioned from the intensive care unit to the TCU shared their experience: “I came to the hospital with a stroke and congestive heart failure, thinking I was on my way out. Downstairs was noisy, I didn’t want to leave my room or get out of bed. I had given up.”

Now frequently seen strolling through the halls, engaging in conversations with fellow patients, and even challenging staff to games of checkers, they said: “Within days, I’ve surprised myself with what I can do. I no longer feel the need to rely on others for things I can manage myself. This will help me get to a nursing home. I have it set in my mind this is what I am going to do, and I am going to do it.”

“I tell my family that this place has made all the difference in the world. The staff are doing everything right. They helped me heal and realize I’m not on my way out at all,” they explained.

Families can take comfort in knowing their loved ones are in this environment, where they receive care by a consistent team, and where the staff can take time to build relationships with the patients and their families. As Carr emphasized, “It could be my mom, and I need to treat them like they are my family.” The high team morale and positive atmosphere contributes significantly to the comfort and well-being of patients in this new chapter in their lives.

Photo of Jennifer Carr (seated), TCU Team Lead, Roberta Halverson, CCA (left) and Nicki Laurie, CCA (right).

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