On an average day, 44 Ontarians sustain a traumatic brain injury. Most of them are teenagers and young adults. In fact, it is the leading cause of death and disability for those younger than 45.
“When 24-hour care is required, a long-term care home can be the only solution, and it’s not always the ‘right place and the right care,’” Louise Paquette, CEO of the North East LHIN, said.
Ken Vanderligt, a 24-year-old heavy duty equipment mechanic, had everything going for him until an ATV accident resulted in a severe brain injury.
Like many of these young adults with moderate to severe brain injuries, his mother Joe-Ann had to face the prospect of applying to a long-term care home where his needs for intense physical and cognitive rehabilitation would not be met – not to mention the age difference between Ken and the other residents.
Joe-Ann met with the North East Local Health Integration Network, which agreed about the need to find the right care for those with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI).
Last year, Ken was able to move into the newly opened Wade Hampton House in Sudbury. It is the only congregate care facility of its kind between Etobicoke and Thunder Bay.
Supported by the NE LHIN and run by the Ontario March of Dimes, the renovated former Sudbury school is now home to 10 people with moderate to severe brain injuries. The home provides 24-hour-a-day, specialized care, including emotional, behavioural and communications support, as well as community orientation and life skills training.
Deanna Chisholm-Tullio, regional independent living manager for March of Dimes Canada, said what makes the program unique is the “intense and consistent” team approach by staff to rehabilitation, in addition to the personal care provided at the home.
Because every brain injury is unique, personal goals are set for each individual.
“We are able to see real progress through our combined strategies and service model,” she said.
The March of Dimes also runs six assisted living units in Sudbury, funded by the LHIN, for those who require around six to 10 hours of care a day.
In addition, it offers outreach support for individuals with ABI who require about six hours of care a week.
Posted by Arron Pickard