Labour of love at CKHA churns out ideas and grants



Some very smart people at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) are getting the green light and some funding for their ideas to improve the hospital experience for patients and the quality of work for staff.

CKHA and partners recently received 12 innovation grants totaling $57,000 for a variety of ideas, said CKHA CEO Lori Marshall.

Marshall said she is always amazed by the level of creativity that comes with these one-time grants, the first since 2020.

“That’s something I really cherish at CKHA,” Marshall said. “This is something we implemented a few years ago and really gives staff, doctors, volunteers and patient advisors an opportunity to come up with their great ideas about how we can make a difference.”

Finalists presented their innovative ideas at the February quarterly meeting of the WeRCKHA Employee Engagement Committee, which was then voted on by committee members.

Seven innovations received $1,000 each this year, and all received grants. You can find it below:

$1,000 Recipient:

  1. Identify carts – Now known as “WHOOT WHOOT Wagon”. This cart of kindness, recognition and spirit will drive around the hospital, randomly identifying our staff, volunteers and doctors. The applicant is Melissa Sorrell.
  2. Geomatrix Gel Accessories For beds and wheelchairs – a support that redistributes pressure and increases patient comfort and support, and reduces injuries. The applicant is Becky Shea.
  3. Native Art in Wallaceburg and Chatham (This illustrates two different submissions); commission local artists to enhance the organization’s physical space. This will “embody a culture of empathy, compassion and inclusion.” The applicant is Katherine Tyndall.
  4. Comfortable chair for bedside care partner; Given the importance of family-centered care and family support during the end-of-life experience, it makes sense to keep family members comfortable during this transition. Family members will benefit from resting in a comfortable recliner or crib. The applicant is Heather Thomas.
  5. Art work in the children’s waiting room Create a pleasant and calm environment for waiting children. The applicant is Juliette Bechard.
  6. gel surface for chairs Helping patients feel comfortable and healthy during dialysis treatment. The applicant is Lisa Broad.

Nine applications were submitted for the creative category of the $10,000 grant. Two were funded elsewhere, two were submitted by designated CK Ontario Health Team (CKOHT) partners, and five applications were voted on by the Board. Four of the five were selected to receive funding, including the following:

$10,000 Grant Recipients:

  • Portable BiPAP Facilitate patient flow and enhance patient care within CKHA. BiPAP is a non-invasive ventilation therapy used to facilitate breathing. The applicants are Jaime Shields and Shelley Stroud.
  • functional electrical stimulation Treat foot drop. Functional electrical stimulation is a non-invasive alternative treatment for foot drop. Foot drop occurs when muscle weakness or lack of voluntary control within the ankle joint and dorsiflexion of the foot causes the toes to drag and the foot to droop in normal gait patterns, greatly increasing the risk of falling. The applicant is Maureen McKerrall.
  • Phantom Blue IV Training Block Acquire and improve skills in infant and pediatric patients. Intravenous access is an important bedside clinical skill for pediatricians and neonatal nurses. Gaining IV access can be extremely challenging, often because of the side of the vessel that is available and visible in very young premature infants. This training block will provide opportunities for staff education and will improve patient care. The applicant is Dr. Soliman.
  • Create a “Transgender Health” Plan Designed to support transgender and gender diverse individuals aged 16 and over in Chatham-Kent, and will work using a gender-affirming and informed consent approach. Services provided will include ongoing psychiatric care; physical health needs addressed with a clinic nurse practitioner; referrals for surgery; brief treatment referrals; access to RAAM clinics and withdrawal management services; gender journey support groups; The applicant is Dr. Rafiq.

One of two applications submitted by CKOHT partners was also selected for a $10,000 grant – you can find information about this grant below:

  • Subsidized respite care The CK Ontario Health Team grant is for the management of avoidable CKHA visits and hospital admissions for individuals with dementia. Additional tools and resources will be provided to enable better assessment and treatment of clients served by Alzheimer’s Association of Chatham-Kent (ASCK) in the Chatham and Wallaceburg Day Program, as well as in-home respite community clients and will ensure that ASCK is better able to help their clients manage avoidable doctor visits and hospital admissions. The applicant is Brandon Ball of the Chatham-Kent Alzheimer’s Association.

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