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JMCC and Windsor Regional Hospital collaborate to create a tool to help patients & staff communicate in Emergency Departments

November 17, 2017

Creating a tool to help staff and patients communicate.

On Tuesday, November 14 Windsor Regional Hospital (WRH) launched a new communication tool for the Emergency Departments (ED) at both of their campuses. This tool was developed in collaboration with the John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC) and will help patients who may have difficulty communicating their needs while they are in the ED. This includes patients who use augmentative and/or alternative communication devices as their primary mode of communication, patients who have experienced a stroke or head injury, non-English speaking patients, and many others.

This communication tool was developed after Marlayna Durka-Knowles, a long-time JMCC client, wrote a letter to WRH CEO David Musyj about her experience at the Ouellette Campus ED. Durka-Knowles arrived at the ED by ambulance without her speech generating device and was unable to communicate her needs to the staff. Musyj responded to her letter and reached out to JMCC as well to see how the two organizations, along with Durka-Knowles, could work together to develop a tool to ensure Durka-Knowles’ experience was not repeated by other patients.  

WRH has trained ED staff at both campuses on this new tool and it has also been shared with paramedic staff. The organization is also looking to expand the tool across all departments and floors of their hospitals. JMCC is pleased to have been included in the development of this communication tool and looks forward to hearing feedback from patients and staff.

"On behalf of the Augmentative Communication Clinic at JMCC, we would like to extend our thanks to WRH for inviting us to participate in this exciting initiative. There are over 165,000 Ontario Residents who have disabilities that affect their speech and or their ability to understand what someone else is saying, so it is crucial that staff are able to find ways to communicate in an efficient, effective and respectful manor," said Toni Southern, Senior Clinician, Augmentative Communication, JMCC.

“The communication tool that we worked on means everything to me,” said Durka-Knowles. “It puts my mind at ease knowing that WRH has tools to be able to communicate better with all of their patients.”

JMCC is proud to frequently collaborate with community partners to make Windsor and Essex County a more accessible place.

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