UNITED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

CHSLD COMMITTEE MEMBER ADVOCATING FIERCELY FOR ALS CLIENTS LIVING IN LONG-TERM CARE

Paula Stone is a retired occupational therapist and long-time volunteer. She grew up with parents who both volunteered in the community, and a father with MS who was legally blind. Choosing a career in healthcare where she helped patients adapt to using assistive technology, and volunteering to support people with limited mobility, came naturally.

For 20 years, Paula has volunteered with the Association Québécoise de Voile Adaptée (AQVA) helping people with physical disabilities learn how to sail. She has also been involved with ALS Quebec for several years, initially, as a member of the Programs and Services Committee to help establish a respite program for caregivers.
Today, Paula has a burning desire to address the pressing needs of people with ALS living in long-term care facilities, where she says staff are often ill-equipped to provide specialized care and services. As a professional, Paula encountered dozens of patients with ALS in their homes as well as institutional settings. It was a face-to-face meeting in 2015 with a former client who wanted his ventilator unplugged that was the catalyst for Paula to shift into high gear to make a difference for ALS patients in long-term care.

As an active member of the ALS Quebec CHSLD Committee, Paula is building a case for educating staff (including nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and personal support workers), and for providing online resources so they acquire knowledge and skills to attend to the specialized needs of people with ALS. These can have an enormous impact on common daily tasks that allow for greater independence, such using a telephone or computer, or turning lights on and off. Eventually, Paula would love to help develop a pilot project in a unit within a long-term care facility that would demonstrate the value of providing specialized care to people with ALS and other related diseases.

 

 

 

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Clara El Matni