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Active Discharge Room officially opened

A recent addition to St. Joseph's Hospital is making it easier for patients to leave the hospital and return to their lives.
The grand opening of the Independent Living Room at St. Joseph's Hospital was held Monday. Hilda Boire (in front), the first occupant of the room, had the honour of cutting the ribbon for the grand opening. Joining her in the celebration were, from left to right: Mary-Ann Veroba of the Sun Country Health Region; nurse Cindy Melle, Donna Kitchen, Estevan Home Care; Deb Kennett-Russill, clinical co-ordinator of the Sun Country Therapies Department; Cheryl Harrison, nurse manager at St. Joseph's; Natalie Bieberdorf, manager of Sun Country Therapies Department and Jeremy Darlington of Independent Living.

A recent addition to St. Joseph's Hospital is making it easier for patients to leave the hospital and return to their lives.

The Active Discharge Room, which has been named the Independent Living Room because of the support of the company Independent Living, was officially unveiled to the public with a grand opening ceremony Monday morning.

The first of its kind in the Sun Country Health Region, the room's purpose is to help patients who have been in the hospital for an extended period get used to living on their own again. The room opened in September and has housed six patients since then. The first occupant, Hilda Boire, had the honour of cutting the ribbon during Monday's ceremony.

Cheryl Harrison, the nurse manager at St. Joseph's, says although people in the room are still considered patients of the hospital, they are required to do such things as dress themselves and take their own medications - all with an eye towards getting them out of the hospital and back to their homes.

"People that are post-stroke or had hip surgery and are almost ready to go home, they come in here and can be a little more independent," said Harrison. "In this room they will have goals set for them and they will set them with us.

"They'll say I'd like to dress myself, I want to be able to go to bathroom by myself, I want to take my own medications. This room is more of an apartment setting. They have to get up and out of bed, sit at a regular table to eat their meals and sit in a big chair to watch TV. They are encouraged to shower on their own and that is where Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy are involved; they help them to be more mobile."

Harrison added that thus far, the room has been a major success.

"Our patients that have gone home, have stayed home and haven't come back with the same illness," she said.

Although the room is located in Estevan, Harrison noted that it is available to any patients residing within the Sun Country Health Region. She added that while rehabilitation facilities such as the Wascana Rehab Centre in Regina have similar rooms, St. Joseph's is the first acute care facility in Saskatchewan to employ an Active Discharge Room.