Susan Deschamps has been a Registered Practical Nurse for 20 years. As one of ten Aboriginal Health Access Centres in Ontario, N’Mninoeyaa provides a combination of traditional healing, primary health care, Health Promotion programs, Mental Health and Community Support Services to its seven member First Nation communities situated along the north shore of Lake Huron, between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.
As one of two First Nation System Navigator/Discharge Planners, Susan is part of a multi-disciplinary team of team of health care providers which includes a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, rehab assistants, therapeutic support assistant, and a geriatric social worker.
Susan has unique role coordinating the discharge planning and case management of the First Nation/Aboriginal seniors being discharged from the local hospitals. “I collaborate with the hospital discharge teams at the Blind River Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elliot Lake, the Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre and Health Sciences North in Sudbury.”
Susan connects with clients throughout their hospital experience starting at admission all the way to discharge and follow-up in the community after discharge. Susan completes individualized assessments at the bedside with clients in hospital: “I am able to identify their needs and goals, ensuring their medical and social needs are met. I provide advocacy and referrals to the appropriate community resources, including referrals to traditional healers and traditional services.”
Another element of Susan’s role is to assist in the development and implementation of the new Assisted Living Services for High Risk Seniors program. This service provides enhanced home care services to high risk elders, enabling them to remain in their own homes and in their own communities for as long as possible.
Susan has worked in the acute care hospital setting, long term care, in the community, and at in primary care. She has taught in the Personal Support Workers program for two years through Cambrian College. The diversity of Susan’s past work experience has very much helped her transition into her current role by being able to experience different aspects of the health care system.
Communication is key for Susan she says, because the need for communication between communities themselves, community services, external agencies, hospitals and families make the difference in providing a client centred, holistic approach to health care.
“I find incorporating the cultural aspect of a client’s journey to healing both challenging and rewarding. I find learning about the First Nation culture and history has helped me to understand my clients better and to improve my way of communicating effectively.”
Having recently completed RPNAO’s Introduction to Leadership course, she believes that effective communication is essential to building therapeutic relationships with clients, anticipating and understanding clients’ needs, and proividing quality care that respects and integrates diversity into the process.
For more information on the North Shore Tribal Council Health Department, the N’Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre please visit their website.