From ‘9-1-1’ to ‘home’ mapped

Marilyn Erwin
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If you’ve entered La Verendrye Hospital using the ramp access outside of the E.R. department recently, you may have noticed a little something extra.
On the wall opposite the registration desk is a map of a different kind.
Using bold graphics underscored with precise labelling is a new visual resource for stroke survivors, their families, and caregivers.
This represents the many “stops” taken by a person who experiences stroke within our region.
Starting at the left side of the map, both air and land ambulance transport can be seen against a grey background. Then following across to the right side of “A stroke Survivor’s Journey in Northwestern Ontario,” three more colour codes are visible.
These support familiar images encountered during diagnosis and treatment, rehabilitation and prevention, and finally, recovery and re-engagement.
Using a concept developed by the Northeastern Ontario Stroke Network, a team of 26 individuals from within our region met over a period of several months.
Utilizing web cameras and telephone conferences under the guidance of co-leaders Laura Jones, Esme French, and Keli Cristofaro of Thunder Bay, the user-friendly map came to life.
In frequent cases of stroke, the language centre of the brain can be affected so that reading (and even listening) to instruction can be difficult. This resource is unique in that the “big picture” quite literally is portrayed in pictures, with short interpretive text below each image.
Two of the patient advisors involved in the project are pictured holding the framed map, which they proudly presented to Riverside on behalf of the regional team.
LaVerna Brown and Melvin Jourdain of Fort Frances returned to conferences time and again until its completion. Both consider it time well-spent.
Stroke clinic R.N. Marilyn Erwin remarked she is very thankful for the dedication of these two stroke survivors.
“The support, encouragement, and willingness of our Thunder Bay stroke network cannot be surpassed in efforts to improve the lives of those families affected by stroke,” she enthused.
The local involvement also extends to Good Impressions Printing, which enlarged and laminated varied sized copies, as well as the original wall document.
Over the next few weeks, smaller copies, including “take home” versions (on request), will be distributed throughout district offices and clinics.
An “e-copy” also is available online at in the Patient and Caregiver area.
A “Health Care Provider User guide” completes the resource in order to maximize its use by health-care workers with their clients.