My name is Paul, I am 65 years old and I have been at The Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre’s (TGHC) Complex Continuing Care (CCC) Unit for over four years.

In 2009, I had triple by-pass surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital; shortly after that, I had a serious stroke that left me with severe weakness on the right side of my body. My diabetes has complicated all of this, and as a result of spending so much time in bed, I developed a pressure wound.

Once my condition allowed it, I was then admitted to the CCC unit at Providence Health Care for rehabilitation. Soon after my arrival, however, my pressure wound developed gangrene and I was re-admitted back to St. Michael’s Hospital. There, the doctors determined that I should have an ileostomy bag and a urinary catheter because of my incontinence due to the stroke and to help heal the gangrene. After a five-month stay, I was admitted to the Complex Continuing Care unit at TGHC because of my disabilities and complex medical needs.

I arrived at TGHC in December 2009. My wife, Marilyn, and I met with the doctors, nurses and the interprofessional health team to develop a care plan and treatment options. My rehabilitation became limited due to my complex medical needs. It was very frustrating for me and my family, particularly for my wife.

Our past experience with my complex health issues intensified our doubts about the quality of care I was receiving, and, initially, our communication with the nurses and the interprofessional health team was challenging. Admittedly, I didn’t express or communicate my needs adequately. Marilyn knew this, and was concerned when she was not able to be here. However, things have changed and there is a big difference in the quality of communication between myself, Marilyn, the nurses and the interprofessional health team. I now feel very satisfied with the quality of care the TGHC is providing.

All of this is helping to increase my time receiving rehabilitation; I receive therapy in my room every other day with the occupational therapist and the physiotherapist. I am now receiving kidney dialysis three times a week at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Marilyn and I have been married for 42 years and have two wonderful boys; Shaun and Jason. I take day trips home when I am able – to be with my family in our home – but mostly my family comes to see me. I look forward to their company and sharing a meal together. I am grateful that Marilyn has her family to support her and us. She is loving, supportive and strong, and we both feel really good about the care I am receiving at TGHC. We know it is the best place for me to be right now. We both would like to thank the nurses and the interprofessional health team for their dedication, hard work and the care that they provide to me.

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