2011 Sasha Bella awards for Family Centred Care Excellence

The 2011 recipients of the Sasha Bella Fund awards for Excellence in Family Centered Care in the Labatt Family Heart Centre are occupational therapist Lisa Hoffman and nurse practitioner Judith Wilson. Judith and Lisa are the most experienced staff to be nominated and as long serving heart center staff were anchors in Sasha's care from 2004-2006.

Lisa's home visits during Sasha's first year and a half helped her with every step of skills development from rollover to sit, crawl, walking hand over hand, first unaided steps and, a biggie, eating. Sasha's success with these basics were our good times and a huge confidence boost that Sasha could develop and we could help her and all live and love together for an unknown amount of time.

Judith was nurse practitioner during Sasha's catheterization visits and her final five month stay and the combination of her gentle way and calm communication and extreme nursing competence were integral to us staying positive and focused and learning to feel we could care for Sasha even though she had an extreme heart and liver condition.

The hard work of health care professionals like Judith and Lisa make family centered care appear effortless. Not surprisingly, both visited our home after Sasha died, among about a dozen 4D staff who did so. Sasha touched hundreds of staff at SickKids but these were stars among her closest circle of care and I was so happy to see them recognized.

Judith's nomination letter described her as "assertive, expedient and accurate during clinical crises and her 'straight shooter' style and positive, forward thinking are to be admired" and that she engages in "truly loving and kind acts" such as the support of a seven year old Japanese heart patient and her family. With the child immobile and in precarious health and the family dependent on an interpreter, the highlight of her day was a visit to Tim Hortons with Judith for an iced expresso. Judith took her with multiple IVs on a wheelchair to see Santa at the Eaton Centre and then a stop at Nathan Phillips Square to watch skaters. A several hour winter transport with a child in precarious health is typically not done for fun and this was a unique family experience that took great nursing skill.

As a lovely first, Lisa Hoffman's nomination was from a nursing colleague for care of her child and family and Carrie's words as a mom and nurse educator resonate strongly as we celebrate family centered care.
"When our family reflects on what Lisa did for us, we see that she really listened, she trusted us, she helped ease the burden of uncertainty and she developed a plan of care that was doable and that worked for my daughter and our family. Lisa was the first and only health care professional who presented the big picture to us in a meaningful way."
Carrie credits "meltable-solids" as allowing her daughter to eat finger foods today and "tearless tolerable exercises which mimicked playtime" as life changers for her child and family.

Lisa and Judith, thanks for what you do so well each day for sick kids.

Also a big thanks to the many staff who have made time over five years for work to circulate, nominate, select, contact recipients and confirm nursing award day arrangements.

Judith received a rose from Nursing and a framed award from the Sasha Bella Fund after Nursing Excellence Awards on May 7 and Lisa's award will be at a future event of her and Rehab's choosing.

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