Each Canine Has Its Day: SEIU Healthcare Member Helps Introduce First Service Canine for Hospital Employees in Canada
Service canines have labored efficiently with sufferers in hospitals throughout Canada, offering consolation and psychological well being assist.
However what about healthcare employees?
That’s what SEIU Healthcare member Kim MacDougall puzzled when she began volunteering along with her daughter and husband seven years in the past, serving to prepare service canines. Kim has labored at Cambridge Memorial Hospital for over 27 years. She is the Chief Steward and is Ember’s main handler.
“I received concerned, and my husband received concerned, and I noticed that as time went on, the canines had been being thought-about facility canines for police stations and hearth halls. I believed, ‘Properly, why not hospitals? I imply, we’re simply as pressured,’” says Kim.
In 2019, Kim took the initiative and approached CMH president and CEO Patrick Gaskin, to see if there was curiosity in bringing a service canine to assist assist employees with psychological well being and stress. Psychological well being is a wrestle for a lot of healthcare employees throughout Ontario, which has solely worsened throughout the pandemic. He thought it was an ideal concept and took it to the senior government workforce. It was rapidly authorised and the seek for a service canine started.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the applying and matching course of, however service canine Ember lastly began her new job at CMH in Might 2022 with Kim and two further handlers. She works solely with healthcare employees and volunteers at CMH.
Ember can be the primary service canine working solely for healthcare employees in a Canadian hospital. There’s even dialogue with the College of Guelph to check and measure the affect of service canines on employees and vice versa.
In a press launch, the hospital President and CEO Patrick Gavin praised Kim’s work and the assistance it offers members at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, “Kim MacDougall, a CMH employees member, approached the manager workforce in 2019 with a proposal to have a facility canine. We thought it was an ideal concept and pursued the applying. As well being care suppliers, we face many challenges and day by day stress that may affect our psychological well being. Ember is one other solution to assist our employees’s psychological well being. Not solely does she present consolation, however she additionally promotes constructive conversations round psychological well being.”
Kim provides that employees suggestions has been extraordinarily constructive, “We simply did a name to do a stroll round along with her, and I walked in along with her to the emergency division. They had been simply packed within the ready room. They had been so pleased to see her, and you would see the stress form of fall away.”
Like many psychological well being professionals, Ember has an online web page and electronic mail the place employees at CMH can ebook an appointment if they’re feeling overwhelmed or burnout and looking for the form of psychological well being assist they’ll solely get from a service canine.
Kim says that Ember is useful in lots of conditions, even essentially the most disturbing ones. “We just lately had a code blue, and we had Ember go up afterwards throughout the debrief. These codes could be fairly disturbing, and managers know they’ll request Ember to come back to their unit. She is so pure at easing the strain. Ember may be very intuitive to individuals touching her and being along with her. She likes to be cuddled and hugged, and she or he likes to get that feeling of goodness.”
Similar to different healthcare employees, Ember can’t work 24 hours a day. She’s additionally entitled to day off and trip. When Ember is off the clock, she lives with Kim full time.
“She will get playtime throughout the day. We make sure that she will get her jacket off and will get to be goofy and have somewhat enjoyable throughout the day too. She’s an everyday canine at house. She even has a greatest canine pal named Holly. Ember likes to swim, go to canine parks, and exit on the patio that permits canines. So, she’s received life.”
Ember begins her trip on the finish of August, and Kim says whereas Ember doesn’t have any plans, she’s excited concerning the day off!
Kim’s work in bringing Ember to CMH demonstrates the care and dedication SEIU Healthcare members deliver to their workplaces on daily basis. Our members are leaders and need what’s greatest for the sufferers they look after and their coworkers too.
In case you are battling psychological well being, SEIU Healthcare has assets accessible for our members. For extra data, contact the Member Service Centre at 1-(877) 672-7348 or via Stay Chat on the SEIU Healthcare cellular app.