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Human Touch Awards honour Ontario’s champions in kidney care

CCO Blog Team
Our Partners and the System 7 minute read

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects thousands of people across Ontario, and receiving treatment can be an overwhelming experience.

Dialysis can be demanding as it often occurs several times a week for many years, not to mention the tremendous stress that can accompany the life-changing event of receiving a kidney transplant.

This is why providing exceptional and compassionate person-centred care is so important to the work being done in Ontario’s kidney care system.

Each year, we recognize the Ontario healthcare professionals and volunteers who go above and beyond in providing care to people with CKD with the Human Touch Awards.

(Top photo, from left: Melodie Jansen, Adrienne Barrett, Patty Quinan, Susan McKenzie, Bonnie Field)

'Everyone is so supportive'

Patty Quinan is one of the staff care providers recognized this year.

A vascular access coordinator at Humber River Hospital, Patty works to develop a relationship with each patient and family member she interacts with, allowing them to find comfort and support during a difficult time.

In an interview after receiving her award, Patty said she works with a great team of professionals from various disciplines.

"Everyone is so supportive," she said in an interview after receiving her award. "In the centre of that team, of course, are the patients, who are so grateful for the care that we provide. And that is just the best reward that one can have, certainly, in this profession."

Bonnie Field, a volunteer recipient of a Human Touch Award this year, is a champion for patient engagement and ensuring the patient voice is heard.

One of Bonnie’s most admirable qualities is her willingness to donate her time and energy to others, despite her own illness. She requires daily home hemodialysis treatments, yet still continues to engage and contribute tirelessly as a patient advocate.

As the volunteer chair of the Renal Patient and Family Advisory Council at London Health Sciences Centre, Bonnie encourages information sharing, participation and collaboration among patients and healthcare providers. She also works to ensure that all patients are treated with dignity and respect.

Melodie Jansen, who was honoured in the staff category this year, is a familiar and comforting presence to patients who travel to St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton for their transplants.

As the living donor coordinator and lead for the kidney paired donation program, Melodie goes out of her way to ensure patients receive exemplary care. She gets to know her patients before they arrive and works diligently to ensure everything is in place for each patient’s arrival.

'She is inspiring'

As someone with CKD who has been on dialysis and has received a living donor transplant, Human Touch Award volunteer recipient Susan McKenzie understands why it's so important to receive a high level of care.

Her experience inspired her to co-create the Transplant Ambassador Program, where she and her colleagues work tirelessly to raise awareness of living transplants and provide meaningful conversations about transplantation to patients and family members.

Thanks to her efforts, patients and kidney donors are now sharing their transplantation stories in clinic waiting rooms across Ontario.

"As patients we need the best possible care," Susan often says. "And who better than us to make sure that happens."

A colleague said about Susan that “she is inspiring, makes me think and drives me to act. If she asks me to do it, I will.”

Making a difference

Adrienne Barrett received a staff award this year for her work as a vascular access/hemodialysis registered nurse at Health Sciences North.

She is committed to sharing information, and helping educate both staff and patients to ensure the best possible level of care.

In an interview after receiving the award, Adrienne says that making a difference in patients' lives is what motivates her to provide the human touch.

"We have a set of skills that can actually enhance the bad day [a patient] is going through," she said. "Any little thing we can do to make that better, that's what we want to do as a healthcare team.

"I think I take away more from my job than the people who receive care from me get," she added.  "And that just makes it a joy to go to work."

Read more about the Human Touch Award recipients in the cancer care system.

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