Aileen, Rick and Hugo Barreto

For the Barreto family, having quality healthcare close to home has led to their volunteering with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

“Unfortunately we have been faced with medical conditions that require us to be monitored by various healthcare specialists.  We have been very fortunate that a lot of these healthcare providers are located in Burlington, but not all, said Aileen. “We live in an amazing city that deserves a great hospital with all of these resources so we don’t need to travel to other cities.”

Aileen and her husband Rick, along with their children Hugo and Elle have been giving back to the JBHF since 2015, beginning with the CAAAR! 3 on 3 Road Hockey Tournament. And the key is the opportunity for the entire family to get involved.

“It is important that our children learn that there are different ways to help your community and that giving your time doesn’t cost you anything except heart,” Aileen said. “We love that by volunteering with the JBHF, our children feel a part of the new hospital.”

Alexandra Todd

Joseph Brant Hospital has been a part of one-third of Alexandra Todd’s life, so giving back to the hospital is something she looks back on as inevitable. Her father is a pharmacist, and her mother is a physician who received her training and started her career at JBH.

“For a period of time, JBH was at the centre of many events for my family,” she said. “As my mother was starting started her career, my grandfather was in palliative care at the hospital, so even when we would go for a walk by the lake, the hospital was always close in sight and thought.”

For Alexandra, hearing stories from her parents about how rewarding and special certain experiences with the hospital have been, and how kind the staff is going above and beyond continued as she’d spend time at the hospital with her mother.

“I was able to wait for my mother finishing checking a newborn on the weekends in the pediatric ward, and it was very uplifting to see so many smiling faces of nurses and parents with their newborns,” said Alexandra. “Despite my experiences with my grandfather, it showed me that the hospital was not always a place for sad news or illness.”

As a student at Fern Hill School, with an incredible history of fundraising, Alexandra was inspired to approach the Principal to suggest redirecting some of the funds raised to their own community hospital, rather than the charities the school had supported in the past.

“It was thanks to Mrs. Derrick who opened her door, ears and heart to a 12-year old wondering and questioning “why not, could we, what do you think” that made it happen,” she said.

As a result of her initiative, Fern Hill School made a five-year pledge in December 2014 to raise $100,000 in support of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.
Alexandra continues to volunteer with the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation and has recently been an active member of the planning committee for the Join the J community kick off in Spencer Smith Park last October, and as a participant on the Youth in Philanthropy discussion panel last winter.

For Alexandra, supporting healthcare goes back to the care her grandfather received over six years ago.

“I always remember how kind the staff are, going above and beyond for my grandfather,” she said. “Not only the excellent doctor but also the angel nurse who got him Yorkshire pudding to stimulate his English appetite. She was not just the nurse giving his medication, but also the one attending to his pain, suffering, and got to know him as a person.”

Jason Tieu

“We are trying to prevent patients from ending up in critical care and on a ventilator. We follow patients in respiratory distress and with low oxygen saturations. There are various therapies such as high flow oxygen and bipap that we can use to try and avoid intubation.”

Jason Tieu is a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) at Joseph Brant Hospital for just over three years.  As a RRT at JBH, he takes upon the role of the ICU RRT or the Wards RRT, which covers the Emergency Department, Labour and Delivery, NICU, Paediatrics, Medical and Surgical floors and others. He is also a member of the Code Blue, Code Pink and Critical Care Response Team.

He cares for patients of all ages and in all parts of the hospital.

“We deal with neonates, pediatrics and adults. We can be found at high risk deliveries resuscitating a newborn in the Labour and Delivery Department, receiving a patient from Paramedics with vital signs absent in the Emergency Department, intubating and placing a patient on a ventilator in the ICU and many other areas within the hospital.”

Over the years, Jason speaks on the great learning experiences he’s received from his fellow RRTs, Intensivists, nurses and other JBH colleagues.

“I’ve gained a lot of knowledge over my 3 year career at JBH and especially this past year when dealing with COVID-19 patients we’ve learned new ventilation strategies and procedures when treating this infection.”

Navigating the waves of COVID-19, Jason is proud of how everyone has been able to adapt to the situation and perform their jobs as needed.  Everyone is constantly learning new information, best practices and adapting it to their daily tasks

“The management team in the ICU are doing incredible work with planning and being ready for any type of situation that could arise,” says Jason.

When asked about any particular moments at JBH that stand out to Jason, he explains that there are so many.

“There are many memorable moments at JBH. One moment that sticks out to me happened at the beginning of COVID-19. During the first wave of COVID-19, we had a very sick patient on life support. It took months of hard work to eventually get him off the ventilator where he was able to finally breathe on his own again. One year later, he came back and genuinely thanked all the staff that was part of his care at JBH. It is moments like this that give me hope when dealing with this pandemic.”

With tiring and long working shifts, Jason notes that even the smallest gifts cheer him up.

“I have to say thank you to the donors and the community. When you’re finally done a very long shift and you see thank you cards, letters, small gifts or gestures- it’s seeing those words of thanks that makes me reflect on what I’m doing and what it means to families in my community.”

Rusiri Herath

For the past four years, Rusiri Herath has been working in the inpatient Mental Health Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital.  In her current role as Charge Nurse, she recognizes the importance of being a resource for her colleagues.

“It’s important in mental health that we are able to support not just our patients but our colleagues as well.”

During her time at JBH, Rusiri has seen how much our Mental Health program has evolved and become an incredible environment adapting to new developments in Mental Health care.

“I always learn new things from my patients and what we need to be more aware of,” she says. “Our job isn’t just centered around medication.  We’re building rapport with our patients daily and talking to them about their illness and focusing on their overall well-being.  We focus on the person, not the illness.”

Rusiri and the team are seeing the impacts of COVID-19 on their clients with social isolation and the added precautions. She stresses how it’s important to seek help, and the team at JBH is working every day to break the stigma and support the community with programs and understanding.

“We truly care about our patients.  They come to us in a difficult part in their life, and we motivate and help them thrive and get control of their life.  When we see their progress and see them leave, it’s rewarding to know we’ve helped someone in our community,” says Rusiri.

Noting also how appreciative she is of the community and donors, she adds, “Without the community, our organization wouldn’t be able to provide the level of care our patients deserve.  Contributions are what allows us to provide exemplary care to our patients.”

Rusiri talks about the feeling of community at JBH and the kindness that lives there. “It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone is welcoming and polite with smiles on their faces. It really changes your outlook when you work in that kind of environment.  When you come to JBH that’s who you evolve into, you become a better person.”

Jessy Samuel

For Jessy Samuel, Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Pharmacy, Laboratory Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging at Joseph Brant Hospital, the Halton Region COVID-19 vaccine clinic is one of her proudest accomplishments.

“For me personally, it’s been such a great thing to be part of a community endeavour,” she said. “We’re giving hope and providing that next step in ending this pandemic.”

As a Burlington resident, it is especially important for Jessy to do something for her community, at her community hospital and seeing the people that she cares about being cared for.

The vaccine clinic at JBH is a true partnership, with Halton Region and Joseph Brant Hospital all playing key roles.

“It’s really been a team effort- screeners, check-in/check-out, registered pharmacy technicians, physicians, nursing students and paramedic students all playing a role,” said Samuel. “That’s in addition to the teams who support the technology, supplies, parking and cleaning needs of the clinic and its patients.

In addition, the feedback from the community about the experience has been overwhelmingly positive for the over 17,000 members of our community who have received their vaccination at JBH as of April 30.

“There is such a positive energy in that space because they been looking forward to this day for so long,” she said. “It’s an honour to be a part of this experience and to improve the health of our community.”

Melissa Peters

Over her 20 years as a Labour and Delivery nurse at Joseph Brant Hospital, Melissa Peters has been there for many of life’s most incredible moments.

“I counted every delivery I was part of at the beginning, but I stopped when I hit 1,000 which was in 2004,” she said.

And of course, there are some families and birth stories that stick out, including a family who had nine children, all at JBH, and Melissa was there for three of them.

But nothing as memorable as delivering a baby in the parking lot.

“We received a call from a volunteer that someone was delivering in the parking lot, and the physician on call was performing surgery,” Melissa said.

She ran down with her care partner Tanya to determine how they could help, but they couldn’t locate the mom. Finally, they saw a man beside a van and asked him if they knew where they were needed.

“He said it was his wife, and pointed to the van,” she said. “When we opened the door the baby was already crowning, and we ended up delivering in the van before taking mom and baby upstairs to L&D.”

For Melissa, the team at JBH, and the Labour and Delivery Unit specifically, is incredibly special.

“We have an amazing team. I can’t say enough about them… we all work so well together. Everyday I’m so thankful I work where I do.”

And while Melissa and the entire L&D team wait for the redevelopment of the unit, they continue to provide compassionate care to our community in the moments that matter most.

“We’re so lucky to have Joseph Brant Hospital in our community,” she said.

Dr. Jeane Viljoen

Dr. Jeane Viljoen is the Inpatient Physician Lead for Joseph Brant Hospital’s Mental Health and Addictions Program. She works with a multidisciplinary team to help patients struggling with mental health in their recovery.  The team follows their patients through their recovery as they transition to community-based care.

“The Mental Health and Addictions program at JBH is a rapidly changing program. There are great and innovative ideas constantly coming down the pipeline.  I think the future for this program is optimistic, and the support we get from the hospital and community will only improve the accessibility of our services for our patients,” says Dr. Viljoen

Dr. Viljoen and the MHA team recently implemented a two-year pilot project with Ontario Shores, that took the most recent evidence and management of schizophrenia and combined that with data collection and record keeping.

“This project discusses how patients are monitored for functional recovery and it helps us focus on best practice across the diagnostic continuum,” says Dr. Viljoen.

Dr. Viljoen credits her time at JBH in helping her expand her practice and treatment of her patients.

“With the experience I’ve received at JBH, I am able to help with teaching and learning opportunities,” says Dr. Viljoen. “We recently started receiving clerks from McMaster and they were joining me in the hospital and in my clinics.”

For Dr. Viljoen, JBH is an extremely special place, and is it the donations from the community that are supporting these innovative programs that are changing lives at the hospital.

“It’s a small hospital, but the people here are amazing.  We’re all a close-knit family working toward excellent patient care. When donations are made to the Hospital or to the Mental Health and Addictions Program, it makes a significant impact for people who are using the services.  We are bettering our community.”

Sarah Greer

Sarah Greer has been a Registered Nurse in the Labour and Delivery Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital for over two and half years. She has had the opportunity to care for moms and their families during labour.

“Being a Registered Nurse in the Labour and Delivery Unit is such a unique role because you get to work with moms and babies,” says Sarah. “I love that Labour and Delivery is a family focused area in healthcare. Being an RN and supporting moms through their delivery is an incredible moment and it’s so extraordinary to be a part of that.”

JBH is a special place for Sarah as she talks about the dedicated physicians, nurses and staff at our community hospital.

“You are working collectively with your team to develop individualized care plans for your patients and continuously learning through that process” says Sarah. “Providing compassionate and empathetic care to our patients and families is important to our department”

Sarah notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the team but also the families they support.

“Deliveries can be very big events, but with new protocols and policies, adjustments have been made,” comments Sarah. “I know the pandemic has changed a lot of experiences for patients.  We understand that every patient has a unique situation, and we work as a team to make sure we are always there for them. They are our priority.”

For Sarah, Labour and Delivery is a cherished unit in the hospital.

“Everyone who works in our department has a great passion for women and their families, and there are other units like NICU, Postpartum, Paediatrics and so many others that play a vital part for our patients and ultimately for our community,” says Sarah. “We’re so thankful for the support of the community because we get to make a difference for our patients. When we have the resources to make a patient’s experience positive, we are enriching our community.”

Dr. Alim Nagji

“Emergency Medicine is life or death sometimes.”

At Joseph Brant Hospital, under the leadership of Dr. Alim Nagji, weekly critical simulation scenarios ranging from sick children to traumas help improve the critical communication within teams and so staff are prepared for these scenarios in real life.

Dr. Nagji has worked as an Emergency Doctor at Joseph Brant Hospital for the past five years. In addition, Dr. Nagji is an Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University, Director of Simulation Learning and the Director of Clinical Teaching Unit at Joseph Brant Hospital and is the Simulation Lead at Joseph Brant Hospital Mac-Care.

Dr. Nagji and his colleagues have grown the Simulation Unit to help learners, residents, and doctors learn more about Emergency Medicine.  The use of simulation learning is for students, clinicians and trainees to practice critical scenarios with their team in a variety of environments.

“We support other programs and departments with simulations and aid them in training and development,” says Dr. Nagji. “We’re getting them prepared for the real life, worst case scenario.”

Over the last year, Dr. Nagji and his colleagues have had to redesign the learning involvement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We create their curriculums and make sure they are supported along the way while they learn,” says Dr. Nagji. “Because of COVID-19 we’ve adopted virtual teaching and finding that balance of experiences for students.  We’ve had to think of innovative ways to give them that experience.”

Dr. Nagji believes the pandemic has put a strain on the healthcare system and has affected the community not just physically but mentally.

“The community has rallied together to support the Hospital, and our Hospital has put in the work to help our community.  The greatest accomplishment at JBH is how we come together and work toward a better future,” says Dr. Nagji, “I thank donors who see the value in donating to their community Hospital.  JBH is a space for innovation and their donations go toward the equipment we need and advances our education to provide high-level care.”

Moreover, Dr. Nagji not only appreciates the support from donors and the community but reflects on the teams at JBH.  “The support from the senior leadership team at JBH is incredible. You see the amount of energy and effort made in their investment of their staff.  We have the support from so many people at the Hospital, and our programs are supported.  To be able to do this at a community Hospital is a source of pride and inspiration and not only do you feel the support from your colleagues but also the community.”

Jason Antwi-Boasiako

Over his 10 years as a Registered Practical Nurse on Joseph Brant Hospital’s inpatient Mental Health Unit, Jason Antwi-Boasiako has supported many patients on their individual journey. But for him, one in particular stands out.

“When I first got into nursing, I didn’t really understand how big of a problem addictions were,” he says. “And then I met one patient who was suicidal after the loss of his family due to his addictions.”

Jason took the time to get to know the patient, and speak to him about his addiction to crack cocaine. The patient shared with Jason how he first got involved, and all he had lost based on his addiction.

“He’d tried to get sober, to undergo treatment, but he’s always relapse,” says Jason. “I was able to empathize with him and understand what he’s going through. In the end, we were able to get this man clean and connect him with services in the community. He was able to reconnect his family, find stable employment.”

After discharge, Jason received a letter from the patient, thanking him for being providing care without judgement, and helping him get his life back on track. “I’m proud of what we’re able to accomplish as a team, and the impact we’re having on people’s lives,” says Jason.