Skip to main content

Patient spotlight: Annette

The compassionate difference of a smaller hospital
Would you expect a more caring patient care experience at a smaller community hospital? That’s what crossed Heath’s mind, one of Annette’s primary caregivers and sons, when he learned his 80-year-old mother was quickly deteriorating. Annette was visiting her other son who resides in Orangeville but plans suddenly changed when she needed emergency care.

After arriving to Headwater Health Care Centre’s Emergency Department, and being admitted under Dr. Nadarajah’s care, she received a CT scan that confirmed Annette had suffered a stroke. “I explained treatment options and recommended rehabilitation,” says Dr. Nadarajah.  

“Right from the get-go, I could sense the difference,” says Heath, recalling the intimate environment of Headwaters and the kind staff. “The decision to admit was within hours, which is a reasonable time. I was not accustomed to the expediency I experienced.” When Annette settled into her room, Heath inquired if he could bring his St. John Ambulance therapy dog, Charley, who gave Annette a tremendous level of comfort from the beloved golden doodle. “Allowing Charley to visit showed Headwaters staff’s flexibility and compassion for my Mom’s wellbeing,” says Heath.

A few days later, a physical exam showed that Annette’s condition worsened: her left side was paralyzed, she lost her vision on left side, and she was feeling weak. It wasn’t too long until she was moved to Rehabilitation and to work with Taylor, her PSW. However, her health was declining, and Annette started to lose her faculties.
Annette was transferred to palliative care, where Warren and Annette were the nurses who took care of Heath’s mother from that point on. Heath was appreciative that palliative care was within the same ward, as opposed to being transferred to an offsite facility. Warren and Annette also provided compassionate care during this difficult time.

“Warren made a private palliative care room available, and this gave my family more space and flexibility to spend time with her,” says Heath. “At one point, I also asked Annette, the compassionate nurse who shares the same name as my mother, to tell me the truth of my mother’s state. She was clear and honest and gave me a message that was hard to deliver. She gently informed us to let loved ones know they should visit her in her final days. Nurse Annette was respectful to tell us the truth.”

On December 28th at 5:36 a.m., Annette passed away, her hand held by her son. “It was phenomenal to be there for her passage into the afterlife. I can’t express my gratitude enough to the staff who helped our family through this time. We did not feel rushed, we felt cared for. We were able to say goodbye in a very loving and compassionate manner.”

“Headwaters was exceptional and unlike anything I have seen at any of the other hospitals I have visited throughout the GTA during my adult life,” says Heath. “Every staff I came in contact with did a terrific job and their efforts are so appreciated.  They all fall under the definition of what a real hero is.”