Updated Simulated Community Helps Holy Family Hospital Rehab Patients Transition Home

On Thursday, April 26, 2012, Tapestry Foundation for Health Care unveiled the newly updated Easy Street Environment™ at Holy Family Hospital (HFH), a simulated community used by patients undertaking physical rehabilitation.

By converting a hallway into a replica community setting, HFH provides its rehabilitation patients the opportunity to practice everyday routines in the safety of its hospital.  Trained occupational therapists teach patients the safest and most effective techniques for performing daily tasks to prevent re-hospitalization.

“Ninety per cent of in-patients will use the Easy Street car during their rehab stay at Holy Family Hospital,” said Ann Adams, CEO of Tapestry Foundation for Health Care.  “Thanks to the generous support of our donors like ICBC, Easy Street will continue to provide a useful training space for our rehab patients.”

Tapestry Foundation raised a total of $80,000 to fund the updates, including a salvage vehicle donated and customized by ICBC for use in the Easy Street environment.  The Foundation dedicated some of this money to updating Easy Street’s counterpart Easy Suite, where patients sometimes spend the night to become accustomed to living on their own again, performing tasks like cooking, using the washroom and getting in and out of bed.

“Easy Street and Easy Suite are innovative approaches to improving the patient experience, increasing safety and improving health results,” said Dianne Doyle, President and CEO of Providence Health Care, which operates HFH.  “This hospital helps rehabilitate people from across British Columbia, making this a pivotal point in their rehabilitation journey.” 

The updates include a new car, new chairs, a new stove and an internet lounge.  The provision of a new car allows occupational therapists to train patients on a vehicle that more closely resembles the ergonomics of today’s vehicles.  Small changes like the size of the dashboard, or the distance from the passenger seat to the dashboard, can make a big difference when patients are navigating the road to rehabilitation.

“The wellbeing of our customers is important to us and we’re here to help,” said Craig Horton, Senior Vice President of Claims at ICBC. “We have a dedicated rehabilitation department that works closely with the medical community and we’re committed to doing everything we can to make sure that those seriously injured get the help and support they need to regain their functionality and independence.”

Easy Street was first installed at Holy Family Hospital in 1994, and was the first of its kind in Western Canada.  By providing an indoor environment to practice tasks like transferring to a vehicle, Easy Street lessens the emotional impact for patients.  Patients benefit from a supportive environment allowing them to gain confidence in their abilities in preparation for their return home from their hospital stay.

Easy Suite was not part of the original Easy Street modular system.  It was developed in-house, thanks to the Holy Family Hospital rehab department.