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Aldith, Mark and Donna: a family of front line heroes working at Lakeridge Health

Aldith, Mark and Donna: a family of front line heroes working at Lakeridge Health

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Aldith, Mark and Donna: a family of front line heroes working at Lakeridge Health

Aldith, Mark and Donna: a family of front line heroes working at Lakeridge Health

Staff Story

Donna's Story

Front line heroes and mothers at Lakeridge Health

Donna is a longtime Lakeridge Health employee who over the years has held many positions. She has worked as a physiotherapist in inpatient and outpatient clinics, occupational health and safety, and now as a Patient Care Manager for the Ambulatory Rehabilitation Centres at four Lakeridge Health sites, as well as Allied Health inpatient services in Port Perry and Bowmanville.

Donna’s mother, Aldith, worked as a registered nurse for over 20 years at Lakeridge Health, and is now one of the Hospitals passionate volunteers. And Donna’s son, Mark, is an RN and proud third generation Lakeridge Health employee.

We had the opportunity to speak with all three of them in anticipation of Mother’s Day and Nurses Week to hear their thoughts on working in community health care.

What motivates and inspires you as a health care worker?

Mark: As a registered nurse, I am motivated to help patients, and their families, with the goal to ease their burdens in uncertain times. My mom inspires me to do this. She is the most hardworking, dedicated and caring person I know. All traits that make her the exceptional physiotherapist and manager that she is. She always has a positive attitude and has never backed down from a challenge. I always aim to make her proud by trying to emulate all the values she demonstrated to me growing up.

Donna: People motivate me. In rehabilitation, enabling an individual to achieve their optimal outcome and functional status motivates me. Being a manager of highly skilled and empathetic rehab teams who adapt to challenges and always ensure the best outcome for their patients-motivates me.

Aldith: I’m motivated by helping people and keeping people well. I became an RN in 1956 and loved it – it was the best profession, and I took pride in helping patients through hard times. My mother was a midwife; seeing how she helped patients from the time I was young made me realize I wanted to help people too.

How have things changed for you during COVID-19?

Mark: Helping patients during the COVID-19 pandemic while having to social distance has proven difficult, but we have made adjustments in regards to patients visiting with family through the Virtual Connections Program. The program serves as an important stepping stone to the return to normalcy.

Donna: So many things have changed. One of the biggest changes in the Ambulatory Rehabilitation setting is the use of virtual care. Prior to COVID-19, we only delivered in-person care. We have had to adapt to ensure that patient outcomes were not unnecessarily impacted and needed to continue to support timely discharges from the Hospital and, where possible, to prevent re-admissions. To do so, in addition to in-person care, we now provide telephone and virtual care. We have been able to set up virtual care at each of our ambulatory clinics and have successfully reached out to patients that have required our services. We originally thought that the age of some of our patients may hinder virtual care. Not so! We have successfully connected virtually with patients up to 89 years of age!

How did you feel when Mark decided to become an RN? And specifically a 3rd generation Lakeridge Health employee?

Donna: My mother was a registered nurse at Lakeridge Health and she was a great role model for me. When I joined the Lakeridge team it was evident to me that she had the utmost respect of the team she worked. To this day, I still hear comments about the excellent nurse, mentor, peer that she was. I joke that when I came on board as a Lakeridge staff that I was known as Aldith’s daughter and it took a while for me to achieve my own identity. Mark has always been a critical thinker with a caring and relaxed personality. He is well suited in his role as a registered nurse and I am very proud of the fact that he chose a health care career and that we have become a three generation Lakeridge Health family. I take great pride when I hear positive comments of his professionalism, calm manner, and caring ways. I chuckle when I realize that my identity is once again changing as I am now known as Mark’s mom – and this makes me very happy.

Aldith: Mark is a gentle giant and a very thoughtful person, I knew he would make a wonderful nurse. I’m so proud of all his hard work and what he has accomplished.

Do you have a ‘message of hope’ you’d like to share with the community?

Donna: I would like to thank the public for offering their support through many means. Painted rocks, signs, car parades – all so endearing. I often stop and look at an individual rock painted by a youth – so genuine and inspiring. Being apart has brought us together and I hope that we never lose this connection.

Aldith: Although it’s hard, people need to continue staying at home, continue listening to medical advice, and practice physical distancing. To the nurses: it’s a very novel profession and you’re so kind. Keep doing what you’re doing and we will get through this.