Monthly Archives: June 2016


Sr. Sarah Quackenbush awarded the 2016 Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario “Living the Mission Award”

From left to right:  John Ruetz, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario, Jo-Anne Palkovits, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury, Sr. Sarah Quackenbush, Linda Wilson, Board Chair, St. Joseph’s Health Centre

(Sudbury) June 27, 2016 – Sr. Sarah Quackenbush, the CHSO representative on the St. Joseph’s Health Centre Board of Directors, received the Catholic Health Sponsors of Ontario ‘Living the Mission Award” at a special ceremony which took place in Toronto at the CHSO annual general meeting.  This award recognizes people or teams from CHSO member organizations that have made a significant contribution over a sustained period of time to the advancement of Catholic health care in Ontario. This award acknowledges the highest level of excellence in the area of demonstrated and recognized day-to-day expression of Mission. The Mission Award winner has inspired and mentored others, carried the mission to the next generation of leaders, and is a beacon of servant leadership.

“Sister Sarah has been my measure of what constitutes a Catholic health care environment and what directions are required to ensure one.  Her pragmatic approach to governance and organizational operation, tempered with the philosophy of the Sister’s of St. Joseph and her commitment to the mission of Catholic health care, is inspiring and effective.  This award is a great way to recognize her dedication, commitment, and selflessness – all of which have so greatly benefited our organizations and many others.” stated Linda Wilson, Board Chair, St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury.


Sister Sarah Quackenbush is a well-known, highly-respected member of the provincial and local Catholic health care community, who truly meets all the criteria set out for the Living the Mission Award.

Sister Sarah’s involvement in Catholic health care has spanned some 40 years.  She has shared her expertise, dedication, and wisdom in a variety of settings and in a variety of capacities both provincially and nationally, including:

  • As President at the St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Elliot Lake for many years
  • As Vice-President of the then newly-formed Catholic Health Corporation of Ontario (CHCO), where she
    • helped the organization create a new sponsorship model
    • was responsible for Mission and Education
    • lead organizational discussions around Institutional Mission, Trustee and Senior Leadership education
    • facilitated board retreats
  • As the CHCO nominee to the Catholic Health Association Board when it made the difficult decision to change to a secretariat as the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada
  • Helping to coordinate and deliver the Catholic Leadership education program provided to institutions across Ontario and in New Brunswick
  • Being instrumental in developing programs for trustees and middle managers of Catholic facilities throughout Ontario that link the values of the institution to work performed
  • As a member of the CHSO Board
  • As the CHSO’s representative on the Board of Directors of St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury, St. Joseph’s Villa, St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, and Villa St. Gabriel Villa
  • Recording the history/founding of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, including Sisters’ involvement in the provision of care health care in Northern Ontario
  • Influencing the integration of a slow-paced rehabilitation program in the City of Greater Sudbury.  She recognized the unmet need and through consultation with various networking partners, she sowed the seed for the development of the program.  One of the most successful programs is housed at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre, where more than 1,800 patients have transitioned through the Centre’s assess and restore and geriatric rehabilitation units since it opened in 2009.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury

Sister Sarah, as noted above, is the CHSO representative on our Board of Directors.  For over 20 years, she has been instrumental in providing leadership and direction to linking our Mission and values to the work we perform.   She is an invaluable member of our community, providing us with insight, expertise, and wise counsel in ensuring that the Sisters’ philosophy of care remains the foundation of the Health Centre’s operation.

A teacher and mentor, Sister Sarah worked with us to video record her presentation on the beginnings of health services in Northern Ontario and in Sudbury.  In this presentation, she articulates that ‘the Sisters did not get involved in health care to form hospitals.  They got into health care because they were responding to the needs of the poor and the needs of the sick’ – the foundation upon which we operate today and upon which we look to the future.  Through this video, the viewer experiences a narrative of the true hardship and drive of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie to meet the unmet needs of the communities throughout Northern Ontario.  This twenty-minute video entitled “Called to be a Mission Leader” is presented at orientation to all staff and is available on our website .

In addition, through the delivery of the Catholic Leadership Program, Sister Sarah has helped our senior leaders, managers, and directors to more effectively carry out their responsibilities as leaders of a Catholic organization.  Her delivery of the message of the Catholic mission has had visible impact at both the personal and organizational level at all of our organizations, as is evidenced by the feedback that has been received from all those with whom she has interacted.  Through her educational work, she has:

  • Provided a learning and living experience that is not available in other professional or academic programs for leaders in Catholic organizations;
  • Created a space for reflection that enables a person to better know one’s self and one’s call as a leader within a Catholic organization;
  • Expanded one’s ability to articulate the unique role of Catholic health and social services in contemporary society;
  • Enriched one’s vocabulary to better articulate the Church’s mission in health and social service;
  • Enabled the understanding of the rich heritage of Catholic social teaching; and
  • Ensured the on-going development of Catholic health and social services by mentoring our leaders.

She is also able to influence and guide individuals, organizations and communities through her compassion and strong belief in Catholic mission and values.  Through the education programs delivered to our Board, senior leaders, staff and volunteers, she has helped to more clearly define our purpose and how to imbed that purpose in the services offered to our patients, residents, and their families…she has helped us articulate how our mission, values, and ethical commitments support our daily care and service delivery and the fulfillment of our strategic directions.

We are blessed to have her as part of our community…as a speaker, as a promoter of our mission, as an educator, and also as the leader of our annual missioning ceremony for the Board and administrative staff members.

As the CHSO representative on our Boards, Sister Sarah provides valuable insight and direction on our chosen strategic directions.  At every annual general meeting of the Board, Sister Sarah asks the auditors, with sincere humility and grace, the question:  “Are you aware of any fraud in this organization?”  Her due diligence as a Director is evidenced through her various queries of the Board and committee functions and the ability to direct the Board to engage in the difficult questions it needs to face in order to live out the Mission and meet the unmet needs in our community.

Sister Sarah is gifted with a relentless curiosity and open mind and with such astounding depths of good will and good cheer as are rarely encountered.  She leads by example, is true to her faith, promotes the ‘healing mission of Jesus,’ and is loved and respected by all.

We at St. Joseph’s Health Centre of Sudbury truly feel that the ‘Living the Mission Award’ speaks to the inspiration, mentorship, and leadership demonstrated by Sister Sarah.  We believe that Sister Sarah Quackenbush is most deserving of this prestigious award.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre Celebrates World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

(Sudbury) June 15, 2016 – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15 – attempts to shine a light on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders around the world.  In June each year, Ontario celebrates seniors and recognizes the contributions they make to our communities.  As part of our senior’s month celebrations St. Joseph’s Health Centre is participating in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The day aims to focus global attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders. It also seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population, and brings together senior citizens, and their caregivers, national and local government, academics, and the private sector to exchange ideas about how best to reduce incidents of violence towards elders, increase reporting of such abuse, and to develop elder friendly policies. Estimates indicate that by 2050, the global population of people above the age of 60 will exceed the number of younger people.

In recognition, staff at all of the St. Joseph’s Health Centre facilities, namely, St. Joseph’s Villa, Villa St. Gabriel Villa and St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre joined together and wore “purple” to encourage attention and support the venue.


St. Joseph’s Villa


Villa St. Gabriel Villa


St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre




Knights of Columbus Council 11219 donate to Villa St. Gabriel Villa

Knights of Columbus Gordon Jacques Don Bryson and Art Dowdall_june 2016

From left to right:  Gordon Jacques, Don Bryson and Art Dowdall

 June 2016 – Gordon Jacques, Don Bryson and Art Dowdall from the Knights of Columbus Council 11219 present a cheque in the amount of $500.00 to Ray Ingriselli, Site Administrator.  The money was raised through their fund raising efforts at the Boardwalk Gaming Centre in Val Caron, Ontario.  Funds will be placed towards Villa St. Gabriel Villa.


Mental Health First Aid training at St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre

Mental Health Seminar June 2016

June 2016 – As a valued Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Benefit Plan Member, St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre has been chosen by the OHA, in partnership with Desjardins Insurance, is one of only six hospitals in the province, and the only hospital in the Northeast LHIN, to participate in its Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) pilot program.  This program was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and is considered the ‘gold standard’ in the field.  The intent of the training is to help managers and supervisors recognize and deal with the increasing incidents of mental health issues experienced by their staff.

Many people have had physical first aid training to learn how to help an injured person while waiting for paramedics to arrive.  Similarly, the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program trains participants to assist someone with mental health problems until appropriate support is found or until their immediate crisis is resolved.

Evidence has shown that individuals who participate in the MHFA program have significantly greater recognition of the most common mental health illnesses and problems.  They also have decreased social distance from people with mental health issues, increased confidence in providing help to others, and a demonstrated increase in helpful actions.

“Where mental health issues can be ‘normalized’ as common health problems, stigma is reduced and people are more likely to talk about and seek help for their conditions.  The MHFA program teaches attendees to recognize the symptoms of mental health disorders and help prevent them from becoming more serious.   Managers and supervisors with this training will be better able to promote the recovery of good mental health in the workplace by providing support to employees in distress,” stated Jo-Anne Palkovits, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre.  “We are excited to have been selected by the OHA and Desjardins Insurance to participate in this pilot project.”

St. Joseph’s Health Centre oversees the operation of St. Joseph’s Villa (a 128-bed long term care home) and St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre (a 64-bed continuing care hospital) in Sudbury, and Villa St. Gabriel Villa (a 128-bed long term care home) in Chelmsford.  The management teams of all four organizations will be participating in the Mental Health First Aid program on June 8th and 9th at the St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre site.

2016-10-13T08:44:57-05:00June 8th, 2016|St. Joseph's Health Centre News, St. Joseph’s CCC News|

Montessori Programming Introduced at St. Joseph’s Villa and Villa St. Gabriel Villa

Montessori Programming for Dementia is not new to long-term care.  The Life Enrichment department has been including Montessori programming on the monthly activity calendar for many years.

What is new is that employees in all departments are receiving the training and being offered education on how to apply Montessori interventions into their respective daily routines.  The goals of this initiative: Improving quality of life for our residents, as well as caregiver satisfaction for staff, volunteers and family members.  Throughout the years many staff and families have asked the question, “What exactly is Montessori?”   Unfortunately, Montessori has been misunderstood as an activity, when in reality it is a philosophy of care that all staff are able to tap into.

Because dementia is a progressive chronic disease, it slowly strips away one’s ability to function in a number of capacities.   Montessori focuses on identifying each residents remaining social, physical, cognitive, and/or spiritual ability and engaging them in meaningful “activity” that they are able to succeed in.  Activity refers to any task, action or process in this case, not necessarily with a recreation or leisure focus.  For example, a resident with dementia may not be able to correctly measure ingredients or be able to follow the step by step directions in order to make a cake.  However, a former baker or perhaps homemaker could still be able to pour pre-measured ingredients into a bowl, stir the ingredients and wipe the counter down and derive great pleasure assisting with tasks matched with their abilities and personal history.

Boredom and loneliness are the two top causes of responsive behaviours in long-term care.  Residents are most content and at ease when engaged in meaningful activity, however, finding activities that are suitable for a resident with dementia can also be challenging.  Traditional programs like bingo and bowling just don’t work for many residents who require cuing and prompting to actively participate.   We require all staff involving more residents in meaningful activities and tasks outside of the larger Life Enrichment group programs.

Montessori programming is evidence-based and well researched.  Cameron Camp, a US dementia researcher discovered that principals first used by Maria Montessori working with autistic and cognitively disabled children could successfully be applied to those diagnosed with dementia.  BSO (Behavioural Support Ontario) is currently utilizing many Montessori interventions in long-term care across Ontario.

“Montessori is just another tool in our bag of tricks that can assist in a difficult situation to enable all staff to complete assignments with greater ease and keep residents engaged in tasks they can succeed in.  For all these reasons Montessori corners have been set up to provide staff, volunteers and families the education and resources to make it a win-win situation!” stated Jo-Anne Palkovits, Administrator.

Montessori photo