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May 2018

Finding Hope Through Chaos, Living with Acquired Brain Injury

      160, 000 Canadians sustain a brain injury every year, with incidence and reporting rates rising.  Over one million Canadians live with the effects of an acquired brain injury. Brain injuries can be caused by various external and internal factors. There are two types of brain injury, traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic brain injuries result from such things as a motor vehicle accident, blunt force trauma, or when objects such as bullets or debris enter through the skull into the brain. It should be noted that a concussion, whether minor or major is a form of traumatic brain injury. Non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by changes or problems within the brain itself, such as spontaneous bleeding, tumours, infections, stroke or lack of oxygen to the brain.
     Depending on the amount of damage to the brain, there can be varying degrees of minor and major medical, physical and cognitive complications related to the injury. Medical complications can include increased swelling to the brain, low blood pressure, fever and pneumonia. Physical complications can include; balance issues, slurred speech, increased or decreased muscle tone, bowel/bladder changes, loss of smell, taste or hearing and headaches/dizziness. Cognitive complications can include loss/altered levels of consciousness, poor concentration, inappropriate emotions such as easily angered or frustrated, personality changes, memory issues, challenges with problem-solving and sleep disturbances.
     Recovery from a brain injury should be thought of like a marathon rather than a sprint. A successful recovery should not be measured by how quickly it occurs. In many cases, a full recovery back to the previous function may not occur, and some may experience a sense of grief over this loss. Brain injuries can happen to anyone of any age, and the affects of a brain injury and the recovery can vary from person to person. There are those that remain in the workforce and some that have since retired.
     Two support groups are available within the PMH region that are free to attend. They are located in Brandon and Dauphin and are open to all survivors, caregivers and family members. The Brandon and area acquired brain injury support group meets from September-June, on every third Monday of the month at the Prairie Mountain Health Public Health Office in the Town Centre. The Parkland Chapter meets in Dauphin every third Thursday of the month, at the Dauphin Senior Centre, Multi-Purpose room at 55-1st Ave SE. Please contact the Manitoba Brain Injury Association for further details. For more information on services and supports in Manitoba contact The Manitoba Brain Injury Association or call Toll Free 1-866-327-1998.

Brain Injury Conference June 1 - Brandon

     One day conference for survivors, caregivers, family members, and health care professionals is being held in Brandon at the First Baptist Church, 3881 Park Avenue, on Friday, June 1. For more information or to register, please contact Cindy Stumme at or 1-204-726-6160.
     The conference will feature keynote speaker Allison Baird, a Speech Language Pathologist. Allison is passionate about helping people who have had strokes or have Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias. The conference also includes inspirational survivor/caregiver panel discussion, a play from the Brandon University Drama Program, and an education session from Occupational Therapists. To learn more about the conference click here

Hamiota Foundation Donates to Local Health Centre

The Hamiota Health Centre received another generous donation from the Hamiota District Health Centre Foundation! A new Glidescope Video-laryngoscope costing $18,000 was purchased for use in the Emergency Room.

Pictured: From front left are Christopher Hersak, Care Team Manager, Alycia Chuckrey and Linda Clarke. Back, left to right, are Vaughn Wilson, Brent Fortune, Linda Mathison, Kathy Routledge (Chair) and Bev Bennett.

Donation In Remembrance Of Great-Grandma at Country Meadows

Emily Hockin’s Great-Grandma Evelyn was a resident of Country Meadows PCH in Neepawa. After she passed, Emily wanted to do something for the residents that remained. She sold cookies to make money to purchase four weighted lap blankets for them.

Pictured: Rochelle Unico, Client Care Coordinator; Dawn Haines-Shaw, Social Worker; Emily Hockin; Kerri Podruski, Mental Health Resource Nurse; and Judy Gabler, Care Team Manager of Neepawa PCH.

WiFi Made Available In Boissevain Facilities

Health care facilities in Boissevain are now equipped with wireless internet access, thanks to the Health Care Auxiliary and Palliative Care. Each group donated $2,000 to enable the Boissevain Health Centre, Westview Lodge and Evergreen Place to have WiFi installed in their buildings.

Pictured: Dr. Nell accepts a cheque presented by Elaine Wintle and Donna Garland.

Photo by Anna Latimer of the Boissevain Recorder

Paramedic Services Week - May 27 to June 2

Paramedics: Health-Community-You

     Paramedic Services are vital to our health care system, and often the first point of contact for many Manitobans.
     EMS (ambulance) personnel work as partners in our health care system and the communities they serve. Their dedication to this partnership ensures round-the-clock emergency response and supports medical care to communities throughout the health region.
     Paramedic Services Week is a week of celebration dedicated to the contributions of the many men and women who are on the front lines within your community.
     Although primarily associated with ambulances, EMS is really a system of dedicated professionals who provide timely and appropriate pre-hospital care to sick and injured people. Beginning with the initial emergency call for help, our EMS system includes Emergency Medical Dispatchers, community based First Responders, as well as Primary and Advanced Care Paramedics in both ground and air transport ambulances.
     There are over 450 licensed EMS personnel within PMH. We operate 48 ambulances and responded to over 22,000 calls in 2017. In addition, there were multiple aeromedical transports utilizing Southern Air Ambulance, Lifeflight, and STARS.
     Ambulance services in PMH will be hosting public relations and educational events throughout Paramedic Services Week. Watch for more information. This is an excellent opportunity to better understand the valuable work EMS provides within our communities, and recognize that quality paramedic service improves survival and recovery rates every year.
     For more information about Emergency Medical Services in your area, you can contact PMH or your local EMS service provider.

2018 Manitoba College of Family Physicians Awards
     The Manitoba College of Family Physicians (MCFP) held their 2018 MCFP Awards Banquet at the Inn at the Forks Ballroom in Winnipeg on April 20. Recipients received their awards from Dr. Ainslie Mihalchuk, MCFP President. Congratulations to the honourees that practice in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

MCFP Family Physician of the Year 2018 - Dr. Scott Kish of Dauphin, Manitoba.

International Medical Graduate (IMG) Mentor Award - Dr. Amin Mousavi of Swan Valley Primary Care Centre, Swan River.

MCFP Award of Excellence Group Award- Dr. Adrian Fung, Dr. Leah Koetting and Dr. Rafiq Andani of Swan Valley Primary Care Centre, Swan River.

Photos courtesy of Tommy Jones Photography

Communication Is More Than Just Words

     Imagine a world where you are unable to effectively communicate to others what you think, what you want or need and how you feel. A world where you also have difficulty understanding what others are saying to you. Because of this inability to express yourself and understand what others are saying to you, it becomes more difficult to take part in conversations, and you become socially isolated from family and friends. Imagine how this inability to communicate would affect your self-esteem, your ability to participate in making decisions, your relationships and your role at work and in your family.
     The medical term for this impairment in the ability to use or understand words is called APHASIA. It is a language or communication disorder that is the result of damage to parts of the brain responsible for language. Aphasia can occur suddenly following a stroke or head injury, or it can develop slowly as the result of a brain tumour, a progressive disease of the brain or dementia. It is estimated that over a third of individuals who suffer a stroke will have some degree of aphasia. Most individuals who still have moderate or severe aphasia six months after having a stroke will continue to live with some degree of aphasia. Because of our ageing population, the number of individuals living with aphasia will likely increase.
     Aphasia can cause difficulty with finding words to express oneself as well as difficulty with reading or writing. Individuals with aphasia retain ‘the core’ of who they are. Aphasia by itself does not affect the ability to think, but it robs the immediate access to words needed to understand or express a thought.
     Westman Aphasia Inc. (WAI) is a community-based, charitable organization dedicated to addressing the needs of individuals and their caregivers who are living with aphasia. WAI is funded by the Brandon United Way and consists of a Board of Directors, program clinicians and trained volunteers. This organization provides support and resources for individuals with aphasia and their caregivers and holds monthly conversation groups for individuals with aphasia as well as a caregiver support group. WAI’s mission is to provide education to caregivers, health care professionals, students and the community about aphasia and how to use communication tools that can enhance the lives of individuals with aphasia.

For more information about WAI, its programs or volunteer opportunities, visit their website or contact:

Westman Aphasia Inc.
100 ~ 1300 – 18th St. Office 156
Brandon, MB R7A 6X7
Tel: 204- 571-0802
Fax: 204- 727-587

Swan River Paramedic Achieves High Honours

     Taralynn Stephen of Swan River, MB. has been recognized by the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators (COPR) for having achieved the highest score on the Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) exam in 2017.
     Stephen took the one-year program through the Red River College—Swan River site and was also awarded the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba General award for her accomplishments.
     This is a great acheivement! Tara has been employed with Prairie Mountain Health since 2014 and the regional EMS Program is certainly proud to have her as part of our team. Congratulations Tara!

Project Linus Helps Camp Bridges

     Project Linus Westman held their third annual Make A Blanket Day (MABD) on Saturday April 28 in Brandon. Project Linus uses MABD to refill their supply of blankets, and thank the volunteers who donate their time and money for materials to provide Project Linus with handmade blankets throughout the year.
The mission of Project Linus is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need of a hug, through the gifts of new, handmade, washable blankets, quilts and afghans, lovingly crafted by volunteer "Blanketeers".
Project Linus has developed a partnership with Camp Bridges, where they supply enough handmade blankets that each camper may choose a blanket during camp registration.
Camp Bridges is open to any child in Manitoba, aged 7 – 15 years, who is grieving the death of someone significant in their lives.
Blanketeers enjoyed coffee and snacks courtesy of the Monterey Estates Blanketeers while they quilted, sewed, cut, ironed, tied, knitted and crocheted.
     For more information on Project Linus please contact or call Judi Janzen at 204-725-1577.

Youth Revolution (YR) Students from Riverheights School "Bake for Change"

     In February the Riverheights Youth Revolution (YR) students held a "We Bake for Change" bake sale. The students baked and accepted donations of, tasty goodies from the Riverheights’ school community. Items were sold at $.25 or $.50 each. Students raised close to $600 and chose to donate this money to the Brandon Regional Health Center Pediatric Unit. Prairie Mountain Health would like to thank the YR Riverheights students for their donation and everyone who supported their fundraiser project.


Pictured: YR students along with their teacher leader Tammy Tutkaluk presented their cheque to Cindy Buizer, BRHC Foundation Executive Director and Tammy Turner BRHC Maternal Child Care Team Manager.

New Blood Pressure Machines for Brandon Regional Health Centre

     The Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) Auxiliary has donated $120,000 for the purchase of 26 new non-invasive blood pressure machines, thanks to donations it receives from the BRHC Gift Shop and the Nearly New Shop.
     BRHC Director of Acute Care Scott Kirk says the new machines will be going to a number of areas throughout the BRHC campus. Kirk says they are very grateful for the donation, "This will allow us to standardize our machines throughout the facility, so we are using the newest technology and assist in providing safe patient care."
     These types of blood pressure machines are commonly used for routine examinations and monitoring of patients.

Pictured: Members of the BRHC Auxiliary and guests; Scott Kirk, BRHC Director of Acute Care.

Province Funds Sixty New Paramedic Positions In Rural Manitoba

     Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen has announced details on the funding of sixty new, full-time paramedic positions across Manitoba —aimed at enhancing the province’s emergency medical services (EMS) system.
     "The investment in 60 full-time paramedic positions will ensure highly skilled professionals are available for emergency dispatch and response 24 hours a day, seven days a week, reducing reliance on on-call staff," said Goertzen. "Paramedics are a critical part of our health-care system, and the new positions are another step in our government’s commitment to ensuring Manitobans have access to consistent, reliable health care in their community."

     First announced in this year’s budget, the 60 new full-time equivalent (FTE) positions will reduce EMS reliance on on-call staffing positions by hiring full-time positions instead. Some positions will be filled by staff currently working in the system on an on-call basis. Other positions are expected to be posted shortly, with paramedics hired to fill the vacancies and be on the roads later this year.
     Minister Goertzen noted the new positions will be strategically spread out across Prairie Mountain Health (PMH), Southern Health
Santé Sud, and Interlake - Eastern Regional Health Authority, ensuring staff are well-positioned to respond to calls throughout their respective regions.
     Within PMH, positions will be located at EMS stations in communities that include:

  • Dauphin (9.7 FTE —converting from on-call);
  • Gilbert Plains (4.85 FTE —new positions);
  • Killarney (4.85 FTE —converting from on-call);
  • Virden (4.85 FTE —converting some from on-call, as well as new positions).

     "This investment in new paramedic positions for priority areas within PMH region will contribute to a more consistent and responsive emergency medical services system," stated Penny Gilson, chief executive officer for Prairie Mountain Health. "Based on recommendations from the 2013 Manitoba EMS System Review, enhancements are underway to increase the staff complement at strategic locations. The goal is to continue to improve response times and ensure consistent, coordinated and reliable access to care."
     The announcement was made at an event held in Brandon Monday, April 30th at the Medical Transportation Coordination Centre. (Additional information can be found here )

The Centre for Adult Psychiatry (CAP) in Brandon Celebrates 20 years!

     The Centre for Adult Psychiatry (CAP) is a 25-bed adult acute psychiatric unit. It is part of the Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) within Prairie Mountain Health. The Centre operates as a Psychiatric Facility under the Mental Health Act. It has been operational since April 17, 1998. On this date, the first CAP patients were 14 patients transported from the acute unit formerly 2W of The Brandon Mental Health Centre (BMHC). This building was the result of much collaboration between BRHC and the BMHC staff. The integration of mental health patients into the general hospital setting was viewed as a positive step towards acceptance from the community to treat people with mental illness the same way as any other illness. The move towards single rooms away from dorm style rooms was also very beneficial and added to the therapeutic setting.
The Centre for Adult Psychiatry continues to use a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to meeting the needs of the patients they serve during their recovery journey. The treatment team consists of Psychiatrists, Registered Psychiatric Nurses, Mental Health Clinician, Clinical Psychologist, Client Care Coordinator, Occupational Therapist, Recreation Coordinator, Psychiatric Nursing Assistants, Health Care Aides, Spiritual Care, Pharmacist, and Medical Practitioners. CAP works to serve individuals ages 18-64 years old experiencing a psychiatric illness or a severe psychosocial crisis that is not able to be managed in a less intrusive manner. CAP works in partnership with the patients and their families to provide stabilization, assessment, short-term treatment interventions, transitional programming, linkage and referral to community services. Admissions to CAP are authorized by the Psychiatrist.
CAP celebrated this occasion by inviting partnering units and programs for cake and refreshments. The team also held a get together for all those who worked at CAP in the past 20 years combined with a reunion of BMHC staff. During this event individuals who have provided and still provide care to patients at The Centre for Adult Psychiatry were recognized. These included Registered Psychiatric Nurses: Rick Piche, Murray Duncalfe, Trieste Bird, Heather Collier, and Connie Haigh. Psychiatrists: Doctors’ Mano, Vipul, Lee, and McIntyre. Also recognized was the the visionary efforts of Lynda Stiles in her role as the first Manager of CAP; participating in the design of the current building and its program. Acknowledgment as well to the previous Manager Marie Andrew and current Manager Tasha Colbourne.
     The Centre for Adult Psychiatry team would like to thank their partners for the last 20 years and a continued partnership in the years ahead.

Mental Health Week May 7-13

     Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) is encouraging you to #GETLOUD about what mental health really is. May 7-13 marks the 67th Canadian Mental Health Associations (CMHA’s) Mental Health Week. CMHA encourages people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues of mental health.
Let’s #GetLoud about what mental health really is! One in five Canadians live with mental health problems, mental illness or addictions. But the reality is, five in five of us have mental health, just like we have physical health. We can all benefit from celebrating, promoting and acknowledging the role that good mental health plays in living a full and meaningful life.
Mental health is about more than being happy all the time. It’s about feeling good about who you are, having balance in your life, and managing life’s highs and lows. Everyone deserves to feel well, whatever their mental health experience.
For #mentalHealthWeek, why not check in on your own #MentalHealth? We ALL need to keep our #MentalHealth in mind.
     Visit for info and tools and a mental health checklist to #GetLoud for CMHA Mental Health Week.

May 5, International Day of the Midwife

      Midwives are trained specialists who care for women throughout pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. More than 80 percent of babies world-wide are born into the caring, skillful hands of a midwife.
     The midwifery service has been in existence for 16 years within PMH, located at 531 Princess Avenue in Brandon. PMH has seven funded midwifery positions and are a very diverse group from England, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Canada. All registered midwives are governed by the College of Midwives of Manitoba and follow the college’s regulations as well as PMH policy and procedures.
     Midwives are primary health care professionals who care for low-risk obstetrical clients, independent of a physician. Midwives promote decision making as a shared responsibility between the woman, her family and her caregivers, by providing relevant, objective information and counselling to facilitate informed choice. Midwives respect a woman’s right to choice of care, caregiver and place of birth.
     All midwives within PMH hold obstetrical privileges at the Brandon Regional Health Centre for all aspects of normal care, as well as admitting and discharging clients. Within their role, midwives can order blood work, ultrasounds, other diagnostic testing, and refer to any specialist within the province that may be needed to provide optimal care for our clients. Midwives work as an integrated part of the multi-disciplinary obstetrical team and can consult/transfer care to any obstetrical physician or pediatrician if indicated.
     Clients will have routine prenatal visits at the standard time frames of a physician or nurse practitioner. Women are allocated half to one hour appointments dependent on their need. During this time, apart from the usual prenatal care, woman will have time to discuss any concerns and prenatal education will be done. Midwives also attend home births within the Brandon city limits when requested by the mother, and all assessments indicate it is safe to proceed. There are always two midwives at every home birth.
     Midwives maintain care of our women once in the hospital and conduct the intrapartum and postpartum care independent of a physician/nurse practitioner, unless an indication presents requiring a consultation with a physician/nurse practitioner. Primary care of mother and babe continues for six weeks postpartum and then the client may be seen by the public health nurse for well-baby care – growth and development assessment and immunization.
     If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact 1-204-571-5530. All women interested in midwifery care may self-refer.

Ref: College of Midwives of Manitoba

PMH Midwife Team - From left to right are Baileigh Kaptein, Juliette Adetudimu, Fortuna Osivwemu, Alfred Sankoh, Angela Umoh, Kari Hammersley and Jenna Mennie-Clark.

Copyright © 2018 Prairie Mountain Health, All rights reserved.

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