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  • February 09, 2018

Case Study: Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Edmonton, Alberta, CA

Family Centered Care

Glenrose_Hospital_075.jpg#asset:7325The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital is the largest freestanding tertiary rehabilitation hospital in North America and supports more than 87,000 patient visits annually. The hospital is focused on family-centered care that engages the whole family, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and caregivers. The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation was created specifically to enhance the exceptional care the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital delivers to patients by raising funds that fuel innovative research and education, as well as acquire equipment and technology. Their investments from donors give patients, their families, and staff an array of tools to help positively shape their futures. 

Therapy Through Play

With children making up about 40% of the patients that visit Glenrose each year, replacing the old 30-year-old playground has long been a priority, as it failed to meet CSA standards, and was full of sand, which limited what kinds of equipment could be used in it. In 2016, with the support of the Foundation and its donors, the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital celebrated the opening of two redesigned and renewed courtyards and play spaces for patients and their families to enjoy. With over $880,000 invested to make the play areas inclusive for all ages and abilities, the space allows rehabilitation therapy to be integrated with play. Funding for the project came from UNITE HERE Local 47, the union representing Alberta’s hospitality and camp culinary workers, and Friends of Glenrose. Alberta Recycling Management Authority provided matched funds for the poured-in-place unitary surfacing.

Glenrose_Hospital_083.jpg#asset:7329“We are committed to a culture that arranges care around the patient and their families. Play is an important part in their lives as children, parents or grandparents, and play and therapy are natural partners,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS) the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 4 million adults and children living in Alberta. “We’re very thankful that the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation and its donors recognize the importance of inclusive play.”

The courtyards feature inclusive experiences that offer children of all ages and abilities activities in which they can imagine, discover, and be creative as they explore sand and water play, a tree house, parallel bars, bridges, auditory panels, basketball hoops, benches and picnic areas, and movement activities designed to stimulate the vestibular and proprioceptive senses. Physical and gross motor rehabilitation opportunities include strengthening activities, and others designed to improve balance, coordination, and motor planning. Patients can also adapt play skills they gain as they integrate back into community settings.

“Family-centered care and therapy through play for all ages were the goals of the redesigned spaces,” says Dr. Lyn Sonnenberg, neurodevelopmental pediatrician at the AHS facility. “When rehabilitating, our patients have to engage in repetitive activities for extended periods of time. So when engaged in an enjoyable activity, they tend to do it longer and don’t mind doing it over and over again.”

Creating Multigenerational Outdoor Experiences 

Glenrose_Hospital_049.jpg#asset:7324The courtyards serve as safe, enclosed, outdoor environments for all, including individuals and families accessing both the pediatric and adult services at the hospital, children attending school through the School Rehabilitation Service, inpatient mental health residents, as well as the general public. It also includes outdoor fitness equipment designed to promote a total body workout, foster hand-eye coordination, and provide recovery activities for adults. “Whether a child is recovering from trauma, a grandparent is rehabilitating after a stroke, or a family is visiting a loved one, the new courtyards and playgrounds can benefit everyone,” stated David King, Chair, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees.

By thoughtfully removing barriers to play, the outdoor courtyards at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital provide support and increase opportunities for people of all abilities to grow, learn, and heal together through outdoor play.

"To be able to integrate play with therapy is a huge part in the patients’ journey, because a lot of their exercises are repetitive. So if we can provide it in a space that appeals to all senses, that is cheerful, that is happy, and where we can incorporate play with therapy, it makes them that much more motivated to do the work."
- Wendy Dugas, President Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

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