A daughter shares thanks for the care her father received at GGH

Early in the New Year, we received this letter from Leslie Austin, sharing her gratitude for the care her father received over the holidays.

As a supporter of the Hospital, we hope you read this letter with pride, knowing that you play an important role in supporting Guelph General’s exceptional team.

By giving our caregivers the patient care tools they need, you help deliver the highest quality care and experience to patients and their families.

This past December, my elderly father’s health journey led him to a two-week stay at GGH. Like many of his other admissions to five other Ontario hospitals over the years, this experience came with unavoidable fear but was also coupled with the uncertainty of an unfamiliar hospital in an unfamiliar city.

As his designated caregiver, I spent six to eight hours per day with him in his room over this 14 day period and had contact with countless nurses and doctors as well as team members from multiple departments.

From the Emergency Department, to the Step-Down Unit and beyond, doctors, nurses and allied staff were prompt and clear in communicating with our family, be it over the phone or in person at the hospital. They often reached out to us and approached difficult conversations gently but realistically. It became apparent early on that my father’s care would be a team approach, and that we, his family, were considered an important part of the team.

Any comments or ideas brought forth to staff were given thoughtful consideration. Information, be it critical or just small details, travelled efficiently not only from one shift to another, but from one department to another.

Every staff member who came into contact with my father and myself treated the experience as though it was a privilege to be doing such work. His dignity was preserved and upheld during every interaction.

With each passing day, I noticed more and more that respect, kindness and compassion were not reserved exclusively for patients. I lost count the number of times I heard staff members cheerfully offer help to one another with their tasks, often anticipating one another’s needs.
Some of those tasks were not even specific to that person’s job, they just happened to be nearby when the help was needed. I came to realize that the staff were not just taking care of patients, they were taking care of one another. This pattern played out continuously and the nature of GGH’s culture quickly became apparent.

GGH staff may already realize that taking care of one another means taking even better care of patients, but there is even further residual benefit. The excellent care, given while supporting one another, allowed me to go home at night, reassure my worried mother, sleep without concern and come in the next day as the best possible version of myself for my dad. In taking care of my father, GGH was actually taking care of my entire family.
The standard of care we experienced at GGH was exceptional, and this during the holidays AND a stressful pandemic no less!

My father and our entire family remain grateful not only for the excellent medical care, but for the humanity with which it is delivered.

Sincerely and with great appreciation,
Leslie Austin and the entire family of John (Jack) Ward