Espanola FHT nurse wins prestigious award

January 06, 2023

The Sudbury Star Published an article on December 29, 2022

By Helen Morley

On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre announced that Chelsea Gagnon a registered practical nurse, working in the Family Health Team, is the recipient of the 2022 WeRPN Michael & Werner Geidlinger Award of Excellence in Palliative Care.

The announcement states, “She was recognized for having helped many patients and families during their palliative care journeys, as well as advocating for them, providing the best quality of care and helping to meet the patients’ needs and goals.”

According to Gagnon’s bio on the WeRPN (Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario) home page, she began her career as a personal support worker (PSW) at a group home for clients with disabilities. To expand her knowledge, Gagnon decided to pursue a career in nursing at Sault College.

Upon graduation in 2017, Gagnon returned to her hometown of Espanola. She works in the Family Health Team, with the complex and palliative support team. To train for her role Gagnon took several courses, including Pallium’s Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) courses.

Along with two other nurses, Gagnon and her team, “assess the needs of patients in the community and provide support to individuals with life-limiting illness.” This is a role she has fulfilled for the past year.

She explains, “We wanted to go into these people’s homes and get to know them so we could provide them with the best quality of life for the time they have.”

The goal of Gagnon and the complex and palliative support team is to get patients into the program as early as possible so they can, “best support patients’ wishes, follow them along their journeys and assist them in transitioning at the end of life.” They provide, “holistic care that goes beyond a sole focus on patients’ physical ailments, but rather looks at their overall wellbeing, including their mental, spiritual and emotional health.”

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