Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My plea to the premier

Few people have that special touch,  a miraculous skill, that relentless dedication to their profession that make an incredible difference in peoples' lives.  This special lady Bernie who is a paediatric  physiotherapist has all those qualities.   My daughter had the good fortune to start seeing Bernie when she was just a few months old.  She was very fragile and her future was very uncertain.  Ashley needed Bernie's help to gain head control, roll over, use her arms to reach, and bear weight through her legs. I began to learn that she is one of the very best in her field and Ashley was so very lucky to have her on her team.  

Because of this lady, Ashley is now a walker, and even a soccer player.  Ashley has a new level of independence with her walker and every new accomplishment is like a gift. This did not come easy for Ashley but with Bernie's skills and advocating that Ashley received the adequate number if visits to make it happen, Ashley has now received a new level of freedom. You can't image how shocked and saddened I was to learn that Bernie's contract was recently cancelled by 1 to 1 Rehab. We need more physiotherapist like Bernie in the public sector.  

At present CCAC's and Children's Treatment Centre’s in Ontario  look more  at the number of visits and block the child for treatment, rather then focusing on the child's ability to progress and to attain outcomes goals.  There is just not enough funding for physiotherapy to provide the level of therapy to make a difference for the growing number of special needs kids in Ontario. We are lucky in that we can afford to supplement the government therapy with private therapy.  That was also needed to get Ashley where she is today.  Not all families are able to supplement the government therapy with private physiotherapy. 

I wish I knew how to let the provincial government know many more kids need more therapy and that it really pays off in the long run.   Many more skilled physiotherapist need to be hired to meet their  needs.  Kids who can walk and who are not confined to wheelchairs will function better and be happier adults.   They will require less expensive health care and equipment if they can move about independently.

Dalton McGuinty, I know you want to build a brighter future for Ontario.  Please don't forget about my girl.  If it were not for Bernie, Ashley would not be where she is today.  Bernie is someone that you want on your therapy team.   There are many more kids in York region that would have benefitted from her service.  Not all  parents can afford private therapy.   Physiotherapy should not be a luxury for kids who cannot walk, hold up your head, feed yourself or speak. 

Kids here need more therapy and this isn't just a physiotherapy problem, it can be said for occupational and speech unfortunately.   Ashley is enjoying and benefiting greatly from her current block of PT at CTN and but it is only an 8 week block.   Ashley will have to sit out at least 8 weeks before starting again.  Ashley will spend more time out of therapy then in therapy in the next year.   Image if she regresses and doesn't have that opportunity to learn how to walk independently.   Ontario has amazing therapists who are forced  to work privately and many families can't afford this cost.  Please don't let these children down. It's an uphill battle just to be a kid.

You can see what Ashley can learn to do when receiving on-going therapy in her progress videos herehere and here.


Lisa said...

Gah! So frustrating. I'm sorry to hear such an amazing person and tremendous source for growth for Ashley was "cut." Brutal. Government priorities are definitely messed up. :(

Shirley said...

Yes, I agree that Bernie is one of a kind and they should be trying to find ways to clone her, not get rid of her.
They should be ashamed of what they have done. They need more not fewer therapists like Bernie whose focus is on the needs of the child first. My son would not be walking without her help. We were so desperate and thankful when we found her. Why don't those who make the decisions realize that the bottom line result of giving these kids the best is that they can be more independent sooner and that should be the only thing here that is important?

Melissa Miller said...

Imagine, shall we, an Olympic or National team that was only allowed to train for 8 weeks before having to take and 8 week hiatus. How do you think this would effect the skills and general aptitude of this highly gifted subset of humanity? Now, let's consider our country's most needy. These are children whose adult lives will be shaped by the gains they make today. As a physical therapist and mother, I am appalled at how little our country is willing to invest in the health, education and general well-being of its most vulnerable. Children like Ashley do not have medals to show for their perseverance. Their parents may not ever experience the glory of their child's face appearing on a cereal box. But medals and glory are not what they are asking for. All they seek is the dignity to move, communicate, and contribute.
Think about it, Mr. Premier.

Anonymous said...

Sherry, i just cant believe this is happening ! Bernie is one of the best physiotherapists in Toronto and maybe one of the very very few good therapist in CCAC ! CCAC is already providing very very minimal therapy sessions and I just can't understand how they just hire new graduates to deal with our super complex children. Not only they are wasting their money, but they are wasting our children's chance to get some independence while they are still very young and still have the option to get better if they receive the right treatment. Not only, they should keep Bernie, but they should make her train the other therapists. I really hope CCAC will rehire bernie for the sake of our special little ones.