Meet (and pledge!) Susan Sauve, Lianne Lapierre, and Caroline Leblanc.
Sponsored by Bourgon Construction
What do we do at CCH?
We work in Chronic Disease Management. Our teams support patients living with ongoing illnesses to improve their quality of life and help prevent hospitalization. Our patients have regular appointments at CCH, we monitor how they’re doing, make medical or lifestyle recommendations, and educate them to better manage their illness at home.
Chronic diseases can develop quickly, or they can start early and last a lifetime. Our teams support an array of ongoing illnesses, from heart failure and diabetes – for adults and children – to stroke prevention, a blood clot clinic, COPD management, a PICC unit and more.
Caroline’s a certified diabetes educator and dietitian. She works with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. Lianne’s a registered nurse who works in our PICC line clinic. Susan’s a registered nurse who worked in the diabetes unit, supported the stroke clinic, and now helps manage the whole Chronic Disease Management department.
How did our healthcare journeys start?
Susan: I’m from Nova Scotia. When I was 14 years old, I was cutting the grass at our local nursing home when one of the residents told me I shouldn’t be mowing the lawn, I should be inside helping the people instead. I don’t know what it was, but they thought I’d be good at it, and their words always stuck with me. When it came to choosing my profession, I looked for ways I could make others’ lives better, and nursing just fit.
Caroline: I was raised in New Brunswick, so Susan and I are both from the east coast. I always thought I was going to be a teacher, because I wanted to help educate others in some way. As I grew older, I fell in love with nutrition because it’s so important to all aspects of our lives. So, I combined my love of education with my passion for nutrition and became a registered dietitian.
Lianne: Growing up, I always loved science. When it was time to pick my undergrad, I wanted to learn more about the human body – everything about it was fascinating to me. My dad always thought I’d make a great nurse, so I followed my heart, listened to his advice, and never looked back. I’ve been part of the CCH family since I was a student, working in ICU and the Emergency Department before joining the PICC team.
What are we most proud of when it comes to working at CCH?
Susan – Honestly, I’m proud of our staff. Despite the turbulence over the last three years, our healthcare workers’ hard work, help, and compassion shines through. As one of the leaders in Chronic Disease Management, I truly care for everyone on our team. Staff want to do well, make a tough day better, be there for their patients. Dealing with ongoing sickness and disease isn’t easy, and we really want to help the people who come in to see us. Not every day is perfect, but I’m grateful for – and proud of – our department.
Lianne – I’m proud of the work we do on CCH’s PICC team. We help patients with critical illness, cancer treatment preparedness, palliative care, and other chronic diseases.
Inserting a PICC line is a sterile procedure requiring access to deep veins above the heart. It sounds serious, but it’s very common now to improve a patient’s quality of life, protecting their veins from irritating medication, avoiding daily needles, and helping manage disease from home. An IV is only good for three days, but you can have a PICC line for years, delivering lifesaving therapies, nutrients, or essential medications.
It was exciting when our clinic introduced music therapy last year. Now, when our patients come in, we call it our PICC party. We let them choose their own music and have fun with it. Our sterile hats, gowns, and masks are our party outfits. I’m proud that on a day when they may arrive feeling scared, our patients leave with a smile and even tell us they look forward to their next visit!
Caroline – I’m proud to help my patients learn more about their diagnosis, teaching them ways to improve their quality of life, and giving them hope for their future. I’m not originally from the area but I choose to live here because I love it, and I want to help make things better for others. Contributing to the community really makes me proud.
Why did we decide to participate in Dancing with the CCH Stars?
Caroline – I LOVE dancing and I LOVE winning. I attended last year’s show and saw how much fun it was. The whole time I was watching I was thinking about being up there on stage this year. It’s a great way to support the Foundation and the hospital.
Lianne – I wanted to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I wanted to put myself in an uncomfortable position and have fun with it, connect with my coworkers, and do something for CCH.
Susan – Last year when we watched the show, my husband turned to me and said, “That needs to be us. We need to be up there.” Unfortunately, Jason broke his ankle right before training started – but my team stepped in, here we are, and we’re having a great time with it!
What’s our project?
Our project is about empowering our patients so they can get more out of life. When someone’s diagnosed with a chronic disease or limitation, they experience a sense of grief for the life they had. If we provide them with the proper tools, they can better manage their diagnosis with a more positive outlook and sense of independence. Our $50,000 project includes 4 opportunities:
- A self-assessment station on the 3rd floor including:
- A bariatric scale with height rod and safety rail
- A wheelchair scale with dual sided ramp
- Blood pressure equipment
- Blood sugar device station
- Heart rate monitor
- Signage and chairs
The self-assessment station will be a first for our department. It can be used by our patients ahead of – and between – appointments, so they can use calibrated equipment to make sure they’re tracking properly at home or come in to double-check the accuracy of the values they’re recording. We want to teach patients to identify trends and take their health into their hands. If they spot a problem, we can help them address it more quickly, and hopefully avoid a bigger issue or hospital stay.
- New exercise equipment (one treadmill and two bikes) for patients with COPD or chronic asthma. Our rehab professionals offer classes to patients so they can gain confidence to walk outside, maybe join a gym and take better control of their respiratory health. Our equipment has seen better days. It’s still working but we need better technology for our patients.
- A new leg press machine for our geriatric day clinic to train muscle resistance in seniors. By strengthening their muscles, we can help seniors adjust to changes in their bodies, avoiding falls and staying more active.
- A blanket warmer and stand for our PICC patients, to add more comfort to their visits.
Why should you pledge our team?
While we’re less known than the Emergency Department or ICU, Chronic Disease Management probably touches more areas of our community than any other unit at the hospital. We’re here to help people take control of their own health. If we can teach patients to care for their chronic disease, they can live better lives. Also? We’re training hard. Pledge our team – we’re in it to win it!