Wilma Telesnicki is almost 70, has been a lifelong resident of Niagara and is a very active volunteer at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health & Rehabilitation Centre. In 2014, Wilma suffered a stroke affecting her left side, her speech and had many cognitive issues as a result – she experienced difficultly putting sentences together and retaining anything while reading. After being in the stroke unit at one of our local hospitals, Wilma was sent to Hotel Dieu Shaver Health & Rehabilitation Centre to complete 2.5 weeks in our InPatient program followed by 7 weeks as an OutPatient. “I didn’t want to come here. I thought that it was sort of my demise, that there wasn’t much hope for me, that I would come here and not progress when in fact, it was directly the opposite.”
During both Wilma's InPatient and OutPatient rehabilitation at Hotel Dieu Shaver, “My experience was wonderful here, everyone went above and beyond and I always tell patients that are here that this is not like a regular hospital – it is an exceptional institution and we are so blessed to have it right here in our midst in Niagara because we don’t have to go to Hamilton or Toronto.” After her first day in our care, her attitude changed “I was walking the halls all night because I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited to go to rehab in the morning.”
Wilma experienced a number of our programs - Speech Language Pathology, Physio-Occupational Therapy and Aquatic Therapy, and through the help of all the therapists here, Wilma is able to function almost normally again. “I learned to maneuver around a kitchen again, was taught how to slice vegetables, I learned many things that I had lost the ability to do on my own as a result of the stroke and now I pretty well do everything on my own except I have to use a walker.” She is also an example for others in our community who have challenges to overcome. “I am very independent, I travel with St. Catharines transit everywhere” and “my experiences with Hotel Dieu Shaver boosted my self-confidence”
Wilma has many positive things to say about her care, from the friendliness and openness of the staff, “they are concerned about the patients progressing about taking away some of the impediments so that people can move back home or to an assisted living facility.” She experienced “exceptional care – everybody goes above and beyond here.” The care here is “exceptional and there is nothing else like it! I always say the staff are hand-picked.”
During her time spent in rehabilitation here, Wilma was recruited by Matt Hill, one of our Recreational Therapists to come back in to volunteer helping run their Bingo. Wilma is also a volunteerand sits on the Executive of our hospital Auxillary. “I love it, I spend a good part of my week here, very often 3 days and I love every moment that I spend here volunteering and with patients.” Wilma herself is always found with a smile because “This is home to me.”
As a true advocate of our services here at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health & Rehabilitation Centre, Wilma loves volunteering “It’s fun – I enjoy people.” Speaking to patients here, Wilma loves when they complain about being tired because she “gives them a lecture. When you work hard in your therapy that is how you get discharged! You don’t leave here in a better state of mind and physical ability unless you give it your all. Turn the negatives into positives.”
The Hotel Dieu Shaver Gift shop, Nevada booth and café are mainly run by volunteers. The Hospital Auxillary is always looking for volunteers - if anyone is looking for something fun to do and a way to give back to the community, please contact Human Resources at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health & Rehabilitation Centre or visit the following link.
For a video of Wilma's interview, please visit the following link.