From sleep studies to resident care: an invaluable contribution to Misericordia Place

Sleep Disorder Centre staff

Throughout the pandemic, health-care programs and services in the province have been temporarily suspended to help flatten the curve. One of many areas at MHC that has been impacted is the Sleep Disorder Centre. The SDC is a provincial program unique to MHC, helping more than 10,000 Manitobans sleep better every year.

In mid-November, select services were put on pause, including outpatient sleep studies. With 90 per cent of sleep studies temporarily suspended in order to ensure safe patient care, SDC staff were redeployed to other areas on-site at MHC. Two of the 16 redeployed SDC team members are Kathy Gjema (far left) and Seng Yi (far right), both polysomnographers, or informally known as “sleep techs.”

Kathy and Seng have been working alongside the extended Misericordia Place team for the last two months, on MP2 and MP3, respectively.

Change is never easy, especially when it means going into a new, unfamiliar role. Both Kathy and Seng have taken the change in stride. And like their fellow SDC colleagues, they were also redeployed previously this spring to help field COVID-19 screening calls at Health Links – Info Santé.

“I don’t like too much change, but this has been an important change. To be effective and helpful, you have to adapt,” said Seng, who currently works primarily night shifts at Misericordia Place.

While the average night shift at MP looks quite different than at the Sleep Disorder Centre, there are parallels between the two.

“Some of the residents have trouble sleeping and they’re up during the night. I try to help them however I can, by sitting and talking with them or bringing them some ice cream.” said Seng.

Sleep tech Kathy says her normal shift at the SDC involves monitoring patients while they sleep for respiratory issues. While monitoring patients, she documents findings for a physician, who’ll then determine the mode of therapy required.

Now at MP, Kathy’s role includes, but isn’t limited to, assisting with duties such as sanitizing high-touch surfaces, stocking linen and supply carts as well as helping transport residents.

“At our MP orientation, once I saw how everything and everyone worked together, I was really happy to be there,” said Kathy.

Both Kathy and Seng expressed being proud to assist the health-care aides, nurses and MP team any way they could. Together, the MP team with the help of SDC staff, continue to provide quality, compassionate care to residents.

“I’ve enjoyed spending time with the residents and getting to know them,” said Kathy.

As directives change and suspended health-care programs start running again, Kathy and Seng will head back to the Sleep Disorder Centre. They, along with their SDC colleagues, have been an invaluable asset to the MP team.

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