A Better Way After Brain Injury
CONNECT's New Independence Coach is Ready to Take on Her New Role - and All the Okanagan has to Offer
Karin Schmidt, occupational therapist, says she's thrilled to be in the Okanagan and excited to... read more
CONNECT’s mission is to Make Lives Better. We achieve this by providing complex and specialized services for people living with brain injury and stroke in a nurturing and innovative community environment. Through our Life Redesign Model, we empower our residents by applying our knowledge and experience to coach, challenge and motivate each person to reach their unique personal goals and build a fulfilling life for themselves. CONNECT is one of few organizations accredited through Accreditation Canada using the Acquired Brain Injury standards.
CONNECT was founded in Langley in 1993 to develop and operate specialized residential environments for people living with brain injury. Over the course of 20 years our services and supports have developed into a linked residential program with 71 residential units on six sites. Our comprehensive services range from short-term transitional rehabilitation through long-term residential placement.
With the opening of CONNECT Lake Country in January 2009, CONNECT as a whole has recently supported and served more than 250 people with acquired brain injury.
Real life, practical approach to rehabilitation
CONNECT’s vision is to transform the way people with brain injury are served and supported in our local BC communities and across the country. Whether long-term or transitional, we address the physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural needs of our residents. Personal development and achievement (or rehabilitation) leads to fulfillment and better quality of life. CONNECT engages all of our skills and resources, those of our consulting partners and the strengths of our residents to ensure each resident experiences lifelong learning, social participation and fulfillment.
Coaching at CONNECT
Our team of rehab professionals approach their jobs differently than most. CONNECT supports an environment of coaching where residents strive to reach their self-directed goals. The coaches form a team working collaboratively to guide rather than lead residents. The process is entirely resident-centred and strengths-based, viewing each resident as naturally creative, resourceful, wise and whole.
The CONNECT Rehab Professional Team of coaches includes:
- Independence Coach – Occupational Therapy
- Physical Coach – Physical Therapy
- Communication Coach – Speech and Language Therapy
- Play Coach – Recreation Therapy
- Health and Wellness Coach - Registered Nurse
- Thinking Coach - Neuropsychologist
Our homes are fully licensed as "Specialized Adult Residential" under British Columbia's Community Care and Assisted Living Act and thoroughly inspected on a regular basis. We work with a wide range of funding agencies including private and public insurance companies, WorkSafe BC, government programs, health authorities and individual families.
We are available on short notice to provide detailed assessments and proposals for services and support. The following criteria are important considerations:
- 19 years of age or older (younger people may be considered with licensing approval)
- Medically stable
- Have access to funding
- Demonstrate interest and involvement
Services & Support
CONNECT’s values include flexibility, creativity, learning, respect, passion and joy. We offer rehab services and support, hope and a place to live for people at all levels of ability. Our services are developed and guided by one-on-one time with in-house rehab professionals to support people build meaningful relationships, be connected to their community and be involved in functional and productive activities.
Our service and support philosophy centres the resident to the planning and service delivery process. By being clear about “whose life? – whose problem?” CONNECT is able to bring forward an equal partnership approach with each resident, their family and others who are important to them.
Every individual is valued for who they are and what they bring to a situation. The individual is the expert in their own lives and a partner in the planning process. Everything we can or will do is done in partnership with the individual and their families.
The individual lives with brain injury but is not defined by it. Just like everyone else, their problems are their own, and responsibility for that stays with them, as does the responsibility to search for potential solutions. We are there to help them navigate their life’s process.
That which is most meaningful to the individual will likely be the most motivating and life affirming and will promote success. The onus is on us to get to know the individual so we can understand their perception, priorities and vision for their future. This understanding will help build partnerships and facilitate meaningful services and supports.
The individual has a right to self-determination, to be viewed for abilities rather than deficits and holds the responsibility for the choices made. Our job is to help an individual build on their strengths and to navigate the many obstacles or barriers that may prevent them from achieving their vision, and to be there for them and support them when they fail. This is a lifelong process.
Self-management comes from learning by doing, education, information and practical skills-building are core competencies of CONNECT’s services. We encourage all residents to have a go, to continue to challenge themselves to learn more about who they are and who they can be. We share in this process by applying the “whatever it takes” principle to our own efforts.
We believe people with brain injuries continue to learn, grow and change throughout their recovery and the rest of their lives. Services therefore must be individualized, flexible and adaptable to meet changing needs and desires. We also believe all people have the opportunity, power and resources to contribute to their families and community. This is no different for someone living with a brain injury and services are focused on this belief.
We strive to preserve the spirit of a family home in each of our residences.
Our five residences in Langley are situated on beautiful, sprawling, treed grounds. Amenities like walking trails, a recreation centre, movie theatres and shopping centres are nearby and our outdoor lanscape areas accommodate gardening, games, pets, exercise and social gatherings. Large private bedrooms reflect the personal touches of their residents. Our homes, inside and out, are wheelchair adapted and accessible.
Connect Langley provides transitional community based rehabilitation services and residential support for 29 people. Added features include a fitness room, media room, a handyman's workshop and computers with internet access. Our homes are within easy access of public transit, community centers, parks, banks, restaurants, malls, cinemas and other amenities.
Our condominium development in Lake Country (near Kelowna) contains six individual homes. Each home has seven private bedrooms, a kitchen, dining and living rooms and everything a home offers. The six homes are attached by a connecting corridor behind the building, which houses some common areas, such as a fitness room, media room, offices, meeting, and recreation and leisure areas. The outside landscape areas provide outdoor living spaces and areas for gardening, relaxation and social gatherings. We are located is in the Winfield neighbourhood, which has many parks, borders on Wood Lake and has retail amenities.
We like to think of it as a home first with creative and individualized services for the people we have the privilege to support. It is home to transitional rehabilitation and residential services for up to 42 people living with brain injuries.
Our team includes trained rehab professionals, skilled and experienced in complex transitional rehabilitation and residential support services. First and foremost, however, our people are caring, compassionate and respectful which creates a workplace that is supportive and fun.
Meet Our Coaches
CONNECT’s team of professional coaches includes a play coach, physical coach, health and wellness coach, communication coach, independence coach and thinking coach. This team is made up of 10 therapists from a variety of disciplines including recreation therapy, physiotherapy, registered nursing, speech therapy, occupational therapy and neuropsychology, respectively.
Hover over or tap on a coach for more info.
Mary Lou Iceton
As a communication coach and speech language pathologist by profession, Mary Lou sees communication as giving, receiving, or exchanging ideas and information, enabling our residents to persuade, to seek, to give or to express. Communication is the essence of human interaction and a basic human right. Re-establishing and improving the ability to relate, greet, share, express, agree, disagree, negotiate... and CONNECT is what powers this communication coach.
Health and Wellness Coach
Jennifer, a registered nurse, provides residents at CONNECT with guidance as they take charge of their health and make changes in their lifestyle that will have long-lasting positive affects. By partnering with staff and residents, she attempts to enhance confidence and competence in the ability of the individual to self-manage their health conditions. She strives to have each resident actively involved in their own care. Outside of work, you can find Jennifer golfing, biking, beaching and enjoying time with her family and the newest aspect of her life, being a Grandma.
Chris provides mentorship and support for a variety of projects. She acts as Lead Coach for the residential residents at CONNECT. Chris, a physiotherapist, enjoys supporting others to achieve goals that they didn't think were possible. Outside of CONNECT, Chris is very involved with speed skating and enjoys mountain biking.
Leader Services and Culture and Play Coach
As Play Coach, Mark supports and encourages residents to develop a healthy leisure lifestyle that contributes to well-being. In his leadership capacity, Mark coaches staff to carry out CONNECT's mission and coaches residents to use meaningful activity in a purposeful way to both develop resources and promote positive emotion and experiences on a daily basis. Sharing his passion for recreation and leisure is what keeps Mark going. When not working, he will most often be found mountain biking, hanging out with friends, and travelling.
Tez started with CONNECT in January 2012 as Lake Country's Physical Coach. Tez comes from a private practice background and has found the role to be a great challenge and a fulfilling one. He works closely with the residents' goals, needs and wants to achieve meaningful lasting functional outcomes. Tez continues to work in a private clinic, volunteers with various sport teams and plays Ultimate Frisbee.
Health and Wellness Coach
Ashlie's goal as Health and Wellness Coach is to support CONNECT residents in Langley to live their healthiest lives based on their individual goals. Ashlie oversees medication, wound care and helps residents make healthy choices regarding diet and exercise. She enjoys working with Life Redesign Coaches to provide as much support to residents as possible. Her two children keep her busy at home and they love swimming, playing sports and geocaching.
Brian is CONNECT Lake Country's independence coach, helping our residents achieve their diverse goals beyond the ADL's and IADL's. The ability to make positive change supported by an innovative team is what keeps Brian, an occupational therapist, smiling. When not working Brian can rarely be found, as he is likely outside, exercising with his wife and daughter.
Connie assists in developing strategies to help manage communication and/or swallowing disorders following brain injury. She is one of CONNECT's Communication Coaches, a speech Language Pathologist by profession. Being a mom for nearly 26 years to her three children and charing in their many pursuits keeps her busy, along with a long list of activities in line with her own interests. She is working on completing a book of therapy materials.
Michelle's role is to provide consultation and assessment of a resident's physical status and work collaboratively with the resident, family and the team to set out functional, meaningful goals. She sets up individualized physical programs, incorporating daily functional activities with residents and house staff, which they continue to work on together to help achieve their goals. When not at CONNECT, Michelle can be found chasing around two very active, adorable little boys. She enjoys going to the gym, skating, skiing, playing soccer, reading and enjoying the beautiful Okanagan weather and lifestyle.
Nikta loves watching CONNECT residents in Langley build community. As an Occupational Therapist, Nikta applies her knowledge to the CONNECT philosophy to help people get back to living after a brain injury or stroke. She loves one-on-one time with the residents and seeing progress based on how each resident defines success. When she's not working she loves camping and yoga.
Wendy is a Thinking Coach at Connect Lake Country. Her career in rehabilitation spans more than 25 years providing support and rehabilitation services to people with brain injuries. Her specific expertise is in cognitive rehabilitation focusing on memory, executive functions and attention, resulting in international publications in the area of memory.
CONNECT embraces coaching as a way of being. The support coaches make things run smoothly at CONNECT by managing everything from IT to administration to HR.
People Resources Coach
Community Resource Coach
Decision Support Coach
People Resources Coach
Service Resource Coaches
CONNECT's Service Resource Coaches are the go-to contacts for Life Redesign Coaches so they can expect the unexpected with residents, families and staff and make lives better every day.
Jennifer Tisado-Dela Cruz
Meet Our Leadership Team
Patti Flaherty President and COO
The footprints of her professional journey have prepared her for leading the development of CONNECT Lake Country and overseeing the leadership and management of CONNECT Langley and the growth of the company. Her ability to keep a strong focus along with her sense of humour goes a long way in executing team goals and supporting people to be the best they can be. Like the rest of the team, Patti enjoys outdoor activities and looks forward to gathering family and friends at a table with good food, good conversation and a great abundance of laughter.
John Sherwood CEO
John's role at CONNECT is to provide leadership through mentoring and support and to empower those around him. Following his mother Janet's vision of "a better life for those living with brain injury", John enjoys watching people explore their potential. At the end of the day he is most proud of "our residents and ourselves". John's day begins and ends with his family and when time permits his pastimes are fly-fishing and skiing.
Leader Services and Culture
Some of Juliet's goals at CONNECT are to listen to, and learn from, residents and staff so she can encourage and empower them in their roles. As Leader Services and Culture, Juliet leads and supports resident services to ensure the Life Redesign Model is being delivered. Juliet supports the professional coaching team and is a resource for all staff and residents. With 10 years of experience as a health care professional, Juliet wants to help residents striving for new life after brain injury and staff supporting this new growth.
Leader of Our People Resources
Janette's desire to make a difference in another's life is the thread that weaves its way into the fabric of her leadership at CONNECT. As Leader of Our People Resources, Janette oversees payroll, HR, invoicing, contract management, referrals and move-in/move-out. Janette's objective at work is for people to be happy in their work so residents get the best experience possible at CONNECT. Spending time with family and friends rates high on her list of activities away from her office.
Director Culture, People and Services
Sharing in the success of others is what makes Karen's day to day life at CONNECT fulfilling. As Director of Culture, People and Services, Karen does just that - oversees CONNECT's operations to ensure the health of the culture, the happiness and effectiveness of our people and the delivery of our services. She is constantly encouraging our residents and staff to live life to the fullest and providing them with the support they need. Fishing with her husband, spending time with her family and learning to play the piano keep Karen busy on her days off.
For more information, or to arrange a visit, please contact us by phone or email or complete the form below.
Volunteer with CONNECT
We are always looking for new volunteers, if you think that could be you, please download the form here, fill it out and send it back to us. We will get in touch as soon as possible to help you get involved.