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 people 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 27 years, we continue to hone our model as we learn from and inform the latest approaches to brain injury and stroke. Our comprehensive services range from short-term transitional rehabilitation to long-term residential placement.
In January, 2009, in partnership with Interior Health in BC, we opened CONNECT Lake Country. Just outside of Kelowna, we have a condo-style building with six homes, each supporting seven individuals. In Summer of 2019, we opened the doors of our first Ontario location at CONNECT Hamilton.
In June, 2020, we are opening a new kind of resource in Richmond, BC for people after injury, who also require mental health and addictions redesign. This is an exciting partnership with our sister company, Classic LifeCare.
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.
CONNECT’s Life Redesign Model™ is what defines our approach to rehab, our services and supports and is the lens through which we function as a company.
- A culture of personal accountability, supported risk taking, social capital and meaningful community participation;
- Services are planned around what the person wants more of in life. Participation in relevant life situations drives the person's goals;
- Service plans leverage neuroplasticity by pursuing individual goals in real-life, non-institutional settings;
- A "doing-with" coaching approach with blended job roles and a multi-professional coaching team;
- Hire for fit based on personality and values, not qualifications.
The Life Redesign Model™ is an innovative functional approach to have people participating in real-life activities, which are embedded with rehab activities. CONNECT homes are residential in nature and self-supporting with the people we support and staff working in partnership to keep things running as you would in community. It’s real life without central housekeeping, catering or institutional care home amenities. Our homes blend naturally into the community allowing for easy interaction and integration with the neighbourhood.
CONNECT’s service delivery is characterized by flexibility and variety and leaves plenty of room for spontaneity. This flexibility is essential in meeting the enormous variety of unique needs presented by acquired brain injury and stroke and better emulates daily life after CONNECT in the community. Residents are supported to plan their day based on what works best for them and their life beyond CONNECT.
Contact One of Our Locations
For more information, or to arrange a visit, please contact us by phone or email.
CONNECT’s Coaching Resource Team
Our coaching resource team is made up of professional coaches, resources coaches and Life Redesign Coaches. All of these people work directly with the people we support, their families and friends and with each other as a team of professionals. We are so committed to coaching, we have integrated coaching into our roles. CONNECT has a whole team of rehab professionals, but we named them specifically to put an emphasis on the coaching aspects of their jobs. Therefore, our Occupational Therapists are called Independence Coaches, our Physiotherapists are called Physical Coaches, our Recreation Therapists are called Play Coaches, our Nurses are called Health and Wellness Coaches, our Speech Language Pathologists are called Communication Coaches, and our Social Workers are called Social Wellness Coaches.
Life Redesign Coaches
CONNECT’s Life Redesign Coaches work with the individuals we support in our homes. LRCs coach individuals to work on achieving the goals in their Life Redesign Plans and support them with community involvement, interdependence and maintaining and developing social capital in their lives. LRCs are hired based on fit, not qualifications, and are typically passionate about helping others to achieve their goals and build a life of meaning. LRCs work within the coaching resource team to help bring “rehab” into everyday life.
Snapshots of our Life Redesign Team Members
Meet Our Leadership Team
President and Chief Operating Officer
Patti Flaherty lived in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and has worked in the field of brain injury and rehabilitation for 25 years. Before joining CONNECT as Executive Leader in 2007, she was a Senior Operating Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health responsible for the site operations of the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Patti has a degree in physical education, a Master’s of Education and completed the Executive Health Leadership Program at the Rotman School of Management. Patti has helped develop and promote CONNECT’s Life Redesign Model, an approach that emphasizes social capital and resident-centred goal-setting in a creative and flexible environment.
Patti is a founding member of the Interdependence Network and is currently the chair for the British Columbia Brain Injury Association (BCBIA). She served as chair for the Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference Society from 2009 – and was on the steering committee from 1996 – 2005. Patti is an active member of the Canadian College of Health Services Executive since 2005 and has been a mentor for the Executive Mentoring Program for the Canadian College of Health Service Executives. In her downtime, Patti enjoys time with her family and frriends. She enjoys yoga, the outdoors, great music and travelling. She counts her father as one of her greatest mentors.
“We meet people where they’re at and we help to coach them to find a way to live a life after a brain injury or stroke that is meaningful to them.”
Chief Executive Officer
John Sherwood, CEO, has 26 years of experience working in health care and holds a BA in Economics. He joined family home care business Classic LifeCare in 1993. At that time he co-founded CONNECT Communities with his mother and business partner Janet Sherwood to address a gap in the system for people after acquired brain injury. Since then, CONNECT has grown to three locations in two provinces serving hundreds of people after brain injury and stroke.
John remains actively involved with both Classic LifeCare and CONNECT as CEO of both companies. He relates to CONNECT’s person-centred approach where the individual supported is in control of their goals, choices and life. One of John’s favourite activities is fishing, although skiing is a close second.
“I am a freedomist at heart. At CONNECT, we try to provide an experience for the people we support that is in line with what we would want for ourselves. For me, that is all about personal choice and preference and not about being prescribed how it’s going to go and how to live my life.”
Director of Culture, People and Services
Originally from the UK, Karen, an Occupational Therapist, worked for ten years in private industry before deciding to change careers and become an Occupational Therapist (1987). A passion for people and a desire to challenge the status quo – especially within health care – have been personal drivers for Karen since – at the age of 3 – she contracted polio. Karen immigrated to Canada with her family in 1998. She joined CONNECT in October 2008 as Leader of Rehabilitation and Clinical Programs with responsibility for developing a different model of service delivery for those living with brain injury. As Director of Culture, People and Service, Karen’s primary function is to support the Leaders of Services and Coaching Resource Teams at those locations, as well as our People Resources team as they go about their work of supporting and delivering CONNECT’s Life Redesign Model.
While keeping a watchful eye on CONNECTs culture, people and services, Karen continues to challenge our teams to think creatively, imagine possibilities, and support change so that the Life Redesign ModelTM can continue to evolve as best practice in the field of brain injury.
With her three adult children now living away from home Karen has more time to indulge her creative spirit either outdoors in her flower garden or in her ‘studio’ teaching others how to make figurines for the garden using fabric and a polymer hardener.
“The first thing we want to know when someone moves in is, ‘Who are you and what makes you tick?’
Accessing Our Services
We are available on short notice to provide detailed assessments and proposals for services and support.