Article from The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton is getting a new transitional program for people with acquired brain injury, focused on helping them redesign their lives in at-home settings.

The program — called Connect Hamilton — will be set up like a townhouse complex with six homes containing seven bedrooms each on the Stoney Creek Mountain.

“We have a coaching approach and a culture that embraces personal accountability and owning your own stuff that you’re going through,” said Patti Flaherty, president and chief operating officer of Connect Communities.

Connect Communities has partnered with Hamilton Health Sciences on the program.

The 26 Upper Mount Albion Rd. site will have capacity for 42 people, including 28 bedrooms funded through Hamilton Health Sciences, when it opens in the fall of 2018.

People with an acquired brain injury due to stroke or injury will be admitted into the program after being discharged from hospital.

Occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers and nurses will be among the staff on-site, although their titles will differ because of the program’s unique approach, Flaherty said.

“Their approach will be focused more on helping to coach people compared to the typical medical therapeutic model.”

Residents will set their own goals about what they want out of life and work with a coach on how to achieve them, whether they include volunteering, working or physical mobility, Flaherty said.

“Our environment will be at-home first,” she said, noting residents will work with staff to help run a household and build their confidence and capacity.

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network approved the program in 2016 and construction is expected to get underway next month.

The program is “good news” because it will not only help people transition from hospital to their homes, but also free up beds in HHS’s acquired brain injury rehabilitation program, said Teresa Smith, vice-president of adult regional care.

“Sometimes it takes longer for us to find a placement for these kinds of patients in the other programs that exist, but this should be a natural transition.”

The average stay is expected to be between nine months and a year, Flaherty said.

An outreach program will also be based at the site.