Patient Safety Champion: Recreational therapist Kevin Stairs serves as mirror for clients, reminds them how far they’ve come

Harbourview Hospital recreational therapist Kevin Stairs has been named a Pateint Safety Champion (Contributed/NSHA).
Harbourview Hospital recreational therapist Kevin Stairs has been named a Pateint Safety Champion (Contributed/NSHA).

Whether you’re a member of Harbourview Hospital’s adult day program or recovering on the rehabilitation and restorative care unit, recreational therapist Kevin Stairs is there to help you reach your goals.

“Kevin is a very valuable member of the multidisciplinary team,” said Lorna O’Grady, manager of resident care at the community hospital in Sydney Mines.

As Stairs explained, “My role is different depending on where I’m at.” This means how he supports his clients on their journey varies based on their program.

In the adult day program, seniors from the community come to the hospital to participate in supported physical activities, paired with social and cognitive components.

“Our seniors who are either living on their own or with a family member come to our facility for a day,” Stairs said. “The program really is based on helping people get out of their house again, socialization as well as the physical activity, which (are) so important for all of us.”

On the rehabilitation and restorative care unit, Stairs works with clients who may have suffered a stroke or who need help reconditioning after a lengthy hospital stay. Being able to work mostly one-on-one with them has allowed him to build meaningful relationships.

“It’s about developing trust with those individuals that I work with,” he said, “and really, getting a sense of what their goals are, understanding their challenges and stressors, and giving them a chance to be heard.”
Seeing the positive results from both programs is very rewarding for Stairs, knowing that his clients will carry the skills they gained from their program with them back into their everyday lives.

“I really appreciate and enjoy seeing our people succeed, seeing them achieve the goal that they set for themselves and being so appreciative and thankful,” he shared.

Although, clients don’t always recognize their progress as quickly as their recreational therapist.

“We see it, but a lot of times our clients don’t see it,” Stairs said. “It’s kind of being their mirror to remind them, ‘Look at this. Do you remember this is how you were when you came in?’ And then showing them, ‘Look at what you’re able to do now.’”

Looking back on their journey and showing them what they can look forward to in the future are big motivators for his clients.

Stairs commitment to his work hasn’t gone unnoticed by his colleagues.

“Kevin consistently strives for improved safety and high quality of care in his interactions with the clients, families and team,” O’Grady said.
“His work as a recreation therapist, a member of the multidisciplinary team and co-lead on the rehabilitation quality team has had positive effects on improving outcomes and client experiences at Harbourview.”

All this and more is why Stairs has been named a Patient Safety Champion.

Congratulations, Kevin!