November 14, 2012

Dear fellow Northerners,

Across the North East we have some amazing people and organizations that go above and beyond the scope of their jobs to reach out to others and make healthy change happen.

We want to recognize their good work with a new North East LHIN award, the Healthy Change Champion.

What is a Healthy Change Champion? Well …let me introduce you to Monica Bretzlaff!
Monica Bretzlaff HCC_SMMonica is the Regional Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) Coordinator, with the North Bay Regional Health Centre.

She is being recognized for championing a new system of care for our most vulnerable – older adults with dementia, neurological conditions and mental illnesses – and also providing new help for their caregivers. These seniors’ responsive behaviours can range from wandering to shouting to striking out at loved ones. We call them responsive because they may be caused by an unmet need or desire that the person can no longer communicate.

Monica is promoting the fact that behaviour is a form of communication and that these seniors need to be cared for in a way that respects their personhood. Their new care plans may adjust their environment, change the way their caregivers relate to them, or find meaningful activities for them to do.

BSO is a provincial project that has been adapted differently in LHINs across the province. In our region, the NE LHIN has invested in 58 front line workers who are working one-on-one with these seniors, providing them the care they need and the respect they deserve, as well as coaching families and other caregivers on strategies to deal with their behaviours.

Monica’s extraordinary work involves coordinating new personal support worker coaches, nursing coaches, clinicians, psychogeriatric resource consultants, behaviour support facilitators and enhanced integration with NE CCAC into four teams to serve geographic areas in our region (Sudbury-Parry Sound-Manitoulin, Nipissing-Temiskaming, Cochrane and Algoma).  In addition, she is working with existing care partners and other medical specialists including physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and geriatric psychiatrists to enable the teams to tap into their expertise.

Monica is also building on existing programs, to leverage more care for these older adults and provide specialized geriatric training for other professionals working in long term care homes, hospitals and at community service organizations. We’re happy to report that, thanks to her efforts, more than 1900 people from across our region have received this specialized training in the past few months! (If you’re concerned about a client or family member, you can contact Behaviour Supports Services by calling: 1-855-BSO-NE13)

“I am so proud to represent our organization and our NE BSO Integrated Response Team in this journey of impactful system transformation,” said Monica, when we told her about the award.   “Furthermore, I feel privileged to be part of a team of such extraordinarily passionate and skilled individuals whom remain grounded in the lived experience!  The NE LHIN has provided an inclusive process development platform, which has paved a foundation to awaken creative ideals and embrace the notion of positive change. ”

I bet you may know a Healthy Change Champion who is mobilizing care in your community. And we’re looking for more nominations for this award!

So tell us in one to two paragraphs why you think a person or organization working to transform health care in the North East region should be nominated as a North East LHIN Healthy Change Champion. Send your nomination to and be sure to include a phone number where you can be reached for more information.

Wishing you warmth during a chilly November,