Danielle Perkin is a community intervention coordinator with the acquired brain injury (ABI) program. She has been with Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) for 15 years.
What do you love most about your role?
I love the variety of patients, families and community partners I can interact with on a daily basis. My role is to help patients who suffered a brain injury navigate the healthcare system based on their unique needs. This is very rewarding for me. I am on a team of 10 coordinators who support patients from across the province. We work closely with the patient’s healthcare teams in hospital as well as a vast network of partners to develop a detailed path based on the patient’s individual goals.
HHS is the only hospital in Ontario to have a community intervention coordinator role.
What do you find challenging?
It is difficult for patients to find a voice within the healthcare system after sustaining an acquired brain injury. When I first meet patients and their families, they often feel frustrated, confused and lost, which is difficult to see. But patients who might otherwise struggle to find and secure the care and resources they need also express gratitude for the direction we provide.
Describe a typical day.
For me, a typical day involves helping patients and families navigate the healthcare and community systems so they can have a better recovery. This can take place in the hospital setting or in the community. Each patient’s needs are unique and my role is to help them meet their recovery goals.
A typical day involves helping patients and families navigate the healthcare and community systems so they can have a better recovery.
Tell us about your most gratifying experience at HHS.
An acquired brain injury can alter a person’s life much like an earthquake. In an instant, the known becomes the unknown and the structures of daily life crumble, making even the simplest of tasks overwhelmingly difficult to circumvent. My most memorable experience was meeting a young woman who sustained a concussion while working. Prior to her injury she was active in the community and was proud of her work. After her concussion, she was unable to function day-to-day without symptoms. I helped her assemble a treatment team to address the medical, physical and cognitive deficits. I am proud to share she’s now back to work and progressing through recovery. She manages her symptoms with the strategies she learned from her clinical team. Working in the ABI program with my team is always gratifying. Knowing we help patients from across the province receive the care they deserve is an amazing experience.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about your role?
HHS is the only hospital in Ontario to have a community intervention coordinator role. In 2015, Accreditation Canada noted the role as one of a few significant initiatives that improve the flow of patients throughout the system. Our team is unique in its strength for advocating for patients and their families within the healthcare system and community.