Eleanor had been providing nursing care in the Emergency Department at the hospital for over 15 years and had a great reputation with patients and co-workers alike. It bothered her that some patients returned over and over again with the same troubles. They didn’t seem to have followed the directions they were given the last time and even appeared sometimes to be lying about what had been previously recommended.
Eleanor attended a “lunch and learn session” where a facilitator from the Lakeland Centre for FASD reported on the number of Albertans who have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The facilitator described some common characteristics of people with FASD including poor comprehension and problems with memory. The facilitator shared strategies that medical professionals could use in hospital and clinic settings that might make it easier for patients to follow through with directions or suggestions.
Following the training, Eleanor decided to start with one strategy – writing out complete instructions and recommendations in plain language for some of their regular patients. She would hand out this document after the patient had seen the doctor. She also went back to her computer and followed the link to an online course recommended by the facilitator, to learn more about how better understanding of FASD can impact her patients, herself, and others.
The Lakeland Centre for FASD provides cost-free programs and services in the Cold Lake, Bonnyville, St. Paul and Lac la Biche areas, as well as on First Nations and Métis Settlements through Alberta.