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Health Foundation-funded wheelchairs enhance occupational therapy services in Wood Buffalo

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Occupational therapists work with people that have physical and mental illness, or developmental conditions, enabling them to participate in meaningful daily activities.

“We help people lead productive and satisfying lives through many therapeutic practices,” says Victoria Jessome, an Occupational Therapist at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

According to Jessome, the Occupational Therapy Department serves a variety of clientele in Wood Buffalo.

“We can assess young children with neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, to adults living with Parkinson’s Disease, to senior citizens who need assistance with their mobility,” she says. “Each day is different, depending on the client we’re assessing. We could be at an elderly client’s home, assessing them and helping them make daily life improvements, or perhaps with a young client in a school setting.”

Occupational therapy services often require clients coping with illness, injury or recovery at home to use a variety of health equipment such as bath stools; bath transfer benches, bed handles, walkers and wheelchairs.

While clients are welcome to purchase the health equipment they require, there are often short term equipment loan programs available. These programs provide clients with basic equipment on short term loan. The Occupational Therapy Department at the Health Centre offers this program to clients in Wood Buffalo.

According to Jessome, wheelchairs play a particularly significant role in the care Occupational Therapists provide.

“As Occupational Therapists, we assess clients for wheelchairs to assist with their mobility. We also loan wheelchairs often to help clients mobilize safely and independently in our community,” says Jessome. “Our wheelchairs can be loaned to a variety of people, including someone who has broken their leg or someone experiencing a relapse in their Multiple Sclerosis.”

Through a generous gift of over $7,600 from Sumac Fabrication, the Health Foundation funded several new wheelchairs as part of their short term loan program.

According to Jessome, the new wheelchairs have had many benefits for their clients.

“We’ve been able to improve client safety due to replacing several aging and worn out wheelchairs. We’ve reduced wait times for many clients and also the number of clients needing to go to Edmonton to either borrow or purchase wheelchairs because we’ve been able to replace many of our missing chairs. This has had a significant impact on the care we’re able to deliver to our clients in this region.”

Photo: Victoria Jessome, an Occupational Therapist at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre shows off a few of the new wheelchairs.


About the Northern Lights Health Foundation

Established in 1985, the Northern Lights Health Foundation engages people, inspires philanthropy and secures funds to improve health and promote wellness in Wood Buffalo. The Health Foundation connects people with opportunities to have a direct and positive impact on health care in our region.

For information on how you can support community health care, contact us:

Northern Lights Health Foundation

7 Hospital Street
Fort McMurray, AB
9H 1P2

Phone: (780) 791-6041
Fax: (780) 791-6241


Twitter: @NorLightsHealth

Facebook: NLHealthFoundation


Charitable Registration Number: BN 107395030 RR0001


Amelia Schofield is a marketing and communications professional based in Fort McMurray, AB. She’s currently the Marketing and Communications Officer with the Northern Lights Health Foundation and a regular contributor to YMM Magazine.  Amelia is also the Owner + Creator of Amelia Emily Design, a local business specializing in knitted goods.

Follow Amelia on Twitter at @AmeliaSchfld