January 25, 2016
Kimberly Schlegel is an advocate for seniors with responsive behaviours, and as the Enhanced Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant with the Behavioural Response Team (BRT) at LHSC’s Mental Health Care Program, she says she’s in the perfect role.
“As a social worker, I think this role is a great fit for me because this is a vulnerable group that is often forgotten. I think this patient population is one you can learn so much from,” says Schlegel, the 2015 recipient of the President’s Award for Living Our Core Values – How We Work Together.
The Behavioural Response Team meets the needs of complex older adults living in challenging circumstances. Schlegel says the clients she and her team work with can be very complex, often with multiple physical health comorbidities and sometimes suffering from lifelong mental illness as well as new onset mental health concerns.
“We work with people experiencing multiple transitions—emotional, physical—so you need to have a team that works very well together because there is never going to be one person able to understand and assess all those complexities.”
Nominated by her colleagues in the Geriatric Mental Health Program, Schlegel is described as a highly respected clinical lead whose integrity, emotional intelligence and learning agility create opportunity for the perspectives of others to be welcomed, heard and understood.
Schlegel’s passion for her work in the geriatric field is contagious as she actively advocates for all members of the care team (including the client and their family). She seeks out partnerships within the community to assist with developing capacity to handle complex geriatric mental health cases.
“Kimberly lives the LHSC core values of trust, respect and collaboration. They are embedded in everything she does, in the conversations she holds and work that she produces,” says Heidi Braaksma, Coordinator of Regional and Specialty Services with LHSC’s Mental Health Care Program.
“Kimberly cares deeply about our older adults and is committed to ensuring they have an improved quality of life. It’s her passion, creativity and hard work that help our team to serve the community more effectively and build stronger partnerships.”
Schlegel has incorporated regular meetings for the BRT to elicit regular feedback on the team’s process, and always makes this forum friendly and an inviting way to improve the way the team cares for clients. Schlegel says her team is a great example of strong interdisciplinary teamwork.
“We’re very blessed to have a lot of different professional disciplines on our team, from nursing to recreational therapy to psychiatry, and we’re all very respectful and consult with each other very well,” says Schlegel. “To know the limitations of your own disciplines and to reach out to others to offer the best care to your patients can be challenging but I think that’s where we excel.”
In terms of receiving an award that recognizes her approach to working together, it’s fitting that Schlegel feels it’s really an award for her team. “It’s a huge honour to be a recipient, but I think it’s a reflection of the entire BRT and all the hard work that our team does every single day.”
Kimberly Schlegel, the Enhanced Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant with the Behavioural Response Team (BRT) at LHSC’s Mental Health Care Program, is the 2015 recipient of the President’s Award for Living Our Core Values – How We Work Together. She received her award on Dec. 11 from LHSC President and CEO Murray Glendining.