Patients in good hands with Hotel Dieu Shaver program


In a split second Pascal Limoges’ thoughts went from the home renovation project he was working on to fear and shock. With an accidental slip of the hand, the utility knife he was working with cut deep through his index finger, slicing the joint, tendon and nerve. Fortunately, the finger was still intact and after surgery to repair the extensive damage, extensive therapy to regain function and mobility would begin. That road to recovery would lead Pascal to the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, the Niagara Region’s centre of excellence for rehabilitation, complex continuing care and geriatric services.

The physical pain was one thing. Pascal could deal with that, but the frustration of losing the use of his hand was another. No more playing guitar, no more home renovations and most importantly it made taking care of and playing with his children far more difficult. The 35 year old St. Catharines resident was happy when he was referred to Hotel Dieu Shaver and felt confident he was going to make good progress after his first meeting with certified hand therapist Andrea Hebert.

Hotel Dieu Shaver’s Hand and Upper Extremity Program is well known throughout the Niagara Region and beyond for their quality of work and patient success stories. A multi-disciplinary team that incorporates the expertise of physio and occupational therapists, plastic surgeons, kinesologists, rehab assistants and social workers, the team deals with a wide variety of hand and upper extremity disease, dysfunction and trauma from simple to complex.

“We feel it’s important to care for the body, mind and spirit so that’s why the social worker plays a key role in the program as well,” says Ms. Hebert. “For many people there is a lot of stress and anxiety with a severe hand injury as well as some significant pain so not only is it important for therapists to treat the physical aspect but in order for the patient to get the most out of their therapy they need to have a strong, positive mental focus as well,” she adds.

The team also makes their own custom splints as well as incorporating adaptive equipment like golf clubs and fishing rods to help patients get back to enjoying their hobbies. The most common injuries that the team treats are fractures, joint replacements, soft tissue and tendon injuries, and many work and home related injuries like the crushing of the hand, table saw accidents and falls.

As Pascal found out, there is a lot of homework involved in his therapy in addition to the three visits a week to Hotel Dieu Shaver. “I know I need to do my stretches and exercises at home to get the most out of my rehab,” says Pascal. “I am seeing steady improvement so that is all the motivation I need. I’m in good hands here.”