As a physiotherapist, Kyle Vader has seen countless situations where small investments that improve access to treatment have made a big difference in the lives of his patients.
A member of the inter-professional team at Kingston Health Science’s Centre’s (KHSC) Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) site Ambulatory Chronic Pain Program, Vader works with patients to decrease their opioid reliance while building capacity to self-manage pain and improve their quality of life.
“Two people can have the exact same diagnosis” says Kyle, “but the way in which that pain impacts their life can be so different. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can make the biggest change. Letting people know it is safe to move, increasing their confidence, and then coming up with a plan—I like being a part of that.”
Many of Kyle’s patients have lived in isolation with life-limiting pain because they didn’t have the financial resources to get the care they needed. “Access is a really big value of mine. If the survivor of a car accident needs rehabilitation and their benefits have expired the fact that we can come in a little downstream to do something to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, and they don’t have to pay out of their pocket, is really important.”
Treatment plans, however, can present their own challenges. “Sometimes you have to put out an immediate fire so that you can get to the patient’s underlying issues—the depression or anxiety that can accompany living with pain—and then connect people with the appropriate resources in the community.”
This is where strategic funding to close a gap or enable a small but invaluable “kick start” comes in. “If a patient is hungry, and hasn’t had a good meal” Kyle says having the money to say “come on, let’s go downstairs and get something to eat” can help patients get more out of their care.
“If the nominal fee for a community-based exercise program is a barrier, we need to be able to say ‘Here’s $50’—we want you to get there and see how it goes and then we’ll think of a more long-term strategy moving forward.”
It is because he has seen so many in-real-life examples of the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF) Comfort and Care Funds at work that Kyle has become a champion for WE WALK! for your comfort and care the Fund’s signature annual event.
Captain of the HDH Pain Clinic’s “Team Dynamite” Kyle says the 5km walk “is a very cool way for staff members to raise funds to give back.” In 2017/18 over $135,000 was granted for patient comfort and care expenses and just over $20,000 came directly from WE WALK!
Dressed in the old HDH hockey jerseys “from back when HDH had a hockey team” the Pain Clinic’s Team Dynamite has been the top fundraising team for two years running. Kyle isn’t setting a specific financial goal but when asked if they are in it to win it again he says with a smile and a laugh, “Yeah, we don’t mess around.”
UHKF’s Comfort and Care Fund provides emergency funding for patients and their families who are experiencing financial hardship arising from non-medical costs of care. Grants are administered by social workers at the various healthcare sites and can cover expenses such as travel, emergency child care, clothing, gas cards, parking, food, prescriptions and assistive devices. For more information or to make a donation to WE WALK! for your comfort and care email firstname.lastname@example.org.