Hanna and her family » 2017-Oct-17

How family-centred care helps make lives better.

Hanna was a big baby. During her delivery she experienced some complications that left her with a brachial plexus injury – damage to the network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm and hand. “Her left arm wasn’t moving. It looked like it was just hanging there,” recalls Hanna’s mother, Jacqui.

Jacqui and her husband, Craig, were in touch with George Jeffrey Children’s Centre right away. Hanna visited the Centre frequently for the first three years of her life, meeting with the talented physiotherapists and occupational therapists at the centre to gain mobility and function in her left arm. Her care was family-centred. “We felt involved with Hanna’s care the entire time,” says Jacqui. Without early intervention, a dedicated team of clinicians and the support of her family there was a chance that Hanna may have lost use of her arm.

Balancing Hanna’s care with busy family life wasn’t easy. Her older brothers, Lucas and Elliot, were often at the Centre with her. They were welcomed by the clinicians and often took part in their little sister’s activities. “The team made therapy fun. Hanna often didn’t even notice she was receiving treatment for her arm,” recalls Jacqui. Hanna’s treatment ranged from learning mobility techniques to experiencing different textures and feelings in her left arm.

A major hurdle for Hanna was something most of us take for granted – being able to put our hands behind our heads. Her mobility was so limited in her first year that Hanna’s family had to consider specialized surgery at SickKids in Toronto. This was a struggle for Jacqui and Craig. They decided not to move forward hastily with surgery. Once this decision was made, the team at George Jeffrey was incredibly supportive and Hanna’s treatment continued.

No too long later Hanna did something amazing – she reached behind her head on her own! This was something Hanna’s doctors thought she may never do.

Now six and a half years old, Hanna has 95% mobility in her left arm and enjoys a variety of activities. She loves art, playing with her dolls and playing hockey, to name a few. She’s a goalie on her hockey team.

Along the way, Hanna’s family appreciated learning and seeing how involved our community has been in the evolution of George Jeffrey Children’s Centre. “Our community’s support of the Centre is very encouraging,” says Jacqui.

Hanna’s family wants to express their heartfelt gratitude for her care. “Katie, Sara, and the entire team at George Jeffrey made us as a family know we weren’t alone. We are eternally grateful to them for what they’ve done for Hanna and our family,” explains Jacqui. “They want to help you help your child. They want to make every little one’s life the best it can be.”

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