VON’s Special Extended Living Environment for Challenged Tenants Program

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By Aleena Halliwushka, Senior Manager, Home and Community Care 

VON is proud to participate in a unique program in Durham and Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR). SELECT or “Special Extended Living Environment for Challenged Tenants” sees two of our registered nurses (RNs) working in group homes across Durham and HKPR. 

The program, which is funded through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS), provides nursing expertise that helps medically complex clients live independently, along with training opportunities for group home staff. 

I recently had the chance to meet Sally, a VON nurse in the HKPR region. I had the privilege of observing her day and talking to clients and staff in a group home. Sally has built great relationships with the staff. She has become a resource for them when they have questions and an avenue for them to share different things that are going on with the clients. 
The group home staff members tell Sally about the clients’ recent medical histories, including appointments, changes in behaviour, diet and mood.  Sally provides advice and training, which the staff are extremely receptive to. 

In Durham, I spent an afternoon with another VON nurse, Martha. At this group home, two of the clients had passed away since Martha’s last visit. I could sense the staff at the group home were quite sad. Many SELECT clients stay in the program until they pass away or move on to long-term care. 

Martha and I spoke to a client who told us about her recent trip to Niagara Falls and a concert she had gone to. Working in a leadership role, I find these interactions so valuable. It reminds me why I come to work every day at VON. Our programs have an impact on people’s lives and can make all the difference. 

I had a great time visiting with Sally and Martha in the SELECT program and learning about what they do at VON. Every day I learn something new about the organization and how embedded VON is in the communities we serve. 

Our vision to help clients live every day to the fullest comes to light when I think of SELECT and how Sally and Martha help our clients to continue to live independently.