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The power of stories

The power of stories

Dr. Carol Ward believes in the power of stories. In fact, stories are a vital tool in her work to help patients navigate their complex mental health challenges at Hillside Centre, a mental health facility in Kamloops that accepts patients from across Interior Health and the province.

“When you know someone’s story, you’re better able to tailor your relationship with that person into something that’s meaningful,” she says. “I call it care choreography. This is not easy work. It takes time to understand, to put together, translate, and implement.

In 2012, Dr. Ward and her colleagues adopted a program called P.I.E.C.E.S.™, a model of care that draws on a patient’s story to develop a behavioural care plan that uniquely fits each patient and becomes the cornerstone of their treatment.

One of Dr. Ward’s patients was a 44-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who couldn’t stand still during care and would walk until she fell down. Through P.I.E.C.E.S.™, the care team discovered that the patient loved pop music. When it played, the patient started singing and was able to stay in one place long enough that her team could provide her with whatever care was needed. The care team also discovered that even though she was no longer talking, she was still able to sing.

Dementia-related Behaviours: Putting it All Together Using P.I.E.C.E.S.™ is a series of videos narrated by experienced geriatric psychiatrists, Dr.’s Elisabeth Drance, Carol Ward and Barbara Prystawa.

Located on Interior Health’s YouTube channel. These videos are designed to empower practitioners and caregivers to provide evidence-based, effective, compassionate and respectful care to frail older adults with complex mental health, cognitive and physical needs.

In October 2020, Dr. Ward received a national award from the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health for her contributions to the practice of geriatric psychiatry.