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Altum Health delivering personalized care within the UHN ‘family’

Registered nurse Maggie Dilling, an Acute Care Advance Practice Clinical Educator at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, shown after leading members of the Code Medical Emergency team in a simulation training exercise. (Photo: UHN) *Photo shot prior to March 2020, when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

After decades of nursing at UHN, the physical demands of the job started to take a toll on Maggie Dilling.

“As nurses, we put our patients first and we often forget about ourselves,” says Maggie, an Acute Care Advanced Practice Nurse Educator at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

“We’ve been through SARS, now COVID-19, and it’s brought a lot of attention forward to mental and physical well-being. It’s been a generational shift.”

Looking inwards, Maggie recognized a change needed to happen, mentally and physically, in order to continue delivering the care her patients and students deserved. For her, self-care included taking virtual cupcake decorating courses and seeking physiotherapy and massage therapy services at UHN Altum Health

In October 2021, Maggie was referred to UHN Altum Health for back and knee pain related to a compressed nerve, and began to notice the difference in her experience and care journey.

“I had gone to a local place previously but didn’t feel like I was moving forward in my treatment,” she says. “I decided to give Altum Health a go because it was UHN, and I figured it was like family.”

Working with physiotherapists weekly, Maggie built a unique relationship that went beyond clinic sessions, leading to incorporating wellness more into her daily life.

“I feel like they have gone that extra step to really understand me, my job, and its barriers to moving forward with rehab,” she says. “I now even roll out my yoga mat midday at work for stretching.

“I feel like I can’t live without them, they have helped me out of a dark place.”

Celebrating the opening of Altum Health’s University Ave. Pop-up Clinic, (L to R), Rebecca Repa, EVP Clinical Support & Performance, UHN; Charmody Laughton, Altum Site Manager; Brett Alexander, Altum physiotherapist; Katherine Irvine, Altum Site Manager; and Shiran Isaacksz, Altum Vice President. (Photo: UHN)

Accessible pop-up clinic for TeamUHN

UHN Altum Health is a regional network of healthcare clinics specializing in the assessment and treatment of physical injury, concussion, and mental health. Their services are provided by a highly-experienced team of registered healthcare professionals.

“At UHN, we really pride ourselves on individualized care and personal medicine, and I think Altum has really taken it to the next level,” says Maggie.

Working at the Princess Margaret, in Maggie’s “perfect world” she would be able to access UHN Altum Health’s services on University Ave.

That became a reality earlier this month with the launch of an Altum Health Pop-Up Clinic exclusive to members of TeamUHN.

The clinic is designed to offer wellness services – physiotherapy and, coming soon, registered massage therapy – for staff working closer to University Ave. For those working at Toronto Western Hospital, Altum also has a full-service clinic on the third floor of the Krembil Discovery Tower.

“The ability to schedule something in the middle of your day and get it done is key for our clients,” says Meghan Van Zanden, Director of Operations at Altum Health. “It’s about convenience, something you don’t have to think about and can access during work hours rather than having to find a clinic open in the evening or on the weekends.”

Meghan notes that frontline workers often need “physio more than anything because they are doing a more physical job in the first place. You don’t have to be injured to see a physio, and there are many preventative and mobility tools to mitigate risk during work and personal hours.”

Altum’s give back to UHN

Altum Health recognizes that to achieve UHN’s vision of A Healthier World, it must first invest in TeamUHN. For this reason, Altum contributes its revenue back into UHN, as part of its annual “give back” commitment.

“There is a significant impact of the work Altum does to supporting UHN broadly,” says Darlene Dasent, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at UHN. “Over the past decade, the profits have been able to support not only the operating costs for the Krembil Discovery Tower, but also contributes to the organization’s bottom line each year.”

From Maggie’s perspective, it’s an investment with a huge payoff.

“Altum Health is one of those places where you feel like you are a part of a family, with people who truly listen to your concerns,” says Maggie. “This is not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan, this is the Maggie Plan – and we talk about baking!

“There’s no place like home,” says Maggie. “And for me, UHN Altum Health is home.”

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