Posted: November 26, 2018

When a patient begins to breathe again without assistance or starts to move after a critical illness or injury, Jenna Franklin is there to help.

Jenna is a physiotherapist in Grand River Hospital’s critical care program. She works with patients through their recovery in both of the hospital’s intensive care units… helping them to regain their mobility and routines, and get well as soon as they can.

Jenna Franklin Physiotherapist Icu

Jenna enjoys being part of the team of critical care providers supporting GRH patients with among the most health serious needs. She also likes taking part in ongoing education activities, supporting physiotherapy students while making sure her skills stay sharp.

Why did you choose to become a physiotherapist?

Throughout my education, science and physiology really spoke to me, but it was their application to exercise, neuro-muscular functioning, and rehabilitation that led me away from medical school and towards physiotherapy.

From personal experience and volunteering in clinics, I recognized the valuable role a physiotherapist can have in helping people achieve their goals and I was excited at the prospect of being able to contribute as a part of the healthcare community.

How did you come to practice at GRH?

While completing my physiotherapy degree, I began to appreciate the full scope of the profession. Through my clinical placements, my passion for working in an inpatient setting grew so I jumped at a GRH opportunity to pursue this further. Throughout my time at GRH, I have been fortunate to build expertise in multiple programs, but I am proud to call the intensive care units (ICU) my home.

Why is physiotherapy so important for ICU patients?

Research consistently shows the benefit of physiotherapy in ICU, related to length of stay, functional outcomes and so on.

It is so important because although patients are in the ICU for various reasons, the majority have or are at risk for neuromuscular, cardiorespiratory and other body system impairments that directly interfere with health, independence and quality of life.

Physiotherapy can help optimize lung volumes, clear secretions, improve motor function, and provide patients a sense of normalcy or at least realistic goals that they can work towards! Ever stop to consider what it would be like if you couldn’t breathe, cough or mobilize on your own?

Jenna Franklin Physiotherapist Icu Room
What do you enjoy about providing physiotherapy in the ICU?

Regardless of whether a patient requires mechanical ventilation to help them breathe, or the number of lines/tubes they are attached to, it is so rewarding to help mobilize patients out of bed, especially for the first time! It really helps them to be seen more as a unique person rather than a patient.

Whether I am helping to wean someone off life support; supporting them as they re-learn to sit, stand or walk; or simply providing education or support to a patient or family, I know that the work I am doing is helping people when they need it the most.

What’s been the biggest change you’ve noticed in your ICU career?

Our patient population is getting more complex, which really challenges clinical reasoning and decision-making. Fortunately, I collaborate with a fantastic team to ensure we provide excellent patient-specific care.

On the other hand, I have also noticed that more patients have the capacity to be discharged home from the ICU which speaks to the effectiveness of both early interventions and community support.

Why are you proud to be part of the GRH ICU?

Being part of the GRH ICU team has and continues to be a special experience. Not only do I learn from my patients and colleagues every day, I have the privilege of using my education to support individuals through what can be a difficult and life-changing time. The standard of care is high, the challenging cases help us grow and the success stories are truly amazing.

I have also enjoyed being a clinical preceptor, giving back to the physiotherapy community by helping to educate students through the development of clinical skills. It also helps me to stay up to date with my practice.

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