Holly Freill, Renal Dietitian with Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), is the winner of a Human Touch Award. Freill was honoured at a ceremony in Toronto on Thursday, April 21 for her exceptional commitment to patient care.
The Human Touch Awards are presented by Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Renal Network and showcase the incredible work taking place across the province each day by committed, dedicated and compassionate health care professionals and volunteers. Eight health care professionals and volunteers, including Freill, were recognized at the 10th annual Human Touch Awards. This marks the first Human Touch Award for the Northwest Regional Renal Program.
“We feel privileged to work with Holly. She has great leadership skills and infectious motivation,” said Mary Wrigley, Manager of Renal Services at TBRHSC. “This award is a tribute to her dedication and the impact she has on our patients. It has been gratifying to see the large number of patients who seek Holly’s help because she is able to engage with them in a meaningful way.”
Since Freill started to work at TBRHSC in 2012, she has been involved in many programs and initiatives to improve patient care. She is known for her creative approach to learning, including developing ‘Learning Bingo’ events to help hemodialysis patients learn more about foods that are detrimental to their health. Her involvement in two research projects demonstrates her commitment to learning and improving care. She is also known among the staff for her volunteer work to enhance staff and public health through education sessions and health promotion.
Patients who are on dialysis have very restrictive, specialized diets. Renal dietitians like Freill meet with patients to discuss dietary changes, review lab work and monitor their ongoing health. At TBRHSC, dietitians meet with all of the program’s approximately 800 patients from across the region, including remote First Nations communities.
Many dialysis patients have limited access to dialysis-friendly foods and also face financial hardships. Freill has been focused on improving the relationship between food security and therapeutic diets for dialysis patients. Over the past two Christmas seasons, she led a Food Hamper initiative to collect food that is safe for dialysis patients to eat. This past year, Freill ‘couponed’, shopped, applied for funding and found volunteers to supply 195 hampers to patients in Thunder Bay and the satellite location in Sioux Lookout. A portion of the funding for the hampers came from the Renal Services Fund of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation, thanks to the generosity of donors, like Freill, who make gifts to the Fund.
“I am humbled by this award, but the work we do in our unit is really a team effort,” Freill said. “When it comes to the extra things that we do for our patients, it’s a no-brainer. I feel like we are asking our patients to make changes and do more when they don’t always have much to do it with. I’m grateful that this award will help to highlight our region and the unique challenges we face.”
The TBRHSC community congratulates Freill for her accomplishments in providing exemplary patient and family centred care. To find out more about the Ontario Renal Network Human Touch Awards and winners, visit www.renalnetwork.on.ca/humantouchawards.
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