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Toronto Rehab housekeeper makes patients feel at home

Otilia Taves
It’s the ‘little things’ housekeeper Otilia Taves does that reflect UHN’s commitment to compassionate care. (Photo: UHN)

"Bom Dia" "Buenos dias" "Buongiorno" "Καλημέρα".

Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Greek are just four of the languages Otilia Taves can say "good morning" in.

Otilia, who has been a housekeeper at Toronto Rehab's Bickle Centre since 2007, makes a point of learning basic words in other languages as a way of helping some patients feel more at home in the hospital.

She reflects UHN's commitment to compassionate care and exemplifies the notion that, whatever our jobs, we all have a role to play in showing kindness and respect in every interaction.

'If you walk into someone's home, you greet them'

International Housekeeping Week
September 10-16, 2017

"When I step into someone's room, I see them as a person, not just a patient," Otilia explains. "When they're here, this is their home. If you walk into someone's home, you greet them."

And home is what Bickle starts to feel like for many of the patients on the Low-Tolerance Long Duration (LTLD) unit where Otilia works.

Here, rehab is slower in pace and lower in intensity. Patients often have several medical issues, such a diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease, in addition to the injury or illness that brought them to rehab.

But the compassion Otilia shows patients reaches far beyond a friendly greeting.

"I recently met Otilia, who told me the UHN value that resonated most with her was 'compassion'," recalls Susan Jewell, Senior Vice President and Executive Lead of Toronto Rehab.

"She shared several examples of how demonstrating this value is not only easy to do, but essential to providing safe, quality care for those who depend on us most. Otilia is truly living the UHN values and the 4A's." 

4A's Of Customer Service

Acknowledge – "Hello, my name is…"

Ask – "How may I help you?"

Act – Take Action

Ask Again – "Is there anything else?"​

The little things count

In addition to her housekeeping duties, Otilia pulls patients' food trays closer when they lack range of motion; reminds them of appointments if they tend to be forgetful; and offers to bring water, if diets permit.

Otilia and Susan Jewell
"Otilia is truly living the UHN Values," says Susan Jewell, Senior Vice President and Executive Lead of Toronto Rehab, pictured here with Otilia. (Photo: UHN)​

"We have one patient who loves to sit outside," Otilia says. "So I offered to tell volunteer services. They added it to her chart and now she goes outside regularly. It's the little things – it's not hard."

When commended for the care she shows patients, Otilia casually waves it off.

"It comes naturally to treat patients the way I'd want to be treated in the hospital," she says.

"The way we do our jobs should come from the heart."​​

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