ShelleyLynn Gardner, a Rehabilitation Assistant and member of the Fraser Health Engagement Radical Network (E-Rads), has a passion for improving patient care at Surrey Memorial Hospital, and a talent for creative and compassionate ideas that make a big difference.

ShelleyLynn and her service dog Kenna
ShelleyLynn and her service dog Kenna

E-Rads are informal volunteer leadership roles that empower staff at all levels to engage their peers in improvement efforts and learning. ShelleyLynn’s commitment to this role is evident in the diverse and well-received events and initiatives she has led, such as a peer-recognition program called Pay It Forward, a Mental Health Awareness Week, and Change Day; she has also created social events that build team culture and relationships, such as an annual staff barbecue.

One example was her observation that fabric soaker pads, used in hospital beds to reposition patients, were causing injuries and discomfort for both patients and staff; as a result, she led the transition to a disposable product that lowered costs and decreased the length of stay for patients. She also recognized that some patients may not be able to purchase the mobility equipment they need for their rehabilitation and treatment, and organized a loaner cupboard and program in the emergency department.

And a particularly impactful program she has led in her role as an E-Rad is the “Puppy Love” days. This series provides education to staff, teaching the difference between service dogs and therapy dogs, and their roles within health care settings. This not only provides staff with an improved understanding of how animal interventions work, but also inspires them to consider how they can bring animal therapies to their patients. Pet therapy interventions have increased as a result.

ShelleyLynn also led the “What Matters to You?” Day initiative at Surrey Memorial, granting wishes to patients that ranged from arranging special meals to bringing surprise visitors to a long-term patient. The patient had been at Surrey Memorial for five months and had shared with staff that he loved horses and missed interacting with them through his work with the Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities Association. ShelleyLynn arranged for two horses to visit in the hospital’s parking lot, and the team wheeled him out to see them. Her efforts not only made an incredible impact on that patient, but also raised the profile of “What Matters to You?” Day, garnering front-page news coverage and inspiring others across BC.

These examples demonstrate how ShelleyLynn’s efforts, ingenuity and empathy are improving care at Surrey Memorial Hospital in large and small ways, and implementing effective and engaging actions across Fraser Health and beyond.