Eyes on the System

February 2, 2015

Meet Julie Weir, Stroke Navigator, Grand River Hospital

As the Stroke Navigator of the Waterloo Wellington Stroke Program housed at Grand River Hospital, Julie Weir spends her time tracking patients in the health system and identifying the services they need. At any given time, she knows the number of stroke patients in the region and where they are located. 

“It's a system level position where I look at all of the stroke patients that are currently in our hospital acute care beds between the two acute programs at Guelph General Hospital and Grand River Hospital and our rehab beds at Freeport Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and Cambridge Memorial Hospital. There is probably on any given day a minimum of 50 patients that I have my eye on making sure that their care is coordinated and ensuring plans are in place,” says Julie.

Passionate about her job, she helps to forecast how many patients will be coming through to rehab and how many will be going into community programs: “That way, we are making sure that applications are getting done in a timely manner and patients are sent to rehab once they are medically stable. We are reducing their stay in acute care by getting patients connected with the right resources at the right time.”

Julie also added that, “On average people don’t wait for stroke rehab anymore, when a patient is rehab ready they usually move the same day or the next. In the past, it was a week to two weeks.”  

The Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN) provides a percentage of funding of the Stroke Services in Waterloo Wellington. Its Board made a decision in August, 2013 to support the integration of stroke services in the region.

Julie completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Science at the University of Guelph. She then did her Masters in Occupational Therapy at the University of Western Ontario.

Upon graduating in 1999, Julie began working at Grand River Hospital. “For 14 years, I worked as an occupational therapist in various departments including the acute stroke unit, outpatient neuro rehab clinic, intensive care unit, and the emergency department.”

In September 2013, Julie joined the Waterloo Wellington Stroke Program and assumed her current role.

”My job is challenging but rewarding at the same time”, she says. “Seeing people recover and getting the support they need in a seamless manner is extremely rewarding”. Julie is seen as a huge resource to the stroke team for her many years of experience. She is known for her ‘can do attitude’ and her hands on approach to stroke education and can often be found on the floor helping staff practice safe patient transfers or teaching the latest stroke skills to the interdisciplinary team.

Outside work, Julie enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. She plays recreational volleyball, baseball and golf.

For more information:

Jennifer Breaton, RN, MHSc
Waterloo Wellington Stroke Program Director
Grand River Hospital
Telephone: 519 749 4300, Extension 6760
E-mail: jennifer.breaton@grhosp.on.ca