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A photo of Joan in her hospital bed
Joan Hurst is a patient in the Medically Complex Care Program at Hamilton Health Sciences’ St. Peter’s Hospital. As an inpatient during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joan never felt concerned for her safety in the face of the virus.
March 3, 2021

Continuing complex care during COVID

The force of her body hitting the floor awoke her. In 2019, Joan Hurst from Mount Hope fell out of bed in the middle of the night. When she tried to get up, she was overcome by weakness.

“I couldn’t stand up, so I crawled to the phone and called my neighbour and her husband to come help me,” recalls Joan. “I was taken by ambulance to the emergency department at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre.”


Joan had a history of kidney complications, including an inflammatory condition called nephritis. Her kidney function had become compromised once again, resulting in Joan spending the next five months at the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC) as the team worked to normalize her kidney function and regain her strength.

After Joan’s condition stabilized, she was transferred to the Medically Complex Care Program at St. Peter’s Hospital (SPH).

Building strength

“When I fell, I was waiting for a hip replacement,” explains Joan. “But because my kidneys were acting up, my surgery was delayed. The therapists in the Medically Complex Care Program helped me strengthen my body in preparation for the eventual surgery.”

“Everyone at SPH is always so careful with patients and everyone is always wearing a mask.”

Joan began a regimen of exercises that she completed under the supervision of the Medically Complex physiotherapy and occupational therapy team to build strength in her arms and legs.

“All the nurses and therapists were wonderful as they helped me with my recovery. They were all so busy, but they always went above and beyond to help me and make me feel special.”

Confident during COVID

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on in 2020, Joan never felt concerned for her safety in the face of the virus.

“Everyone at SPH is always so careful with patients and everyone is always wearing a mask,” she says. “I’ve felt safe here during the pandemic and I never worried about catching COVID. They did a great job protecting me and the other patients.”

“Like family to me”

In fall 2020, Joan underwent hip-replacement surgery at JHCC before returning to SPH for her continuing therapy.

“The therapists are helping me get back on my feet again,” says Joan. “My hope is to be back home again soon, where I’ll be able to live as independently as possible. I’m grateful for the help of the Medically Complex team at SPH as I continue my care. They’re like family to me.”

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