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Marc’s Story: Technology and Partnerships Support Independent Living

Marc sitting on a couch looking at a tablet
Published Date

In the ever-changing world of healthcare, Marc Barrette is an example of how the forming of non-traditional relationships, the use of technology and personal commitment can work together to positively impact recovery.

And now, he is sharing his story with hopes of inspiring others.

Barrette’s story is featured in a short documentary detailing his recovery journey. The project was produced in partnership by the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) with the support of the March of Dimes Canada in Sudbury.

At 14, Barrette was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumour. Following surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto to remove his pituitary gland, Barrette was left with impaired vision along with cognitive, behaviourial and emotional issues. 

Originally from Timmins, Barrette eventually moved to Sudbury where he has been supported by the March of Dimes for last 10-plus years. Struggling at times to regulate his emotions, Barrette was eventually admitted to the Neuropsychiatry Service (NPS) at Ontario Shores

Along with success in managing his medication, Barrette gained a greater understanding of his own health and learned strategies and skills to help in success in the community. Once discharged, he returned to Sudbury, with the support of March of Dimes, staying connected to the care team at Ontario Shores through OTNInvite.  Through OTNInvite the patient receives a link by regular email that initiates a secure video session. It means interactions can take place from the comfort of home – without the burden of long-distance travel -- using a personal computer, tablet, or smartphone.

“Marc had a very successful discharge,” says Steve Mathew, OTN’s Provincial Lead on Mental Health and Addictions who was a Clinical Manager on NPS at Ontario Shores at the time of Marc admission. “He was successfully treated and recovered very well in the community through the partnership of Ontario Shores Outpatient Services and the March of Dimes.” 

Contributing to Barrette’s success as an outpatient has been the ability to use OTN to remain connected to the care team at Ontario Shores, including Marc’s psychiatrist on NPS, Dr. Omar Ghaffar. 

“The quality of the therapeutic alliance of one of the most important factors in treatment success,” says Dr. Ghaffar. “Without this technology and the infrastructure to support it we would not have been able to maintain this relationship with Marc.”

Meanwhile, Barrette is grateful to be able to stay connected to Dr. Ghaffar and Ontario Shores.

“It’s just nice to be able have an appointment at home,” says Barrette in the video. “It’s not to have to go to a hospital for a 30 minute appointment.”

The video is now available at OntarioShores.ca and YouTube.

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