Nouvelles du CIUSSS

Finding Happiness Through Caring for Others …

Meet Nada Assy, manager of the Support for Elderly Autonomy Program Directorate’s Geriatric Outpatient and Rehabilitation Services Department. Ms. Assy, who oversees numerous activities, speaks to us more specifically about the two day centres located on the territory covered by the Montréal West Island CIUSSS.

Ms. Assy, can you tell us a bit about your academic journey?

“I completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing in my home country of Lebanon at Université Saint-Joseph, a private, French-language university in Beirut. From 1982 to 1985, I worked at Tel-Chiha Hospital, in the city of Zahlé, where I was born.

In the summer of 1988, I made the decision to move to Canada, bound for Hamilton. There, I joined a doctor friend who was working at McMaster University. Since I couldn’t practice as a nurse, I spent two years looking after her children.”

And how did you come to live in Québec?

“While I was living in Ontario, I came to Québec quite frequently, to Ville Saint-Laurent, more specifically, where there’s a large Lebanese community. In fact, it was during one of my visits here that I met my future husband! We settled in Pierrefonds, in 1991. Soon thereafter, I began taking courses towards obtaining training equivalence through the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, and got my practice permit in May of 1992.  Ten years later, I went back to school and attended Université de Montréal. After earning a certificate in community health, I became a nurse clinician.”

What were your first jobs?

“My first nursing job was at Manoir Pierrefonds, on a unit for residents with Alzheimer’s disease. Then, in January 2001, I joined CLSC de Pierrefonds as a home care nurse. From 2016 to 2023, I worked at the access desk where I was responsible for processing requests from hospitals, among other things. I started in my current position at the end of September and am replacing someone who is on maternity leave.”

With regards to the day centres, what are your main functions?

“Working alongside various stakeholders, including those who provide home support services, I strive to improve access to our day centres by reducing the waiting lists and increasing the number of participants in each group. We operate groups that provide clients with the right services, at the right time. Our programs are designed to optimize aging in place, while minimizing isolation and deconditioning.

Our two day centres, located at Ste. Anne’s Hospital and the Centre d’hébergement de Lachine, welcome about 115 and 85 seniors respectively, with two to three groups of around ten people a day.”

What do you enjoy most about your new role?

“I love interacting with our seniors, which is why I’m actively in the field every day. Chatting with them or even just exchanging glances brings me joy. There’s so much we can learn from these individuals.

Teamwork is another aspect I really enjoy. At both day centres, I am incredibly fortunate to be able to count on teams of dedicated employees who are truly committed to the well-being of our clients.”

What day-to-day challenges do you have to contend with?

“Our clientele consists mostly of individuals who live at home alone or with informal caregivers. They tend to have growing physical problems, cognitive impairments and psychosocial deconditioning. As a result, it’s more of a challenge to form homogenous groups in which each person can get the most out of the programs and services offered at our day centres.”

Ms. Assy kindly agreed to share some aspects of her personal life with us …

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?

“I’ve been married to Youssef for 34 years. We are the proud parents of Michel and Tamara. Our son is a real estate broker and our daughter is an elementary school teacher.

My mother and sister are still in Lebanon and my brother lives in Brazil. Sadly, I lost two sisters several years ago.”

What do you do to unwind?

“Cooking is a great source of relaxation for me. I really enjoy finding new recipes on YouTube and having my children, in-laws or friends over for a nice meal. Not to be boastful, but I’ve been told on several occasions that my maple syrup baklava is heavenly!”

Do you enjoy travelling?

“We go to Lebanon, Egypt and Brazil quite regularly to visit family. When I retire, it’s my dream to visit Italy and Greece!”

Who inspires you?

“The person who inspires me is my mother, without question. After my father’s untimely passing, she showed great courage and resourcefulness when it came to meeting the needs of our family. Likewise, after the deaths of my two sisters, which occurred within a few years of one other, my mother really looked after her grandchildren. She’s now 81 years old and I speak to her EVERY day over FaceTime.”

“According to my mother, I was drawn to television shows that featured medical professionals from the age of five. In fact, I think that’s when I decided to become a nurse,” beams Ms. Assy. Pictured here are members of the Ste. Anne’s Hospital Day Centre team. From left to right: Lucie Latulippe, recreation technician; Nada Assy; Patrizia Tomarelli, physiotherapy technologist; Marie-Ève Leblanc, recreation technician; Josette Aristil, orderly.

Members of the Dorval/Lachine/LaSalle Day Centre team, gathered to celebrate a co-worker’s retirement. From left to right: Matthew von Bornhoft, kinesiologist; Nada Assy; Benoit Hébert, service aide; Renée Chalifoux, recreation technician and recent retiree; Line Lapierre, administrative officer.


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