Fiona Kishundyal didn’t set out to lead a stroke survivor group at Morton Plant North Bay. A recreational therapist at the hospital, Fiona seemed to be the natural choice, but she was concerned her shyness would prevent her from being an effective leader. She decided if she could provide the education and support these individuals and their families deserved, she could overcome the shyness issue to make a difference in their lives.
As a recreational therapist, Fiona utilizes a wide range of interventions and techniques to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and leisure needs of her patients. Fiona shares her philosophy on playing hard at work:
Why is supporting heart health so important to you?
In my job and with the stroke support group, I know how important taking care of yourself can positively affect your health. I exercise and eat right, which are the keys to a healthier lifestyle.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself leading a stroke support group?
Before I became the leader of the support group, I didn’t think I could do it because I am pretty shy. By sharing my life and my story, along with providing the support for my stroke survivors and families, I came out of my shell. I didn’t realize what a difference you can make in someone’s life. Leading this group has further given me a purpose in what I do. Putting a smile on my patients’ faces makes my day.
What is the biggest misconception about stroke?
People don’t understand or recognize the signs at an early stage, the FAST (face, arm, speech and time) signals that can truly make a difference in recovery. I want to educate others on these signs and symptoms so we can prevent more serious after-effects.
How do you use your position as a recreational therapist at Morton Plant North Bay to help stroke survivors?
I put more fun into coping with their situation. As a recreational therapist, I work with stroke survivors and caregivers to help them learn to reintegrate in the community. Recreational therapy is playing your way to recovery. Using games to build life skills is a great deal of my job to enhance a patient’s health, functional abilities, independence and quality of life. For example, if they need to gain function in their hands, we do arts and crafts. If they want to work on making a meal, we cook. Making therapy fun can lead to a life of no limitations.
My family. Knowing anything can happen in life, I am blessed. Also, I want to spread awareness to decrease the after-effects of stroke.