“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion.” – Albert Schweitzer, Winner, Nobe

From the desk of Joanne Flewwelling, EVP Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive

While Osler has been making headlines with our commitment to organ donation, we’ve also been busy preparing for donations of a different kind. On July 7, Osler took the spirit of giving to new heights as we officially began collecting umbilical cord blood to be banked publically as part of Canada’s national public cord blood bank.

After months of planning, followed by a testing and validation stage, healthy pregnant women over the age of 18 can now choose to donate cord blood at Brampton Civic Hospital.

Osler struck a partnership with Canadian Blood Services last fall to designate Brampton Civic as one of only four hospitals – and the only community hospital in Canada – to serve as a collection site. It is a tremendous privilege to offer this opportunity to expectant parents in the communities we serve.

At any given time there are more than 1,000 Canadian patients in need of unrelated stem cell donors to treat lymphoma, leukemia, or other blood cancers. Only 50 percent are able to find a match and patients from diverse populations have an even greater challenge. Brampton Civic serves a growing, diverse community so collection efforts will be important and will help patients by providing additional opportunities for finding a match, and helping to save more lives.

With one of the largest Labour and Delivery departments in the province that delivers more than 5,000 babies each year, this partnership presents a unique opportunity for Osler to make an impact in the community, across Canada, and around the world.

Our partnership with Canadian Blood Services is just one of the many ways we are reaching beyond our walls to deliver patient-inspired health care without boundaries.

For more information about the partnership and the opportunity to donate cord blood, visit the Canadian Blood Services website.

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.

This week’s guest post is from Dr. Naveed Mohammad, VP Medical Affairs, and Susan deRyk, VP Public Affairs and Corporate Strategy and VP Marketing and Communications.

When was the last time you used the phrase, “it’s a small world”? We haven’t used it recently and we think that’s because our society is no longer surprised by how connected people and events are on a global scale. It’s now easier than it’s ever been to go beyond our doors to forge new partnerships at home and abroad.

At Osler we serve a diverse population – according to Statistics Canada, more than 50 per cent of Brampton residents and almost 60 per cent of Etobicoke residents were born outside of Canada. Providing care to such a multi-cultural community provides us with opportunities to be innovative and enhance the health care we provide locally, and through international partnerships. This is why Osler is developing a Global Health Program that will open doors for us to learn from, and contribute to, the homelands of the patients that we serve.

Typically, the phrase ‘global health program’ brings to mind images of organizations implementing health care initiatives that are aimed at ‘fixing a problem’ in remote regions of the world. Osler’s intentions are different – we are seeking to develop a mutually beneficial relationship that will help improve health care among each community’s respective patient population.

While the Global Health Program is still in the early stages of development, we are excited about its potential. Imagine the possibility of being able to partner with a health service provider in India to provide care for the growing number of people with diabetes, or build global partnerships to help improve access to care for the uninsured in our local community. We are still determining what countries or disciplines we will engage, but we are enthusiastic about the possibilities.

A truly robust and innovative program can only be created with input from the Osler family. Staff, physicians, and volunteers will have the opportunity to become involved in a global initiative that truly goes beyond.

Information sessions are being held this month at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General so that we can share more details about the program and let you know how you can become a part of it. Lunch and refreshments are being provided so come with an appetite and an open mind!

Brampton Civic – Auditorium
Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Time: 12 to 1pm
Etobicoke General – West Cafeteria
Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Time: 12 to 1pm

“I’m living the dream – I get a second chance at life.” – Jennifer Monteith, heart transplant recipient

Earlier this year, heart transplant recipient Jennifer Monteith shared her incredible story at Brampton Civic. Once diagnosed with congenital heart failure, Jennifer could barely walk a few feet, but a heart transplant gave her new life. Her story, and many others like it, remind me of the impact of organ and tissue donation, and Osler’s commitment to ensuring that we do our part to help others receive life-saving gifts.

Osler is making great strides in the area of organ and tissue donation, and we recently received good news from Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) that resulted in an article on the front page of the Globe and Mail. TGLN results from last quarter show that Osler has significantly improved upon converting the number of potential organ and tissue donors to actual donors, increasing the consent rate from 33 per cent to a remarkable 80 per cent. This means that for every five potential donors we see, four become actual donors. We’ve has also improved upon notifying TGLN of potential organ and tissue donation cases, seeing an increase from 75 per cent to 94 per cent.

With more than 1,500 people awaiting life-saving transplants in Ontario, Osler’s success is truly exciting news. We have worked to improve our routine notification and conversation rates and these improvements are having a tremendous impact on our ability to positively affect the lives of those on the transplant waiting list.

Our outcomes have improved in large part due to a dedicated team that ensures organ and tissue donation is a part of end-of-life care and by adopting TGLN protocols to help staff in the ICU take the necessary steps to alert TGLN about potential donors. We are also working more closely with TGLN’s Regional Medical Lead and following-up on all potential organ donors.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your dedication to this important work. I know we will continue to build on these positive changes to help save more lives.

This good news builds on our TGLN partnership that launched Osler’s Be a Donor campaign to increase awareness of the importance and impact of tissue and organ donation. Our goal is to encourage 500 members of Osler staff, physicians and volunteers to register their consent as organ and tissue donors. If you like to register your consent as an organ and tissue donor, you can do so at www.beadonor.ca/WilliamOsler.

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

Brampton residents living and working near the site of the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness have likely noticed a lot of activity in recent weeks. The construction equipment that moved in was the ideal backdrop for a celebration of redevelopment progress as part of recent Osler’s Annual General Meeting.

While the hum of construction equipment would be a nuisance at any other event, it was the perfect soundtrack for our celebration. Over 300 people gathered in a tent on the site of the new Peel Memorial on June 25 to mark a monumental milestone in its redevelopment journey.

Politicians, volunteers, health care leaders, physicians and dignitaries were on hand for an exciting announcement confirming that Plenary Health has signed a fixed-price contract to design, build, finance and maintain the new Peel Memorial. This news was met with roaring applause as it signifies that our vision for the new Peel Memorial will soon become a reality as construction is set to start this summer!

This year’s Annual General Meeting was bittersweet as it was the final order of business for outgoing Osler Board Chair Kay Blair. Since taking the helm of the Board of Directors in 2009, Kay has steered Osler in a positive direction with her tremendous passion and unwavering commitment to transforming health care in the communities we serve. We are on course for success and her influence will be felt for generations to come.

Amid the excitement, we launched Osler’s first mobile app, HosNav.  This tool walks visitors though their experience at Osler with maps to the hospital, tips on the closest parking lots to a visitor’s destination, and the locations of all outpatient clinics at the hospital. HosNav is available for download for free in the App Store.

We’ve captured this and many of our other successes in our online 2013-14 Annual Report. We’re also excited to showcase our Annual Report through Osler’s new Instagram profile. Throughout the summer we will be releasing our year in review on Instagram by adding new photos and content each week. Check out our #OslerSelfie at instagram.com/oslerreport2013  and don’t forget to follow us!

“Progress is not enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” – Kahlil Gibran, author and poet

Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time planning for Osler’s future. Not only have we developed new Strategic and Clinical Priorities Plans to guide how we will deliver health care programs and services in the community, we have also given careful thought to where this care will be provided.

We have made tremendous progress in setting the stage for the revitalization and expansion of our hospitals and now we’re ready to celebrate one of the biggest milestones to date.

Construction on the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness is set to begin this summer! This achievement was made possible by the extraordinary support of the community, a strong commitment from our government and municipal partners and the dedication of Osler’s staff, physicians and volunteers.

You are invited to be part of this momentous event in Peel Memorial’s redevelopment journey. On Wednesday, June 25 we will be hosting a special public event to celebrate our progress on the site of the new Peel Memorial. We expect a number of dignitaries, as well as government officials and community members to attend the event.

We will recognize Osler’s achievements and accomplishments from the past year as part of our Annual General Meeting, celebrate the progress made in revitalizing the new Peel Memorial, and recognize the vision and support of a community that helped to bring a second state-of-the-art hospital to Brampton and the surrounding area.

We are also looking forward to hosting a small Health and Wellness Fair during the event. Staff from across the organization will be manning booths to help raise awareness of some of the programs and services offered at Peel Memorial. Stop by the Diabetes Education booth to try a healthy smoothie, test your balance with Wii Fit at the Physiotherapy booth and get your blood pressure checked by Osler’s Geriatric Outreach team!

We’re also moving full steam ahead on our plans to renovate and expand Etobicoke General Hospital. It was a full house at last week’s Town Hall meeting where staff, physicians and volunteers learned more about the projects currently underway and work that will be undertaken over the next 12 to 24 months to prepare Etobicoke General for the addition of the new four-storey wing and the eventual full-scale redevelopment of the site.

Our plans for the future are ambitious and I have no doubt that with the continued support of our Osler family, community and government partners, we will be celebrating many more milestones in the years ahead.

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.” – Tina Walker

June is Seniors’ Month across Ontario and this year’s theme is “Aging Without Boundaries.” It’s a theme that resonates with me, not just because I’m getting older, but because I see the value in moving beyond our boundaries. That’s where the magic happens and that’s how we can give our patients the best care possible.

During our last fiscal year, more than 36,000 seniors entered our emergency departments. Those visits account for almost 20 per cent of our total ED visits throughout the year, and as our community changes – grows and ages – it is important that our services and programs keep pace so we can provide the care that is needed.

As an organization, we are truly committed to caring for those who once cared for us, and this couldn’t be more evident through our Seniors Programs. We’ve enhanced and expanded some of our inpatient and outpatient services for seniors – offering them more convenient access and integrated care.

Senior focused units such as Post Acute Short Stay Unit (PASSU) and Acute Care of Elders Unit (ACE) help our elderly patients maintain their independence while achieving specialized care through our hospitals.

Geriatric Emergency Management (GEM) Nurses at both of our EDs help assess seniors who may need extra care and support when they go home. As a result, we are able to reduce the number of repeat visits seniors make to our EDs.

Osler also holds a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health system Elders) designation, a testament to our commitment to elder care excellence. We are working toward achieving Level 4 NICHE designation, an accomplishment I know we will achieve.

Our Geriatric Psychiatry program is the only one of its kind in our LHIN, providing access to special age-oriented treatment in an appropriate setting.

Seniors’ Month recognizes the contributions seniors have made to their community and the contributions they are still making every day across Ontario. Our goal is to help them maintain the best quality of life possible through the care we provide.

I hope you had a chance to drop-in to one health fairs that we’ve hosted throughout the month. If not, there are still a few you can participate in: One at our Brampton Civic location today from 10:00 until 2:00pm, and another one at Etobicoke General on June 27 from 10:00 until 2:00pm.

We are witnessing unparalleled growth of the senior’s population in our LHIN and our enhanced services are enriching the lives of seniors.

MORE: Quiz time! How much do you know about living options for seniors?

“End of the spring and here she comes back, those summer days.” – Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly and the Family Stone

It’s the time when we fire up the grill, pack our winter gear away for another year and finally break out our summer clothes. I’ve certainly taken advantage of the warm weather to clean up my garden and take care of some long overdue yard work.

While many of us look forward to spending time with family and friends during the warm summer weekends, members of the Osler family are taking care of the community. Working on weekends comes with the territory of being a health care professional and we are thankful for the commitment of front-line staff, physicians, volunteers and those working behind the scenes to support exemplary patient care at Osler.

Summer weekends are among the busiest times at Osler, especially in our emergency departments (ED), which continue to be among the busiest in Ontario. In fact, we saw a five per cent increase in ED activity over the last year as more than 204,000 patients came through our doors. We also saw an uptick in inpatient activity as many patients begin their journey in the ED before being admitted to acute care units, putting additional pressures on all parts of the hospital.

For many people in the community, the ED is the gateway to health care and as more patients come through our doors the impacts are felt across Osler. More patients mean more diagnostic images, laboratory tests and allied health services are required to support frontline staff as they continue provide efficient, high quality patient care.

As our patient volumes continue to grow, we’re building relationships with health care partners in the community so patients can get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. We’ve made it easy for patients to find information about health care options by posting it to our website.

And coming this summer, patients will have access to this information right in the palms of their hands as we launch our first-ever mobile app. HosNav will provide patients with tools to help them navigate Osler hospitals and pre-appointment processes from their mobile device. We’re looking forward to launching this app and to connecting with patients in this new and exciting way. The app will be available through Apple’s iTunes store and we will let you know when it is ready for download.