Bringing hope and healing through research

Dr. Ron Heslegrave

Osler’s Corporate Chief of Research, Dr. Ron Heslegrave, works with EMS to test a new medical device for heart attack patients.

This week’s guest blogger is Dr. Ron Heslegrave, Osler’s Corporate Chief of Research

How many of you made a resolution to learn a new skill in 2018? To improve your health or discover a new passion? As I rang in 2018, it occurred to me that the very things that inspire our own personal New Year’s Resolutions – learning, improving, discovering – also drive Osler’s Research and Innovation Program.

Every day, our researchers seek to discover new ways to improve patient care and prevent and treat disease in our community. There are literally hundreds of research initiatives – far too many to list in this blog – underway at Osler right now! And what we are learning is bringing hope and healing to our patients.

For example:

  • A patient with advanced lung cancer is getting access to a promising new drug, years before it goes to market, giving him more time to spend with the people he loves.
  • A new medical device called autoRIC, currently being tested by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Peel and Halton and our interventional cardiologists, is helping to minimize cardiac damage in heart attack patients before they even arrive at our hospital.
  • Our collaboration on the Canadian Alliance Study for Healthy Hearts and Minds is providing insights about the factors that contribute to the high incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer among South Asians in our community.
  • We’re piloting an innovative digital platform designed to tailor home-care needs to individual patients in our community, at lower cost than what is currently available.

Again these are just a few examples of the many way our research is influencing and impacting front-line care locally, regionally, nationally, as well as far beyond our borders through our Global Health Program with partnering countries India and Pakistan.

Members of Osler’s 2017 Summer Student Research Program with Her Worship the Mayor of Brampton, Linda Jeffrey, Dr. Ronald Heslegrave, Corporate Chief of Research, and Dr. Ravi Bhargava (Lt.) Corporate Manager of Research.

We are also helping to nurture the next generation of health care leaders and researchers through our annual Osler Summer Student Research Program. Students who participate gain first-hand experience conducting meaningful research that supports our Mission of innovative health care delivered with compassion.

Research cannot happen without funding and our team has had significant success attracting support in a highly competitive market – a fact that speaks to the calibre of our work. Just this week, we learned that two Osler teams are receiving grants from the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation for research projects looking at ways to enhance care for palliative patients in their own home and provide physicians with access to their patient’s end-of-life wishes.

I am so proud of the incredible progress of Osler’s Research and Innovation Program to date and excited at the opportunities ahead. The future of research at Osler looks bright indeed. I look forward to leading the program as it continues to help deliver patient-inspired care without boundaries for patients and their families in our community and beyond.


Caring for patients over the holidays

Every year throughout the holiday period, we experience an increase in demand for care at Osler. Continuing to provide patient-inspired care during surge takes commitment, compassion, and a lot of planning by the entire Osler team.

In this week’s video blog, I chat with Joanne Bridle in Environmental Services about how surge impacts her and the support service staff.


Holiday health care options

This week’s guest blogger is Dr. Frank Martino, Chief of Staff

It’s never an intended part of anyone’s holiday plans – a fever, stomach bug, infection, broken bone or cut. But illnesses and accidents don’t seem to care much about the date on the calendar.

If they did, we wouldn’t see significant increases in patient volumes at our hospitals during the holiday season. Holiday surge, however, has become the norm at Osler, along with most other hospitals across the country. Last year at Osler, our team cared for an unprecedented 25,734 patients over a two week period in December and January, with the highest volumes on December 26.

The good news is there are things each of us can do to mitigate our chances of getting sick and/or the impact of illness should it strike this holiday season. And it starts with getting the flu shot. We can also boost our immune system by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep.

Staying well and out of the hospital during the holidays also involves some proactive planning. Most of us make lists for the groceries and gifts we need to buy. I recommend you also consider making a holiday care check list, one that reminds you to:

  • fill prescriptions and stock up on any needed medications and medical supplies like inhalers, oxygen and glucose test strips ahead of time
  • find out what hours your family doctor or specialist’s office is open during the holidays
  • figure out where the closest urgent care clinics are
  • take note of the number for Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-0000

Be sure to check out some more holiday care options and tips at our special Holiday Page. We’ve also created a video and some helpful infographics, included in this blog, to help you determine when you should seek treatment at Peel Memorial’s Urgent Care Centre and when you should go to one of our two acute care Emergency Departments.

Our hope, of course, is that you and your family enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season, but we also want you to know that we’re here for you if you need us. And that we’ve taken significant steps to extend and adjust resources to accommodate the anticipated higher patient volumes and ensure everyone in the community continues to have access to safe, quality, patient-inspired care when and where it is needed.


Our community. Our family.


Guest blog by Ken Mayhew, President and CEO, William Osler Health System Foundation

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to once again travel to China. It was a meaningful trip because I have two wonderful daughters that my wife and I adopted from China. To be able to bring my daughters back to the country of their birth was incredibly special and led me to reflect on the importance and meaning of family.

The word ‘family’ means something different for everyone. Some find their family in those related by blood, others find family in their spouses, friends, caregivers and co-workers.

In my experience, for many volunteers, staff and physicians at our three hospitals, family also refers to many of the co-workers that they spend so much time with and the patients that they care for.

People who support the Foundation often reflect that you never need your community hospital until you do. Community hospitals, like ours, impact thousands and thousands of families every year. As a teenager with a mother who became ill and again as parent, this has been true for me personally. And after attending the Gala Benefit Concert on Saturday night, it was evident that most people who were in attendance have lived this experience as well.

The belief in the work of Osler volunteers, staff and physicians was palpable that night. The event raised an incredible $746,000 for our hospitals. Just as importantly, it was a profound demonstration of the trust and commitment that our communities have for its hospitals. This trust and commitment would not be possible without all of you. Through your generosity and kindness, the Foundation guides others to pay it forward.

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As we enter into the season of giving, I would like to thank you for the tremendous impact you have on others—changing people’s lives, one family at a time.

All my best to you and yours over the holidays and a wish for good health, growth and a little adventure in 2018. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Foundation when I say, we look forward to continuing to work with you in the service of our communities in the year ahead.



Quality – Change Day

This week’s guest blogger is Dr. Naveed Mohammad, Vice-President Medical Affairs

Small changes can have big impact on patient care.

That’s the simple but powerful premise behind Change Day, a global movement designed to empower people in health care to make positive changes through pledges and actions to improve compassionate quality care. A pledge is something that you commit to doing, changing, or improving for yourself, your team, or patients.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAmaAAAAJDNhZDY5NTVmLWFkZWMtNDRkYi04OGIwLWUwNTEwZjAwYzQzNQ.pngChange Day began as a grassroots push by a group of doctors in the UK in 2013 and has spread to 17 countries, including Canada where Change Day is now held in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta, and, new this year, Ontario.

The Change Day movement aligns perfectly with Osler’s Mission and Vision to deliver innovative, patient-inspired health care with compassion. And that’s why, when the opportunity arose to be part of the inaugural Change Day Ontario, we didn’t hesitate.

You’ve likely seen our Change Day Ontario posters around our hospitals or received emails and eblasts encouraging you to join Osler’s pledge: “To further improve patient safety by achieving its goal of 100 per cent compliance by staff and physicians in correctly validating patient/client identification prior to any treatment service or procedure.”

Osler’s pledge supports our Expect to Check Campaign and reinforces how critical it is to patient safety to correctly identify every patient, every time. At the end of October, our performance was at 85.5 per cent.

Many of you have already gone to the Change Day Ontario website to support Osler’s pledge and/or make your own personal pledge. Thank you for taking part! Your participation is further proof that Osler staff are passionate about safe, quality care for our patients. To see some of the pledges made by staff at Osler, with representation from ED, Acute Care, Mental Health, Emergency Medical Services, Seniors Care and more, click here.

The pledge period began on September 12 and officially ends tomorrow. The Change Day movement, however, like Osler’s commitment to compassionate quality care, has no end date but is an ongoing journey involving all of us.



Caring for our community’s newest residents

This week’s guest blogger is Kiki Ferrari, Interim Executive Vice President, Clinical Services

New beginnings. We witness them daily on Osler’s Labour and Delivery (L&D) units at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General Hospitals, where we delivered more than 7,700 babies in 2016-17. While that made Osler’s L&D the second busiest in Ontario, recent activities reveal that there’s a much bigger story behind that number.

Earlier this month, thanks to solid working relationships within Osler’s Women’s and Children’s services, we delivered 58 babies in 48 hours across Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General, marking an extraordinary couple of days on the L&D units!

The staff, physicians and volunteers in our post-partum, paediatric and obstetrical units work closely with those in our labour and delivery and neonatal intensive care units (NICU) on a regular basis to ensure that we can continue to meet the care needs of both expecting and new moms and their babies, even under the most challenging of circumstances.

When our teams spring into action you can clearly see they are an experienced and fine-tuned group with a deep commitment to deliver safe, high quality patient care. Thanks to their efforts, as well as those from all corners of Osler, every one of those moms and babies received the best possible care from admission to discharge. Meanwhile the care for those on other units within Women’s and Children’s services continued seamlessly and without disruption while a baby or two was born every hour for two days.

The benefit of Osler’s productive working relationships within Women’s and Children’s services goes beyond our walls. That was evident during Ontario’s NICU surge this summer, which still continues today, in the number of infants needing high-level intensive care.

More than 22 community hospitals in Ontario refer very sick babies to the Level III neonatal intensive care units at SickKids, Mount Sinai and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Currently and throughout this summer’s intense NICU surge, Osler was pleased to be among Ontario’s hospitals to help ease the pressure on the Level III NICUs by supporting the flow of babies in and out of the three affected hospitals. Once stabilized, many of the sick infants were cared for in Brampton Civic’s NICU and Etobicoke General’s Special Care Nursery (SCN). Brampton’s NICU is one of the largest Level II NICUs of its kind in the province, and in 2018, Etobicoke General will open a NICU in its new patient tower, where premature babies can thrive and grow stronger close to home.

My sincerest thanks to all the staff, physicians and volunteers across Osler who continue to go above and beyond to help our community’s newest residents get their best start in life.

More than just a flu shot

Protecting ourselves, our colleagues and our patients against the flu is one of the most important ways we can ensure staff and patients stay safe and healthy during the flu season. This year’s flu campaign, “More Than Just a Flu Shot”, reinforces how every one of us has an important role to play in protecting the safety of staff and patients at Osler.

While I got my flu shot, I chatted with Kim Steeves, Occupational Health Nurse at Osler, about why it’s important to get vaccinated.