Seeing Osler through a different lens

From the first moment I walked through Osler’s doors 10 years ago, I knew there was something very special about this organization. Something told me this is a place where I can grow and learn as a health care leader, where ideas to improve health care are encouraged and acted upon, where individuals value and respect the contributions of one another, and where people are truly committed to making a difference in the lives of patients and families.

My instincts were right. Osler is all these things . . . and so much more.

During the past 10 months, I had the privilege of seeing Osler through a very different lens in my role as interim President and CEO, and it was an incredibly rewarding journey. Here is what I saw:

  • A caring, compassionate and solutions-oriented team of staff, physicians and volunteers who stepped up to the plate every time our patient volumes exceeded expectations to make sure that every single patient who came through our doors received the care they needed. The seven leading practices we achieved through Accreditation, are largely due to the efforts of our dedicated frontline teams.
  • An exceptional team of volunteers who help in so many ways at Osler to support patients and families and contribute to the patient experience. So often they were the first faces I saw whenever I visited any of our sites, and they played an instrumental role in the successful staff and public tours of Peel Memorial prior to its opening.
  • An incredible response from our community, staff, physicians and volunteers in support of Brampton Civic, Etobicoke General, and Peel Memorial, marking a year of unprecedented giving. Having had the opportunity to meet and thank so many of our donors in person, I was touched by the many heartwarming stories people shared of their personal experiences with Osler and their reasons for giving.
  • A talented team of clinical and non-clinical leaders, who worked tirelessly to support their teams while addressing unprecedented patient volumes at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General, preparing for Accreditation and the opening of Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, and planning for the expansion and redevelopment of Etobicoke General.

Our accomplishments were many over the past year, as highlighted in the 2016-17 annual report, but it’s the people who were behind those achievements that really struck a chord with me this year. You are the ones who make this place tick. We may all contribute to fulfilling our Vision in different ways, but it is the coming together of our collective efforts that makes what we do possible.

I felt incredibly supported throughout my interim role as President and CEO and can’t thank you enough for everything you have done over the past ten months to help position Osler so strongly for the future. I look forward to continuing to support this great organization in my role as Senior Strategic Advisor, working closely with our new President and CEO, Dr. Brendan Carr, and all of you, as we start thinking about the longer-term strategic priorities that will set a course for our future. We’re in great hands. Let the next chapter begin!

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Osler recognized as a leader in organ and tissue donation

A few weeks ago, I watched a tear-jerking CBC News story about a bride who met the man who received her late son’s heart at her wedding. It was a beautiful story that really drove home the heart (pun intended) of organ and tissue donation and why we work so hard to raise awareness. Simply put: It saves lives.

I’m so proud of our team because our staff gets it. Earlier this summer, Osler was recognized with a Hospital Achievement – Provincial Conversion Rate Award from Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN).

This achievement is thanks to the effort and dedication of our staff and physicians, the compassion of patients and families, and a valued partnership with TGLN. In fact, our own Dr. Alexandra McMillan has been a strong advocate for organ donation and is one of only three physicians in Ontario to receive the TGLN’s Hospital Donation Champion Award.

But what has all of this hard work translated into?  Five years ago, we recorded a mere five donations. A record 22 organ donations from Osler patients in 2016 helped save no fewer than 61 lives.

Let that sink in for a minute.  That’s 61 mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and grandparents who got a new lease on life. Let me give you a sense of how those lives were saved:

  • 4 heart recipients
  • 10 lung recipients
  • 12 liver recipients
  • 30 kidney recipients
  • 3 kidney/pancreas recipients
  • 2 pancreas islet cell recipients.

And let’s not forget the expansive network of people affected by these 61 lives, plus the families of the organ donor that fulfilled the donors’ last wishes. That’s powerful stuff.

The truth is, we all have the power to be champions for organ and tissue donation. Research suggests that as many as 15 per cent of Ontarians mistakenly believe they are already registered, when in fact, they are not.

Today there are more than 1,500 men, women and children in Ontario waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Osler is proud to be among Ontario’s leading hospitals working to reduce that wait. Please join me in our advocacy efforts by registering as a donor today. Who knows? You could end up saving someone’s life someday – or a registered donor could save yours.

Three ways you can stay safe and healthy this summer

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

We’re headed into the middle of summer and we thought it was the perfect time for a reminder about how easy it is to stay safe and healthy this summer.

Stay sun smart and beat the heat

Doctors have been talking about sun safety for years and with melanoma on the rise, protecting ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun is more important now than ever before. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, this year 7,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. It is one of the fastest-rising of all cancers and also one of the easiest to prevent. There are a number of ways to help avoid becoming a statistic such as, covering up, staying in the shade and applying sunscreen (with an SPF of 15 or higher). Our Live Well with Osler series has six helpful tips on how you can practice safe sun.

High temperatures can also be dangerous. We haven’t seen many heat alerts in our region this summer but if the heat is too much to handle, there are a number of things you can do to avoid being overwhelmed:

  • Stay inside during the hottest part of the day
  • Keep hydrated by drinking water
  • Visit a cooling centre in your community
  • Check on elderly friends and neighbours to make sure they’re safe

Don’t be “ticked” off

In true Canadian fashion, warm summer weather has inspired many of us to enjoy the great outdoors by visiting local parks, exploring hiking trails and heading out on a camping adventure. You may have seen news reports (one example here) about the rise in the number of ticks in Southern Ontario. Ticks are carriers of Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by tick bites. While the risk remains low, it’s important to safeguard against tick bites by covering up exposed skin and checking yourself for these travellers after spending a day outdoors.

Check out our recent post on Facebook to learn more about how you can avoid tick bites this summer.

Know where to get care if you need it

No matter how careful we are, there are times when we need medical care. Clinics in the community often have holiday hours in the summer and knowing your options when your primary health care provider is unavailable is a great way to get prepared for any situation.

The Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at Peel Memorial is an excellent option for non-life threatening illnesses or injuries that just can’t wait, like:

  • Sprains, strains or broken bones
  • Mild allergic reactions, skin rashes
  • Asthma attacks
  • Minor burns
  • Cuts that might need stitches
  • Earaches, eye injuries
  • Fevers, coughs and colds
  • Infections
  • Nose and throat complaints

The UCC is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day and you don’t need a referral or appointment. If you experience severe chest pain, stroke symptoms, or you are uncertain, always call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

Summer is only half over and we hope you take these tips to heart as you enjoy the next few weeks.

Celebrating and recognizing excellence at Osler

Being recognized by one’s peers is one of the most honoured achievements a person can receive.

Each year we present health care professionals with peer-nominated Awards of Excellence as one of the many ways we acknowledge exemplary clinical work by individual health professionals, physicians and clinical teams. Because nominations come directly from colleagues, these awards feel extra special and this year an unprecedented 108 staff received nominations.

Last year, we revamped our recognition program to make it more inclusive of our clinical teams and to highlight the collaborative relationships and partnerships that exist between our clinical teams. This combined recognition is celebrated in addition to the individual professional practices.

I, along with members of Osler’s Senior Leadership Team, were honoured last week to present the awards in ceremonies at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General, with a live telecast at Peel Memorial, to ensure our nominees and winners are able to celebrate these accomplishments with their colleagues. The enthusiasm for our recognition program speaks to the amazing work that takes place among our teams at Osler.

Osler staff received Awards of Excellence in the following categories:

  • Patient Experience and Compassionate Caring
  • Clinical Leadership
  • Early Career
  • Mentoring/Coaching/Teaching
  • Interprofessional Team
  • Clinical Services Management
  • National Bank Bursary Award for Clinical Practice
  • Geni Sobol-Baran Education Fund for Nursing

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

A record breaking start to the summer

Every summer a record or two is shattered in the Greater Toronto Area. It could be a weather record, an attendance record, or in the case of Osler Foundation, a fundraising record. Earlier this summer I wrote about the exciting events happening in support of Osler Foundation and we’ve kicked it off in true Osler style.

Brampton Invitational is a hole-in-one

We weren’t kidding when we said we had teed up an exciting day on the links. The Osler Open: Brampton Invitational, presented by DG Group, brought out 200 golfers to raise $312,000 to equip the new Peel Memorial and fund the next generation of diagnostic equipment and technology at Brampton Civic.

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This annual event is always a big draw. Her Worship Linda Jeffery, Mayor of Brampton, was in attendance as were a host of other dignitaries including the Chair of the Regional Municipality of Peel Police Services Board, as well as city and regional councillors. It was heartening to see members of the community, as well as community leaders, driving home their support for high-quality health care close to home.

Check out the photo gallery if you missed out on the fun!

Walk ‘n Roll was one to remember

Presented by Whole Health Pharmacy Partners, the third annual Osler Walk ’n Roll Fest for Healthy Kids saw hundreds of participants from across Etobicoke walk and wheel their way around the 5K route at Woodbine Racetrack to raise vital funds for children’s health programs at Etobicoke General Hospital.

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The annual event reached a new fundraising milestone, which is expected to top $105,000, a total that will be matched by the $15 Million Matching Challenge to bring us to a total of $210,000! All funds raised will go towards equipping the new NICU and expanded Labour and Delivery Unit in Etobicoke General’s new patient tower – which is currently under construction.

Each year the Walk ‘n Roll gets bigger and better. At the finish line, walkers and rollers were greeted by a healthy lunch and a family friendly festival that included bounce houses, face painting, a petting zoo and games. If you missed out on the fun, check out the photo gallery from the big event!

Teeing off for fall

We will say goodbye to summer with our annual Osler Open: Etobicoke Invitational at the Lambton Golf & Country Club on September 18. This event is sure to sell out so register now to guarantee you can tee-off with your “fore-some.” Proceeds from the tournament will help support the development of the new four-storey patient tower at Etobicoke General.

Osler has always relied on the generosity of the community to equip our spaces and help fund our redevelopment projects. Thank you for your ongoing support of Osler Foundation – we couldn’t to what we do without you!

Reaching new heights at Etobicoke General

It’s hard to believe that just one year ago we gathered at Etobicoke General Hospital to break ground on the new four-storey patient tower and Ancillary Services Building (ASB). So much has been achieved in such a short period of time and now we’ve reached an exciting milestone!

On June 26, we welcomed members of the Osler community – dignitaries, health care and business leaders, construction partners, donors, local residents and our incredible staff, physicians and volunteers – to the site for a standing room only event to celebrate the “topping off” milestone.

“Topping off” is an event that is widely recognized in the construction industry that signifies that the building has reached its full height and that the structure of the building has been completed.

Following the formal portion of the event, guests were invited to sign a beam that will be installed as part of the new patient tower and steel plates that will become part of the ASB. In case you missed it, check out our photo album from the event on Facebook!

When it opens in 2018, Etobicoke General’s new patient tower will add 250,000 square feet of space for new and expanded departments, including a state-of-the-art emergency department that will greatly improve access to care and patient flow. The ASB will replace the aging, existing medical office building with more than twice the square footage of contemporary medical space that will house existing ambulatory care clinics and a new satellite dialysis program.

There is plenty of work still to be done before we can officially open our doors to patients, but this is a remarkable step in our redevelopment journey!

Helping seniors live their best life

We’re once again celebrating Seniors Month in the theme of “Living Your Best Life,” which rings true for many people in the communities we serve. The population in the Central West region is rapidly aging, with the number of seniors aged 65+ expected to increase by 62 per cent by 2025. To ensure seniors continue to live their best lives, we need to ensure that the health care system is there to support them when they need it.

Growing for the ages

One way Osler has committed to being there for senior patients is by building dynamic new clinical spaces to ensure that we are able to meet the changing needs of our growing patient population. We’ve made a conscious effort to redevelop some of our physical spaces, like the new Peel Memorial, and evolve our programs with seniors in mind.

One of the many unique features of Peel Memorial is our outdoor spaces, which includes a courtyard dedicated to rehabilitation for senior patients. This area is connected to our rehabilitation centre and has been designed with pathways that each have a different surface to help patients practice their mobility.

Check out the many senior-friendly features we’ve considered at Peel Memorial:

Seniors will also be assisted in getting prompt access to outreach and outpatient services that will help them maintain their independence at home and in the community. Specialized geriatric clinics like stroke and fall prevention, as well as short-term rehabilitation, will be available for seniors with complex medical and functional issues.

We’ve found our NICHE

Osler is also proud to have achieved Exemplar status of the Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) program at both acute care sites – Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General Hospitals. This designation recognizes our ongoing, high-level dedication to geriatric care.

We’ve embraced this approach through the development of senior-focused outpatient programs a Nurse-Led Outreach Team that partners with long-term care facilities in the community to provide timely care to seniors and an interprofessional Geriatric Outreach Team that provides in-home, non-urgent geriatric assessment to frail seniors who are unable to attend clinic visits.

We’ve also created the volunteer-led Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) where trained volunteers do activities with elderly patients to keep them engaged and reduce key delirium risk factors.

Elders are an important part of the communities we serve and ensuring they receive the unique health care services they need is as important to us as it is to their families. We are proud to be a part of their healthy lifestyle so many can continue to live their best life.