Summer is a time when many of us take some time to relax and enjoy the great outdoors, whether in our own backyards, local parks or up at the cottage. While a slower pace is often a welcome change, we can’t forget that staying safe at home and on the road will help you stay out of the emergency department (ED).

The latest installment of our monthly Live Well with Osler health and wellness series highlights some rules of the road to keep you safe during this busy summer season. There are more fatalities on Canadian roads during the summer than at any other time of year and over the last few years, motor vehicle collisions were the leading cause of hospital admissions and ED visits among Ontario youth aged 15 to 24 years.

Road safety is especially important to remember if you are coming to Osler for an appointment during July and August as the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games lane restrictions will reduce capacity on the roads and increase traffic volumes across the Greater Toronto Area. Please be sure to give yourself ample time to safely get to and from our facilities or these exciting events.

Safety is also top of mind across our hospital sites as we’re put a number of measures in place within our walls to enhance the safety of everyone who works, receives care and visits Osler:

  • A new web-based reporting system for clinical and non-clinical incidents was introduced this spring to help enhance our culture of safety at Osler by preventing or reducing errors and improving overall health care quality.
  • As part of our redevelopment of Etobicoke General, we’ve installed new lighting and emergency call stations in staff parking areas to improve visibility and safety while staff are coming to and from work.
  • We implemented a computer-generated medication administration record (cMAR) across Osler to improve patient safety and reduce the risk of medication transcription errors.

Whether in the heat of summer or the middle of the chilly winter, safety always starts with you.

Thank you for Going Beyond!

At Osler, the patient experience is at the heart of everything we do. When I hear from patients about their experiences at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General, it’s clear that this message is taken to heart. I am continuously blown away by the wonderful compliments from patients given to everyone who has been a part of their care.

If I were to include the full list of accolades for our Osler family, you would be scrolling forever! I’ve asked our Patient Relations team to share some recent feedback they’ve received from patients and families who received care at our hospitals. Here is a small sample of compliments from our patients:

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Celebrate the transformation of Etobicoke General at our AGM

If you’ve been around Etobicoke General recently, you’ve likely seen heavy equipment moving the earth in the hydro lands next to the hospital as we improve our facilities in preparation for an exciting future that includes a new four-storey wing and Ancillary Services Building.

AGM

Given the increase in activity on site, we felt that is the perfect place to host our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and a celebration of the transformation of Etobicoke General. We’re highlighting our achievements from the past year and marking our redevelopment progress to date as we continue to plan for the future of health care in this community.

You’re invited to join us at Etobicoke General on Monday, June 22 starting at 3:15 p.m. for this exciting event that truly has something for everyone:

  • Mark an exciting milestone in the renewal and expansion of Etobicoke General and celebrate the progress made in revitalizing all three of Osler’s hospital sites
  • Get an update on our clinical achievements and see how the care provided at Osler is changing the lives of patients
  • Learn about how we’re working with our partners to the deliver health care in the community
  • Check out our newest mobile app, Osler Outpatient, which takes patients from discharge to being in charge of their care

We’ll also debut our fully digital and interactive Annual Report that highlights our achievements from the past year. We have a lot to say and I hope to see you there!

Inspired care leads to inspired giving

How do you say ‘thank you’ to someone who has provided you with exceptional care during your most vulnerable moments? Sometimes words and gestures just aren’t enough. That is why Osler Foundation provides many opportunities for patients and families to show their gratitude.

One example is the new Grateful Patient program, which offers patients a special way to say thank you, through their donation, to someone who has made a difference in their care. Each honouree is presented with a special heart-shaped pin and receives a personalized message of thanks telling them of the donation.

One of the best parts of my job as CEO is getting to share the stories of the incredible care our patients receive at Osler. Two such experiences inspired patients to acknowledge their care providers with a Grateful Patient pin:

  • Warren Topey came to Etobicoke General for urgent surgery. Thanks to the “understanding, compassion and skill” shown by Dr. John Morrell, he is once again able to live a full life. Warren was able to say a personal ‘thank you’ through a Grateful Patient gift in honour Dr. Morrell.
  • Surinder Gill came to Brampton Civic for a routine test when she learned she needed immediate surgery to remove her enlarged appendix, which had a cancerous tumour that was previously undiscovered. The expertise of Dr. Kashif Irshad saved her life and making a Grateful Patient gift in his honour was her way of saying ‘thanks.’

There are other ways to show your support for Osler, like participating in our signature events. Mark your calendars as this summer promises to be one of the most exciting ever for Osler Foundation!

Osler Open: Etobicoke Invitational
The Summit Golf & Country Club – September 14, 2015

One of our most popular events, the Osler Open: Etobicoke Invitational helps drive home support for the redevelopment of Etobicoke General.

Walk ‘n’ Roll for Healthy Kids
Etobicoke General – September 19, 2015

New this year, our inaugural Walk ‘n Roll for Healthy Kids is a 5km walk along the Humber River that will raise funds for children’s services Etobicoke General.

All funds raised at these events will be generously matched as part of our $15M Matching Challenge. It’s an extra incentive to get out and get involved – we hope to see you there!

Celebrating our seniors by providing much more than outstanding care

Every June we celebrate Seniors’ Month at Osler. It’s a small way of honouring those who have contributed so much to our history and community. With lives rich in experience and insight, our eldest patients are precious reminders of years past.

This year’s theme: “It’s Never Too Late!” speaks to the vitality of the seniors’ population and provides a positive outlook on aging. As our seniors live longer, they continue to show us how to age well and go beyond the limits we often attribute to age.

As one of Canada’s largest community hospitals, Osler is in the enviable and challenging position of keeping pace with the health care needs of one of the fastest growing areas in the country. By 2021, the population of seniors aged 65 to 74 years old in our region is expected to grow by 64 per cent and we are committed to ensuring that our programs and services meet the changing needs of this group.

We are proud of the strides we have made to improve the care we provide and the experience seniors and their families have at our hospitals. Osler’s Seniors’ Program has achieved a lot in a short period of time – recently reaching Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) Exemplar status at Brampton Civic and expanding the NICHE program to Etobicoke General in May! Exemplar status is the highest of four possible program levels attainable, and this accomplishment highlights our ongoing commitment to providing exceptional geriatric services and high-quality programs for older adults.

To honour our seniors throughout the month of June, a variety of events have been planned at Osler to help us learn more about the unique needs of our senior population, our community partners, and our dedicated seniors’ services and programs.

Again this year, Osler has collaborated with Osler Foundation to host the third annual Community Seniors’ Fair – an event that helps raise awareness of community resources that are available for seniors’, their families and caregivers in Peel Region. Funds raised at this year’s event will be used to transform a third room in the Brampton Civic emergency department (ED) into a more senior-friendly space, with features such as non-slip floors, grab bars, and raised toilets.

Each year, this event becomes more popular, which speaks to the growing importance our community places in seniors’ resources. The fair is being held on Sunday June 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Brampton Soccer Centre. I hope you will join us and spread the word about it with those who you think would benefit from attending.

How to use technology to help patients from home

Imagine living with a chronic disease that required you to make frequent visits to the hospital or your family doctor. Now, imagine if your health care team could monitor your health at home. While it may sound futuristic, this is a reality for many Osler patients through our Telemedicine programs.

I love the power of technology and how it can be used to improve our lives and the lives of the patients we serve. I also believe that the delivery of sustainable health care depends on using technology in new and different ways.

In April, I received the Champions of Telemedicine Award from Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN). It was humbling to be recognized for supporting the advancement of quality, patient-centred care through technology but much of the credit goes to Osler’s incredible Telemedicine team. These men and women are the true champions who provide patient-inspired health care every single day.

The use of innovative technology has been growing steadily at Osler and across the province. When we launched the Telehomecare Program at Osler two years ago we were one of three regions, and the only community hospital, that were early adopters of this technology. Telehomecare is growing quickly and is now available in seven regions across Ontario.

More than 1,200 patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Heart Failure have enrolled in the Telehomecare Program delivered by Osler and that number is growing every week. We’ve seen how Telehomecare is making a huge difference in the lives of patients and their families. At Osler, there has been a 76 per cent reduction in hospital admissions and 71 per cent fewer visits to the emergency departments (ED) for patients participating in the Telehomecare Program.

In addition to Telehomecare, we operate a nurse-led Geriatric Telemedicine Program that enables Osler geriatricians to better connect with patients and their health team at long-term care facilities through video-conferencing technology. This program has recently been rolled out to three LTC facilities and we are working to expand this service across the Central West region.

We’re proud to share our success stories and were recently featured in a special supplement on Telemedicine in the Globe and Mail. Haniff Bacchus, a Telehomecare patient living with COPD, shares his experience in the program and how it empowered him to take control of his health. I encourage you to check it out!

Community Engagement, Three Ways

At Osler, we’re always looking for new ways to engage with the communities we serve. Over the next four weeks, we’re inviting people living in the communities we serve to connect with us during three exciting events.

Telephone Town Hall
Monday, May 25, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

We are hosting our fifth Telephone Town Hall together with our partners.

Events like this help local residents, like you, better understand what each organization does and how we work together to provide health care services in the community. It also gives you a chance to ask questions and offer feedback about your experiences with the health care system in our region.

I invite you to help shape the future of health care in our region by joining the call. We will reach out to thousands of randomly selected households across the region and invite them to join the conversation. Anyone can participate – including staff, physicians and volunteers – simply email your name and phone number to teletownhall@williamoslerhs.ca by May 25 at 4:00 p.m. to register.

We look forward to speaking with you!

Osler Outpatient App Launch with celebrity guest Amber Mac
Tuesday, May 26 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Brampton Civic Atrium

It’s ‘appening again! Osler is launching a new Android app that is set to help patients take charge of their health from hospital to home with their phone.

Celebrate with us as we launch this new app, Osler Outpatient, which was designed and built by Engage, the group of students from the University of Toronto who won our second national student app contest. Give our newest app a try and learn more about how it will help patients and families at Osler.

We’re kicking this launch into high gear as we welcome Amber Mac, tech expert and co-host of BNN’s App Central, as MC and keynote speaker.

It promises to be an exciting event and I look forward to seeing you there!

Osler Annual General Meeting
Monday, June 22, Etobicoke General

Mark your calendars for Osler’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). It’s our chance to celebrate another extraordinary year, recognize some exciting redevelopment and partnership milestones, and hear from dignitaries and special guests about the exciting future for health care in our community. Events on the day will begin at 3 p.m. at Etobicoke General Hospital.

The AGM will be followed by a reception where the entire Osler community can take time to reflect on past achievements and look forward to an exciting future!