Seven reasons why you need a flu vaccine

This week’s guest blog is from Joanne Flewwelling, Executive Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive

We can’t deny it any longer. The summer is over and fall is here. Even though I’m breaking out my cold weather wardrobe, I’m keeping one short sleeved shirt in the back of my closet for a specific purpose: getting vaccinated against the flu.

Vaccination is a personal choice. There are many reasons why I choose to get vaccinated and just as many reasons why others may not, but it’s difficult to argue with statistics. Receiving the flu vaccine helps to eliminate 30,000 visits to the emergency department, avoid 1,000 hospitalizations and prevent 300 deaths in Ontario. I encourage you to do your part in supporting a healthy community at work, at home and beyond.

Here are seven more reasons why it’s important for you to get vaccinated against the flu:

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There are many ways for you to get vaccinated against the flu. Visit a public health clinic in your community (Peel Region or City of Toronto), see your pharmacist at participating a pharmacy (like Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall), or make an appointment to see your family doctor.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care also offers plenty of online resources to help you decide to get the flu vaccine.

We all have friends or family members are more at risk of complications from the flu, especially children and seniors. Let’s do our part in keeping our community healthy during flu season by getting vaccinated!

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What Osler’s Mission, Vision and Values Means to Me

Every month, I have the opportunity to meet with frontline staff for an informal chat and a light meal as part of my Lunch with the President series. This gives me a chance to hear what’s on the minds of staff first-hand while they get to ask me about whatever they want – carte blanche.

And no question is off the table. I’ve been asked about everything from my age to my favourite colour and everything in between. I often get a question that really makes me stop and think. At a recent session, one of the attendees asked what was most important to me – Osler’s Mission, Vision or Values.

Choosing which one resonates more than another is like choosing a favourite child – it’s impossible! But it did get me thinking about what each of these core statements means to me.

Mission: Innovative health care delivered with compassion

Osler’s Mission is a constant reminder that while health care is fluid and dynamic, compassionate patient care remains at the heart of everything we do. A key element of our Strategic Plan is to ensure that patients receive the right care, in the right place, from the right provider and, that care is delivered with compassion and empathy. We need to think beyond the traditional models of health care delivery toward innovation, which will play a critical role in changing health care for the better.

We’ve already begun to bring innovation into our programs and services. Our successful Telehomecare Program is helping patients with COPD and Heart Failure take charge of their health using technology while our hybrid endovascular surgery is providing world-class care closer to home. Along with these technological advances, we’re delivering compassionate care through initiatives like our palliative outpatient clinics that support patients as they manage their symptoms and we’re helping new comers to Canada gain access to and an understanding of health care services with settlement counsellors at each site.

And through innovative administrative partnerships with the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Headwaters Health Care Centre (Headwaters), we’ve taken a collaborative approach to planning to better support the delivery of quality, timely health care services across the regional health care system.

Vision: Patient-inspired health care without boundaries

These six words influence everything we do at Osler. Our Vision puts the patient experience front and centre of every care episode and I’m so pleased to see Osler staff, physicians and volunteers take this to heart every day.

As we continue to move toward a system where we see fewer unplanned hospital visits and more scheduled care, our partnerships with the Central West CCAC and Headwaters – as well as health care providers in the community – will become even more important. More seamless access to scheduled health care services throughout the region will help make sure patients receive the right care, in the right place, from the right provider.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the experience of an orthopaedic patient who attended her daughter’s Caribbean wedding by Skype from her hospital bed at Etobicoke General. The teams involved in orchestrating this experience took our promise of “going beyond” to a whole new level in a compassionate and meaningful way for this patient and her family.

Our Global Health team visited India earlier this year to see how we could share knowledge

Our Vision also means looking outside our local health care system. We’ve already begun to seek out new opportunities through our Global Health Program, which is exploring ways we can improve health care abroad as well as in our local community. Our Research Program will also help us to innovate as we uncover new patient-centred models of care that we can establish at Osler.

Values: Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Diversity, Innovation

Osler’s Values are woven into the fabric of our organization and I see the affect they have every single day. Our commitment to providing excellent patient care, respecting the dignity of everyone who touches our organization and being accountable to ourselves, our patients and our community create a positive environment that allows us to thrive. And by embracing diversity, we are able to bring new perspectives to the delivery of health care that help to drive innovation at all levels.

I believe that the combined strength of our Mission, Vision and Values – and the way that they are lived by everyone at Osler – is critical to our success now and in the future. It makes me proud to be part of such an amazing organization