Weathering the surge and staying healthy this holiday season

High patient volumes are the new normal for us and each year we anticipate a 10 per cent increase in activity during the festive season during our annual holiday surge.

Last year, we set a record with 455 patients visiting the emergency department (ED) at Brampton Civic on Boxing Day. This was more than any other hospital in Ontario. Etobicoke General also saw significant volumes that peaked at 242 patient visits to the ED in a single day. By the end of the two week surge period we provided care to nearly 24,000 patients in our EDs, inpatient units and outpatient clinics.

Our amazing teams clearly have their work cut out for them at this time of year and we’re once again working hard to prepare for this annual increase in patient volumes.

What is Osler doing to help manage more patients?

In addition to creating waves in the ED, the surge has a ripple effect that quickly spreads to other parts of the hospital. We’ve put a number of measures in place to help get us ready, including:

  • Working with our partners at Central West CCAC and Headwaters, as well as EMS and Peel Public Health, to plan a united approach to care;
  • Using programs like Hospital to Home (H2H) to provide care in non-acute settings when possible;
  • Flexing our bed capacity to better align with demand and to respond to patient need;
  • Monitoring daily patient volumes and holding “command centre” meetings to strategize around the best way to move patients through the hospital;
  • Communicating with health care providers in the community to encourage the delivery of services without interruption; and,
  • Making sure our teams are staffed up and ready to act when we need them.

At the end of the day, our success during the surge comes down to the incredible teams of people who spend their holidays helping others. Thank you for your support and cooperation as we head into this busier than normal time!

How can patients prepare for the holiday season?

Patients and families also have a part to play in staying healthy over the holidays. A few simple ways include getting vaccinated against the flu to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus and knowing the health care options before coming to the ED to avoid the wait.

We’ve posted important information on Osler’s website, our Facebook page and Twitter feed to help educate patients about their health care options to receive the right care, in the right place this holiday season. This month’s Live Well with Osler topic also provides some helpful tips for how patients can stay healthy and happy during this most wonderful time of the year.

Happy holidays from Osler!

To cap off the year, we decided to have a little fun with our traditional holiday message. We asked teams at each site to take part in a festive Mannequin Challenge, a meme taking the Internet by storm, and boy did they deliver. Take a look – you may see some familiar faces!

This will be my last blog of 2016. On behalf of the entire Osler family, I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!

A night to remember with Colin James and Barenaked Ladies

One of my most exciting moments to date as interim President and CEO took place on November 26, at the Rose Theatre in Brampton. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with people who support the great patient care we deliver at Osler, and this evening was no exception. This was the place to be as Osler Foundation held its annual One Night * Two Stars * Three Hospitals gala benefit concert. Colin James and Barenaked Ladies (BNL) dazzled the crowd with chart-topping favourites that got everyone to their feet!

There were so many memorable moments that night it’s hard to pick a favourite, but for me it was when BNL sang a special song about Brampton. It was funny, touching and really brought home the message that the evening was all about the people in the community we serve.

barenaked-ladies-osler-gala

In addition to the high-energy entertainment, we also celebrated some of Osler Foundation’s biggest champions:

  • Ken Mayhew, President and CEO of Osler Foundation, honoured Lois Rice, a long-time donor, champion and friend of Osler Foundation, and presented her with the key to Peel Memorial.
  • Bob Peacock, President of ALMAG Aluminum, donor, and Chair of the Peel Campaign Committee, became the third recipient of the Osler Foundation Corporate Philanthropy Award.

lois-rice-and-ken-mayhew

To paraphrase a class BNL tune, Osler Foundation called and the community answered.

Osler Foundation challenged the audience to ‘equip a room’ by making on the spot donations at the gala to support the purchase of much needed equipment for Osler hospitals. Every gift, regardless of size, was acknowledged with a white teddy bear and once the challenge was over the auditorium was awash in white. It was truly a sight to see.

This final flurry of donations made the event a record-breaking night that raised a total of $707,000, the most ever for the gala benefit concert! As in years past, proceeds from the event will fund redevelopment projects and the latest generation of medical technology and diagnostic equipment needs across Osler’s three sites.

If you missed the excitement, check out our photo gallery! And a special thank you to everyone who came out to this event to support Osler in its vision to deliver patient-inspired health care without boundaries.

The changing face of the Central West LHIN

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

The Central West region is in the midst of an unprecedented growth spurt. Our partners at the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) have crunched the numbers in their fourth Integrated Health Service Plan. Here are some of the changes we’ve seen over the past few years, and what we can expect in the near future:

  • More than 922,000 people call this area home – that’s seven per cent of Ontario’s population – and this number is expected to grow to almost 1.1 million people by the year 2025.
  • Not only is our population growing, it’s also aging. By 2025 the population of seniors (those aged 65 or more) is expected to increase by an incredible 62 per cent, from 111,000 to 180,000 people.
  • Brampton Civic Hospital had 27 per cent more visits per year than the next busiest site, making it home to the busiest Emergency Department (ED) in Canada.
  • Our region is one of the most geographically and ethnically diverse in the province with 47 per cent being immigrants. Nearly half of these residents speak English as their second language.

These numbers tell us that we need to act now to make sure our local health care system will meet the current and future needs of our growing, aging and diverse community. Osler is taking steps to make this a reality.

We’re now just two months away from opening the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness (Peel Memorial) and many patients will be referred to the outpatient programs and services offered at this new facility. This presents us with an exciting opportunity to redefine the delivery of care with our partners across the system.

As we make the conscious effort to focus on delivering health care where and when patients need it most, primary care providers will play an increasingly important role in the delivery of care in our community. While services at Peel Memorial will open to the public in February, we’ve already started caring for, and treating, a small number of patients in Addictions Counselling, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Counselling and the Eating Disorders Clinic.

What can referring physicians and specialists expect at Peel Memorial? Better local access to some of the high-demand health services that this community needs such as complex care management, hemodialysis, seniors’ rehab and wellness supports. There will also be a strong emphasis on chronic disease management, mental health services, diagnostic services, and urgent care.

We’ll be sending referral packages to primary care physicians across the LHIN this month so they know what to expect at our brand new facility. We’re looking forward to providing care management of complex medical conditions to everyone in our community who needs it.