Cutting the ribbon at Peel Memorial

We’ve celebrated a number of milestones at Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness but we recently reached our most momentous one yet. From ground breaking to topping off, substantial completion to last week’s ribbon cutting, we’re thrilled to finally reach the end of our redevelopment journey.

Osler was proud to welcome Premier Kathleen Wynne, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa – along with local MPPs, donors and community partners – to celebrate the grand opening of the new Peel Memorial last Wednesday. Following remarks that took us on a journey through the hospital’s long and storied history, our honoured guests gathered in front of the bright and colourful windows in the atrium to officially “cut the ribbon” and open the new outpatient hospital.

To echo many of our speakers, the new Peel Memorial is greatly needed in the community. Our patient volumes are steadily increasing and we recently saw a remarkable 789 combined visits in the emergency departments and Urgent Care Centre (UCC) in  . While the UCC opened a few months ago, we’re already seeing patient daily patient volumes that exceed our targets.

Peel Memorial will work seamlessly with Osler’s two other hospital sites – Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General – so patients can easily move between the three facilities and quickly receive access to care for non-life-threatening illnesses.

Our unique approach to care at Peel Memorial focuses on the treatment of patients who don’t require an overnight stay in hospital and offers an extensive list of specialty and day clinics, as well as health services and programs, needed most in the community. This includes supporting the unique needs of seniors, children, people requiring mental health services and individuals living with chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma.

We are thrilled to celebrate the official grand opening of Peel Memorial, which we know will serve our community well.

Welcoming spring with a record-breaking Holi Gala

Now that warmer weather is here, it’s safe to say that springtime is in full bloom. But two weeks ago when we had our final blast of winter, Osler Foundation welcomed spring a little early, and in colourful fashion, with their fourth annual Holi Gala, presented by Interstate Freight Systems (IFS).

Traditionally, Holi is known as the “festival of colours” in India that marks the arrival of spring and end of winter. At Osler, it’s an opportunity to celebrate and connect with the incredibly diverse community that we serve in Brampton.

This vibrant night brings together the best in traditional and contemporary Indian culture through food, dance and entertainment making it one of my favourite events to attend. More than 850 guests attended the sold out event as well as several dignitaries including Patrick Brown, Ontario’s Leader of the Official Opposition; Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton; and other MPP’s and City Councillors.

The timing of the event coincided with the latest tour for the Sun Life Financial Osler Global Health Team, where a clinical team from Osler was on the ground working and providing care with health care partners in Punjab, India and Karachi, Pakistan. Osler emergency physician Dr. Gurjit Bajwa, who was part of a previous tour, spoke to the crowd about how these partnerships benefit patients from our two very different, yet deeply connected continents. Learn more about the current team’s experience in their daily blog.

By the end of the night, Holi Gala raised a record breaking $400,000 to support vital programs and services at Etobicoke General Hospital, Brampton Civic Hospital and the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness! Congratulations and thank you to our dedicated Co-Chairs, Dr. Vandana Ahluwalia and Dr. Gurjit Bajwa, the volunteer committee, and the many enthusiastic staff, physicians and sponsors for their support of patient-centred health care delivered in our community and beyond.

In case you missed it, check out the photo gallery from the event!

New year, new goals

It might seem a little strange to talk about starting a new year in April but for organizations like Osler, this is when we kick off a brand new fiscal year. We mark this occasion by releasing two important documents that will help guide the work we do for the year ahead – our Annual Business Plan (ABP) and Quality Improvement Plan (QIP).

While we value the continuing work we do in collaboration with our regional partners, this year, we’ve transitioned back to an “Osler only” strategic agenda in our ABP that will focus on four key areas – quality, patient experience, operational excellence and improving access – while building on the successful work we completed as a result of last year’s plan.

In earlier blogs, we highlighted the record patient volumes we’ve experienced over the past year. We expect this trend of higher volumes and more complex patients to become the new normal as our local patient population continues to grow and age. Adopting an Osler-focused approach will help us effectively navigate this increasingly complex and changing environment while targeting our focus on key areas where we can make improvements.

In the midst of these pressures, we’ve had a momentous year marked by some considerable achievements. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We opened the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness and started construction on the new four-storey patient tower and Ancillary Services Building at Etobicoke General Hospital.
  • We received a record seven leading practice designations from Accreditation Canada, which showcased our commitment to quality and patient safety.
  • We launched the MyChartTM online patient portal to give patients easy, secure access to their health information from Osler so they can make more informed choices about their care.
  • We introduced a new Code Stroke protocol that allows clinicians to rapidly assess a suspected stroke at the onset of symptoms and provide treatment for patients in our emergency department (ED), and on our inpatient units.
  • We returned to India as part of our Global Health Program where a clinical team from Osler worked with a number of health care and hospital partners to deliver on-the-ground care, participate in teaching opportunities and learn from providers in Punjab.
  • We were named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2017, the fifth straight year we’ve received this honour!

While our ABP this year is Osler-focused, we were pleased to develop a joint QIP with our partners at the Central West Community Care Access Centre and Headwaters Health Care Centre for the third straight year. Our QIP builds on previous quality improvement activities and introduces new ones that will help us continue to deliver safe, effective care that meets our patients’ needs and expectations across the region. Here’s a look at some of the progress we’ve made this year:

  • By working collaboratively to meet the unique needs of patients who no longer need hospital care, we were able to achieve the lowest Alternate Level of Care (ALC) in Ontario for the second year in a row.
  • The five Health Links in the Central West region were successful in completing the most coordinated care plans in Ontario for complex and vulnerable patients.

These achievements are just the tip of the iceberg at Osler. As I reflect on all of the amazing work our teams are doing on the front lines and behind the scenes to serve patients in the community, it makes me incredibly proud. While we have a lot of work ahead of us to manage and excel amid growing patient volumes, I have no doubt that we will be able to share more great news when we release our next ABP and QIP a year from now.

Busting the biggest nutrition myths

Is eating eggs bad for my cholesterol? Do avocados make me gain weight? Is eating smaller meals throughout the day healthier than having three square meals? These are some of food-based questions many of us wrestle with every day.

During Nutrition Month, the focus on healthy living can become even more intense. This month not only reminds us of the essential role Osler’s dietitians have in keeping patients healthy, it gives us an opportunity to tap into this skilled team to clarify myths, misconceptions and downright untruths about food.

We want to eat healthy but with so much conflicting information out there, knowing how to give your body what it needs is no easy task. And with health-related information coming in from so many different directions, it can be difficult to decode good nutrition from bad.

Our dietitians always like to have a little fun during Nutrition Month, and this year they’ve debunked some of the biggest nutrition myths to give you a better idea of how to best feed your body. Our monthly Live Well with Osler focuses on five common nutrition myths and we’ve also created some fun videos that can help you make smarter choices next time you visit the grocery store.

Nutrition Myths Debunked: The Avocado

Avocados are one of most popular superfoods in the grocery store today. But is it really the Clark Kent of fruits?

Nutrition Myths Debunked: Cholesterol and Eggs

We know that eggs pack a healthy protein punch but some older studies link them to high dietary cholesterol. Is this information all it’s cracked up to be?

Nutrition Myths Debunked: Pure Fruit Juice

Many of us look at pure fruit juice as an easy way to get our required five to 10 servings a day. But do hidden sugars derail our good intentions?

With the opening of the new Peel Memorial, Osler is committed to focusing on health, wellness and the prevention of illness. Education is a big part of Peel Memorial’s programming and we will work with patients to help prevent health issues, manage chronic disease and live a healthier, active life.

Are there any more food myths that have you puzzled? Let us know in the comments!

Your health care options for March Break

It’s hard to believe that it’s already March Break. We’ve had a roller coaster of a year so far as we’ve continued to experience significant patient volumes throughout our sites. This steady pace has me thinking about taking some time to relax and recharge my batteries.

Even though we all try to do our best to stay healthy, especially when there is a vacation or school break coming up, it doesn’t always work out that way. But Osler has you covered.

If you’re staying close to home this March Break and do need to visit us, you now have another option in addition to the emergency departments at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General. Peel Memorial’s new Urgent Care Centre (UCC) is here to help when it’s not an emergency, but it can’t wait. Some examples of non-life threatening illnesses or injuries that can be treated at the UCC include:

  • Sprains and broken bones
  • Cuts that might need stitches
  • Allergic reactions, skin rashes
  • Asthma attacks
  • Minor burns
  • Fevers, coughs and colds
  • Infections
  • Nose and throat complaints

If you find yourself in an emergency health situation where you have severe chest pain, stroke symptoms or you are uncertain, always CALL 9-1-1 or go to your nearest emergency department.

For those lucky enough to be travelling, our Live Well with Osler series has a helpful list of the five things you should think about before travelling that can keep you safe and healthy during your trip.

Another way is to get vaccinated against the flu. Believe it or not, flu season ends in April and the best way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated. While it’s a personal choice to get a flu vaccine, there are still many ways for you to get one. Make an appointment to see your family doctor or visit your pharmacist at a participating pharmacy while you’re stocking your first aid kit.

I wish you all a safe and healthy break. Have fun!

Taking cardiac health to “heart”

February is a time when we think about matters of the heart, including heart health. Unofficially dubbed “Heart Month” by the Heart and Stroke Foundation it serves as a reminder that heart disease remains a real risk for Canadians, including many people living in the Central West region.

Between October and December 2016, Osler had the highest local volume of heart attacks requiring angioplasty for a single health care centre in Ontario. We preform around 2,000 Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (commonly known as coronary angioplasty) procedures in our cardiac catheterization lab each year, a significant increase from the 1,200 procedures we performed just three years ago.

These numbers are staggering but not altogether surprising. There are a number of reasons we’re seeing more heart attacks in our region. Osler serves a large South Asian community, which has a higher rate of heart disease and a greater risk of early death compared to the average Canadian.

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors for heart attack. According to our partners at the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), our region has the third highest rate of diabetes in Ontario and the number of residents attending local diabetes education programs has increased.

To support the growing number of patients that depend on our cardiac programs and services, cardiac care is a major focus for Osler. Over the past five years we’ve steadily increased the number of programs and services for cardiac patients, such as introducing a 24-7 Code STEMI Program. As we continue to execute 2016-19 Clinical Priorities Plan, we’re continuing to enhance cardiac services by:

  • Opening key cardiac services at Peel Memorial including diagnostics, the Cardiac Health and Risk Management (CHARM), cardiac rehabilitation and heart function clinics.
  • Using Telemedicine to connect patients to an interdisciplinary team that will support self-management of their care and symptoms.
  • Partnering with the City of Brampton to deliver cardiac rehabilitation, ensuring patients receive care in the most appropriate setting.

These enhancements are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to supporting cardiac care at Osler. We’re also participating in ground-breaking research that uses non-invasive therapy to minimize the damage caused by STEMI heart attacks when the patient is en route to hospital. This partnered study is the global-first and could ultimately result in this innovative technique being adopted by health care professionals across Canada and around the world.

Plus, our Live Well with Osler series takes cardiac care to heart this month by offering tips for leading a healthy life after a heart attack. These six heart-friendly tips can help patients lead a happier, healthier life after a cardiac event.

Osler’s incredible staff, physicians and volunteers that support Osler’s comprehensive Cardiac Program are truly putting patients at the “heart” of cardiac care.

Osler’s award-winning approach to high-quality patient care

It’s only the second full week of February and we already have a lot to celebrate! On January 31, at the Central West Local Health Integration Network’s inaugural Quality Awards, the spotlight was on Osler as we were recognized for excellence in our work to deliver exemplary care to the patients we serve.

The awards celebrate transformative initiatives that positively impact patient care and Osler received one of two 2017 Quality Awards for Physician Initial Assessment and Emergency Department Length of Stay in the Etobicoke General Hospital emergency department (ED). Lead by Dr. Sameer D’Souza and Helen Romas, this work has helped transform the ED at EGH into a top-performing ED in the Province.

We also received an honourable mention for the PoET (Prevention of Error-Based Transfers) Project, led by Dr. Paula Chidwick and Dr. Jill Oliver from Osler’s Ethics team. Designed to reduce error-based transfers between long-term care to hospital, PoET aligns the culture of decision-making with the wishes, values and beliefs of patients ultimately resulting in improved quality of care.

Congratulations to these teams on their well-deserved honours! This work is a testament to our commitment to innovative care delivered with compassion as Osler continues to be recognized as a quality organization that embraces innovative and effective approaches to providing safe, quality patient care.

In fact, we recently received word from Accreditation Canada that Osler has been awarded with two additional leading practice designations, which brings our total to SEVEN – a new record for us!

  • The Power of Diversity Change Champions for Safe, Equitable and Quality Health Care
  • Cleanliness and Fluorescent Marker Audit Practice

A leading practice is a national recognition that must meet at least two distinctions: we do something that no one else in the country does and we do something unique or better than anyone else in the country. The fact that we were recognized seven times is nothing short of remarkable.

As we move forward with our back to basics strategy around the consistent delivery of safe, quality care in the year ahead I’m confident that we will continue to shine.