Welcome to the new Peel Memorial

Just two and half years after breaking ground on the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness, we’ve reached an incredible milestone in our redevelopment journey. Today is the day we can finally say “welcome to the new Peel Memorial.”

This morning we were so proud to officially switch on the lights, roll up the shades and open our doors to welcome patients to this innovative new facility.

You may notice that not all services will be available on day one. We’re taking a phased approach to opening services at Peel Memorial. Our administrative teams were the first to move into the building last fall along with Addictions Counselling, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Counselling and the Eating Disorders Clinic. Today, seven new services are available to patients:

  • Urgent Care Centre (UCC) – A convenient alternative for non-life threatening injuries and illnesses
  • Cardiac Diagnostics – Expertise and equipment to diagnose a wide range of heart conditions
  • Mental Health Services – Central Intake Service and Transitional Aged Youth Services will support a growing need for mental health and addictions services
  • Mental Health & Addictions Rapid Response Clinic – Patients are quickly connected with the services they need to meet their unique needs
  • Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratories – High-tech diagnostic services including radiography, mammography, ultrasound, CT scans, bone mineral density tests, and laboratory services
  • Urgent Medical Clinic – Urgent medical consults for patients that are referred from the UCC at Peel and patients referred from Osler-affiliated family physicians
  • Pharmacy – Support the medication needs of patients receiving care at Peel Memorial

In addition to these services, the cafeteria and Tim Hortons is also open and ready to serve everyone at Peel Memorial.

As we start to welcome patients to our new facility, we are continuing to prepare for the final move-in phase in March and April. With all services open to the public by the end of April, Peel Memorial will be fully open for business.

To celebrate this final milestone, we’re planning a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the spring. More details will be shared closer to the event.

Until then, I’m pleased to say “welcome to the new Peel Memorial.”

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What you need to know about the Urgent Care Centre at Peel Memorial

It’s been quite the journey, but I can’t believe we’re just days away from opening the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness!

More than 3,000 people visited Peel Memorial during our many community tours over the past two months and among the services generating a lot of buzz was the Urgent Care Centre. (If you missed the in-person tours you can still see what our new space looks like by taking a virtual tour.

As we get closer to opening our doors we wanted to answer some of the most common questions we’ve received about the UCC.

What is the UCC?

Care at Peel Memorial’s UCC will be provided by Osler’s emergency-trained physicians and staff. These talented teams will be equipped with high-tech diagnostic imaging and lab services, and are ready to handle most non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Do I need an appointment?

As with Osler’s emergency departments, no referral or appointment is needed to access the UCC’s services.

What are the hours of operation?

The UCC at Peel Memorial will be open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

When should I go to the UCC?

When it’s not an emergency but treatment can’t wait, go to the UCC. Some examples of non-life threatening illnesses or injuries 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 have severe chest pain, stroke symptoms, or you are uncertain of where to go always CALL 9-1-1 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

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We’ve seen unprecedented patient volumes over the holiday season and beyond, which has placed considerable pressure on our emergency departments. The UCC will help to improve patient access to care by providing a convenient option to the ED for non-life threatening conditions.

Starting the conversation about mental health

This week’s guest blogger is Kiki Ferrari, Interim Executive Vice President, Clinical Services

Pull up a chair. Let’s talk.

It’s a simple invitation, but for millions of Canadians living with mental health challenges, it’s one that’s not always easy to accept. January 25 is Bell Let’s Talk Day. This is an excellent opportunity for many of us at Osler to start the conversation about mental health, but we also need to continue the conversation in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Mental health issues touch all of us. Whether we’re living with mental health challenges ourselves, or supporting a colleague or loved one in the best way we can, the growing incidence is real. Here at Osler, the demand for mental health services is one of the fastest growing needs facing our community. In 2015-16, we had more than 65,000 visits to our Adult Mental Health Clinic and over 7,000 Child & Adolescent Mental Health Clinic visits. And in our Mental Health Emergency Services Unit (MHESU), the 1,500 patients we saw last year clearly shows the acute need for urgent mental health support in the community. These numbers have increased substantially over the past four years and we expect this trend to continue.

This shift has made mental health a central focus for our teams. A number of initiatives at Osler are helping us to support patients with these specialized needs:

  • The Geriatric Mental Health Team at Brampton Civic has created a “Silver Surfers” iPad program that introduces patients to cognitive stimulation games, provides social stimulation through Facebook and Skype, and helps create more comfort with technology so they can grocery shop, bank and fill prescriptions online. These skills can be used post-discharge in their daily lives.
  • Our Addiction Services team is working with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to pilot an Integrated Care Pathway for people living with depression and alcoholism, which has had a positive impact on reducing depressive symptoms and improving drinking patterns.
  • Osler received a Leading Practice designation during our most recent Accreditation review for our use of the Osler Suicide Interview Checklist (OSIC), a 25-item suicide risk assessment designed for use by experienced clinicians during initial contact with a patient who may be at risk of suicide.

In addition to starting the conversation about mental health, the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund provides grants to organizations across Canada to improve access to mental health care, supports and services for people living with mental illness.

In fact, Osler has directly benefitted from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund. In 2014, we received a one-time $25,000 grant to our Telephone Advice Psychiatry (TAP) program. TAP provides physicians throughout the region with expert advice and support that helps them better manage non-acute mental health issues of patients as they wait to be seen by a specialist. With this funding, the team was able to promote the program among 500 physicians in the Central West region. Osler Foundation is submitting new grant application for additional funding that will help us support more patients.

Mental health is important for us all. Let’s take a lead in starting the conversation, and let’s keep talking about it.

Roaring into 2017 with record patient volumes

Happy New Year! After spending some quality time with family and friends over the holidays, I’m ready to kick off another exciting year at Osler. I hope you had the opportunity to make some special memories with your loved ones this season, too.

It feels so strange to be typing “2017” but there will be great things happening in the coming year – and it roared in like a lion! We expect to see a higher than normal volume of patients during the holidays and this year was no exception – in fact – it was another record setting year.

In true Osler fashion, the busy festive season started with a Code Gridlock at Brampton Civic Hospital that was lifted just two days before Christmas. The pace hasn’t let up. In fact, there were so many visitors to our emergency departments, we have issued a number of Code Gridlocks at Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General to help us manage the steady stream of patients. Our teams across the organization are mobilized and focused on patient admissions and timely discharges, and on working with our partners to help keep patients moving to where they needed to be in the hospital as quickly as possible.

According to Kiki Ferrari, Osler’s Interim Executive Vice President of Clinical Services, “Our teams are, and continue to be, nothing short of spectacular during this year’s surge and beyond. The past few holiday seasons have shown us just how vital it is to work together to manage high patient volumes, especially when we need to react to demands that seem to change hour to hour.”

A number of factors contributed to the increase in patient volumes, including a surge of flu activity in the community. Many hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area have seen a significant increase in patients coming to the ED with the flu as the season is starting to peak, and Osler is no different. With more than half of flu season left to go it’s even more important to get vaccinated.

By the official end of the two week surge period, we had an unprecedented 25,734 patient visits. When we break it down, this adds up to:

  • 10,146 patients in our emergency departments
  • 2,216 patients admitted for inpatient care
  • 13,432 outpatient and day surgery visits

That averages out to our teams providing care for approximately 1,719 patients per day. These numbers tell an incredible story that begins and ends with the tremendous teamwork and dedication of Osler’s teams throughout this challenging time. While the ED is often the first place we feel the surge, impacts are felt throughout the hospital. Our inpatient, diagnostic imaging, laboratory and support service teams – in collaboration with many others – also worked tirelessly to provide an exceptional experience for patients during this busy time.

High patient volumes are nothing new for us but the way everyone – including staff, physicians and volunteers – rallied in response should be acknowledged and commended.

Thank you for going beyond to provide patient-inspired care without boundaries.

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.

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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.

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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.