How Osler is supporting new moms and turning babies into superheroes

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

If you ask a mother what it’s like to have a baby, she will likely tell you that it’s unlike anything she’s ever experienced. It’s a time filled with joy, amazement and anxiety about caring for a brand new life. I remember feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness when I was expecting my own children.

There is so much for expectant moms to think about as they prepare for their journey toward parenthood, which is why we’ve created two videos to help new moms and their families know what to expect when they come to our hospitals.

These helpful online tours of Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General enable families to see our labour and delivery unit as well as be introduced to some of the dedicated members of staff and physicians who work on our units. Get a preview of our services, including:

  • Comfortable suites where mothers will give birth;
  • The postpartum area where they will spend time with their little one before going home; and,
  • Osler’s neonatal intensive care unit where babies who require special care might need to stay.

Osler serves a community with the youngest population and highest birth rate in Ontario. Our Labour and Delivery Program is one of the largest in the Greater Toronto Area, with nearly 7,500 babies being delivered each year. Making sure that our patients and their families have convenient access to the information they need about our hospitals is an important part of the care we provide.

We have also partnered with Peel Public Health to provide new and expectant mothers who plan to have their babies at Osler hospitals, access to a free online education program that helps women and their families prepare for labour, childbirth and caring for a new baby.

At Osler, our smallest patients have the unique opportunity to help save lives as new moms are able to donate their babies’ umbilical cord blood at Brampton Civic for stem cell treatments. Last month, Canadian Blood Services held a special event at Brampton Civic to recognize Osler’s work in serving as a cord blood collection site and celebrate the official implementation of the National Public Cord Blood Bank.

In 2014, Osler began collecting umbilical cord blood that will be available to help treat patients requiring stem cell transplants in Canada and around the world. As one of only five hospitals – and the only community hospital – chosen as a collection site, we’ve collected nearly 1,000 cord blood donations in the last year!

These enhancements to our Labour and Delivery Program are helping Osler provide patient-inspired health care without boundaries.


Summer slowdown at Osler? Not a chance!

Summer is a time when life slows down. The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and we take a little more time to relax and recharge. I even managed to spend some time away with my family. While many of us took advantage of the slower months, things certainly didn’t slow down across the hospital.

Over the last three months more than 109,200 patients came to Osler for emergency treatment, day surgery, diagnostic imaging tests and inpatient care. That amounts to an additional 3,600 patient visits over the same period last year. And as Osler staff continued to provide excellent patient care during a busier than normal summer, we reached a number of amazing milestones.

In case you missed it, here are the Top 5 things that happened at Osler this summer.

  1. Renewal and expansion projects start to take shape. Construction on the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness is now underway! We celebrated this exciting milestone and announced the contract signing by Plenary Health. At Brampton Civic, we took great care to rejuvenate hospital grounds by replacing trees and plants that were damaged during last winter’s ice storm.

    We also continue to make improvements at Etobicoke General with a number of infrastructure projects underway and to work with staff and physicians on preparing for the large scale renovation and expansion at the site. This fall, we will take the next step in the process and short-list construction companies to build the four-storey wing.

  2. Support ramps up for Osler Foundation. Local golfers hit the fairways in support of Osler Foundation’s two annual Osler Open golf tournaments, selling out both events and breaking fundraising records. At the Brampton Invitational, more than $162,000 was raised for Brampton Civic and Peel Memorial while the Etobicoke Invitational raised more than $105,000 for renewal and expansion projects at the hospital. Community support grew with a number of donations including $50,000 from LiUNA Local 506, which showed their support for Peel Memorial during their annual bocce ball tournament.
  3. New partnership focuses on better patient care. Osler, the Central West CCAC, and Headwaters have integrated ‘back-office’ non-clinical support functions to better serve patients and families in our region. This partnership is a first for the province of Ontario and is a step toward our shared vision of a more integrated, patient-centric health care system.
  4. Osler’s smallest patients become super heroes at Brampton Civic. As of July 7, new moms are able to donate their babies’ umbilical cord blood at Brampton Civic for stem cell treatments. Donations will help to build a national public cord blood bank.
  5. Taking health care beyond our community with our new Global Health Program. We announced an exciting new Global Health Program that will open doors for us to learn from, and contribute to, the homelands of the patients that we serve. As we determine the countries or disciplines Osler may focus our efforts, we are enthusiastic about the possibility of making a difference at in our local community and beyond our borders

While not on the list, I can’t forget to mention my participation in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As health care providers, it’s important for us to support the efforts of organizations that contribute to important clinical research so that one day their discoveries may be used to help patients in the communities we serve.

It’s been a great summer and we have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion.” – Albert Schweitzer, Winner, Nobe

From the desk of Joanne Flewwelling, EVP Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive

While Osler has been making headlines with our commitment to organ donation, we’ve also been busy preparing for donations of a different kind. On July 7, Osler took the spirit of giving to new heights as we officially began collecting umbilical cord blood to be banked publically as part of Canada’s national public cord blood bank.

After months of planning, followed by a testing and validation stage, healthy pregnant women over the age of 18 can now choose to donate cord blood at Brampton Civic Hospital.

Osler struck a partnership with Canadian Blood Services last fall to designate Brampton Civic as one of only four hospitals – and the only community hospital in Canada – to serve as a collection site. It is a tremendous privilege to offer this opportunity to expectant parents in the communities we serve.

At any given time there are more than 1,000 Canadian patients in need of unrelated stem cell donors to treat lymphoma, leukemia, or other blood cancers. Only 50 percent are able to find a match and patients from diverse populations have an even greater challenge. Brampton Civic serves a growing, diverse community so collection efforts will be important and will help patients by providing additional opportunities for finding a match, and helping to save more lives.

With one of the largest Labour and Delivery departments in the province that delivers more than 5,000 babies each year, this partnership presents a unique opportunity for Osler to make an impact in the community, across Canada, and around the world.

Our partnership with Canadian Blood Services is just one of the many ways we are reaching beyond our walls to deliver patient-inspired health care without boundaries.

For more information about the partnership and the opportunity to donate cord blood, visit the Canadian Blood Services website.

On the road to redevelopment

The road to success is always under construction. – Lily Tomlin

These days it can seem like Osler is constantly under construction. But, we are making significant improvements to each site that will provide us with the facilities to continue to deliver patient-inspired health care well into the future.

We continue to make steady progress on Peel redevelopment and we will soon recognize another exciting milestone. The close of the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase of the project is imminent, when the three short-listed teams will submit their final bids to design, build, finance and maintain the new Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness.

Since the RFP was released in June, a dedicated team of Osler staff, physicians, volunteers and community members have spent many hours in consultation with each of the three teams to provide important feedback on designs. This is no easy task and for this they deserve a round of applause.

Osler, along with our partners at Infrastructure Ontario, will spend the next several months evaluating proposals from the short-listed teams. Following evaluation, the successful team will be announced and construction is expected to begin shortly after. This is anticipated for Spring 2014.

Over at Etobicoke General, the cafeteria received an exciting makeover during the month of November.

Next time you visit the hospital, be sure to check out our beautiful, modern space and enjoy a sandwich from the new Subway counter in the redesigned seating area. Renovations also took place at the Tim Hortons location to provide more meal options and faster service for people on the go.

cafeteria-ribbon-cuttingPiping and paving projects that have been taking place outside Etobicoke General will wrap up before the holidays. In the New Year we will be turning our focus to early works projects that will help prepare the hospital grounds for the construction of the new four-storey wing.

Last week, we also received word from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that our submission for an additional $10M to continue with infrastructure improvements at the site was approved.  We will begin planning activities for the work earlier in the New Year. Stay tuned for more.

At Brampton Civic, the renovation for the Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Collection lab on the third floor Labour and Delivery unit is underway in order to meet the Canadian Blood Services deadlines for opening the lab.

Fostering bold, new partnerships in health care


A new partnership is unfolding with the potential to benefit patients in our community, across Canada, and around the world.

On Monday, October 7, Osler will be hosting an event to announce a new partnership with Canadian Blood Services. The event will recognize Osler as only one of four hospitals in Canada – and the only community hospital – that will help Canadian Blood Services build a national public cord blood bank.

What this means is that over the coming months, we will be working with Canadian Blood Services on creating a collection site for umbilical cord blood at our Brampton Civic site.

We are pleased to partner with Canadian Blood Services on this important initiative. Currently, patients from diverse populations have a greater challenge finding stem cell matches. Given the fact that Osler serves a growing and diverse community, our collection efforts will be significant – benefitting patients by providing additional opportunities for finding a match, and helping to save more lives.

As one of the largest health care providers in the province, this partnership with Canadian Blood Services can help us make a meaningful difference to patients, the communities we serve and beyond. It is an excellent example of Osler’s mandate to foster bold, new partnerships to create a unified system and speaks to Osler’s vision: Patient-inspired health care without boundaries.

As a son, brother, uncle and parent I think that this is a tremendously important initiative and one that we can be proud to have a role in.

We will continue to share more news about our partnership with Canadian Blood Services and about the significant role we have as a collection site in the months ahead.