By Cecilia Nasmith
Hospital of the future envisioned at OHA conference
Northumberland Hills Hospital board chair Beth Selby gave a report at the October board meeting on last month's Ontario Hospitals Association conference, which she attended with hospital president and chief executive officer Linda Davis.
It was also attended by the province's new Minister of Health Christine Elliott.
“She did comment that the ministry is aware of funding for particular issues, and she did commit that the government is committed to additional long-term-care beds,” Selby said.
She also reported on the address by Dr. Rueben Devlin, another advisor to Premier Doug Ford, who shared six priorities – acute care, long-term care, home and community care, primary care, mental health and addiction, and digital health and innovation.
He invited members of the audience to imagine hospitals and health care 20 years into the future, and discussed successful virtual-care initiatives at Humber Regional Hospital (where he was the chief executive officer) that might be a template. It involves more technology in patient care – remote monitoring of symptoms, for example – that resulted in fewer staff and lower costs for the hospital and better outcomes for the patients.
“We can see this as a focus going forward,” Selby predicted.
“This government is looking to see how technology and information systems can support care in a different way.”
NHH hopes for ALC SOS
Budget and resource pressures on Northumberland Hills Hospital from alternative-level-of-care patients continue locally as they do at so many Ontario hospitals.
At the October board meeting, president and chief executive officer Linda Davis reported on the situation.
The Oct. 3 announcement of 6,000 new long-term-care beds throughout the province could help the situation – though it is not known yet what the announcement means specifically to NHH.
ALC is the shorthand term for alternative level of care. An ALC patient is one who has recovered from whatever acute health issue that put him or her into the hospital, but cannot be discharged because he or she is not yet well enough to be discharged to live independently at home. In many cases, a long-term-care bed on an interim basis could allow the hospital to free up the ALC bed for someone else who may need it.
This becomes a stronger consideration as the flu season approaches and the potential for surge situations increases, Davis pointed out.
NHH praises PACE success
Northumberland Hills Hospital chief of staff Dr. Mukesh Bhargava came in for kudos at the October board meeting for the 2018-2019 P.A.C.E. season.
“It's a tremendous opportunity for the community to be educated around practical issues,” president and chief executive officer Linda Davis said of the Personalized Assessment and Change Education series.
The initiative was launched by Dr. Bhargava three years ago, when he realized many of the patients in his internal-medicine practice were asking for information on integrative medicine – the integration of conventional and alternative healing practices. The hand-outs he provided and websites he recommended didn't always address the matter to his patients' satisfaction.
Free public education sessions were the result, and the attendance has been growing regularly. He has now broadened his planning for the series to include wider issues of health and wellness. He has been joined by NHH, the Northumberland Family Health Team, the Community Health Centres of Northumberland and Loyalist College in the project.
In Davis's monthly report, she shared Bhargava's four founding principles for the PACE series – a free program with no honorarium for the presenters, no sponsorships (in order to avoid bias), no solicitation at the events, and the understanding that the talks are meant to be conversation starters and not a forum for individualized medical advice.
The participation of the Loyalist Interactive Media Development – Film and Television Productions program means the sessions are recorded, with the students hoping to make them available online via local feed or podcast.
Each one-hour session includes a 30-minute talk, a 20-minute question-and-answer session, and a 10-minute summary by the moderator.
The new season kicked off at NHH Sept. 19, with Dr. Bhargava leading a session called Integrative Wellness and the Use of Technology (Apps, Phones, Monitors) for Better Health.
The Oct. 18 session will feature registered dietitian Adam Hudson of the Community Health Centre discussing What To Consider When Preparing Food For Those Dealing With An Illness. This one will take place at the Port Hope Community Health Centre at 99 Toronto Rd., and registration is now open.
The sessions are scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month, September through June. A listing of the programs for the entire season can be found at www.pacetalks.com.
NHH board hears good news on fundraising front
The October Northumberland Hills Hospital board meeting closed with success stories from both the auxiliary and the foundation.
Representing the auxiliary, Marg Hilborn said that the recent Blitz and Bling event at their Petticoat Lane thrift store had drawn shoppers from as far away as Niagara Falls, all of whom were delighted with the treasures the volunteers arranged for the occasion.
“The team at Petticoat Lane have a fabulous eye for what to hold back,” Hilborn said.
A new look for the auxiliary volunteers may be in the works, she added. The maroon tabards they wear when working around the hospital to enhance patient care don't look great on their male volunteers, she said, and they can be pretty hot.
They are considering some kind of an adjustable apron with a change of colour scheme – based, of course, on the hospital's colour palette.
Tyler Hathway represented the foundation in recapping their busy season – summer, when there seems to be an endless stream of special events.
It started with the Equipped To Care golf tournament, which is in its third year. This event brought in $26,000. Wine and Ale In The Park raised $20,000.
Northumberland's Biggest Coffee Morning has become one of their more successful events, Hathway said. It seems to be growing in popularity and participants and, this year, brought in $35,000.
A new event was a project of the foundation's Youth Cares committee. The Colour Run they organized in Port Hope raised $4,700 – not bad for a first year, Hathway said.
“All the feedback we've had is that it was a great event, with lots of families and kids and a lot of participation from hospital staff.”
Bike Up Northumberland is a fundraiser run jointly by the foundation and the Campbellford Memorial Hospital Foundation, with proceeds split between them. Though final figures are not yet in, Hathway expects it will account for $!5,000.
A new fundraiser is also a tribute to long-time community philanthropist Bill Patchett. A beautiful garden has been established in his honour, and people are lining up to buy tiles in it.
Hathway completed his report with an accounting from figures that were available half-way through the foundation's fiscal year on Aug. 31. They had planned to raise $2.408-million and are about halfway there with $1.3-million.