Can eye movements help doctors predict Alzheimer’s?
The Hotel Dieu Hospital Research Institute kicks off a series of public information events on April 8 with a session about exciting neuroscience research that is exploring how simple tasks such as eye movement can predict whether a child is autistic or whether an adult will develop Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
"Seeing & Reaching: How simple behavioural tasks teach us about the brain in health and disease" is a free session slated for 6:30-8:30 pm, Tuesday, April 8 at the Central branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library.
Presentations and demonstrations will be made by Drs. Doug Munoz, James Reynolds and Stephen Scott, all researchers with the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University and with the new Neurosciences Clinical Testing Lab now under construction at Hotel Dieu Hospital.
The three researchers and their colleagues use non-invasive methods and equipment that they have created to understand whether the brain is healthy, diseased or injured. Their work demonstrates that it is now becoming possible to predict brain disorders even before symptoms develop, and also to identify brain injury when it is not apparent.
In their presentation on April 8, the researchers will explain—and also have some equipment on hand to demonstrate—how they are utilizing sophisticated eye movement trackers and robotic technology to analyze patients performing simple behavioural tasks involving seeing and reaching.
The results can provide diagnostic information for a wide range of brain diseases including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, bipolar disorder, and brain injuries such as concussions and strokes.
Early diagnosis of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, even before presentation of symptoms, will change life outcomes, particularly for the young, say the researchers. Those with any type of brain disease or injury will benefit from the earlier intervention resulting from the emerging type of analysis developed by these neuroscience researchers.
For more details about the Research Institute session on April 8, please contact Shari Glustein, HDH Research Institute, 613-544-3400, ext. 2115. To learn more about the Hotel Dieu Hospital Research Institute click here.
Staff lottery paying great dividends for patient care
It’s a lottery where everyone wins. Just ask Brianna Bradley or Dr. Russell Hollins, front-line clinical staff who are seeing firsthand how proceeds from the popular Staff Lottery—celebrating its first anniversary in April—is making a difference in patient care.
Employed as a cardiovascular technologist at Hotel Dieu, Brianna slices off $5 from every pay and contributes it to the Staff Lottery for a chance to win $1000 bi-weekly. For her, buying into the lottery—run by the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation as a fundraiser for Hotel Dieu, Kingston General Hospital and Providence Care—is about more than trying to beat the odds to win a prize cheque.
“Of course, it would be great if I win, but the lottery is really good for patients and the hospital,” says Brianna, one of the first to sign up when the game of chance was launched one year ago.
“I’ve seen lottery proceeds support my own cardiology department by purchasing a much-needed blood pressure monitoring system. Originally we had just one of these systems and now have several. That’s a big help because our patients come from across Southeastern Ontario and sometimes they can take more than a day to return the unit to the hospital.”
The new blood pressure system is worn by patients for a 24-hour period and automatically records blood pressure readings every 30 minutes. It provides better reports and particularly supports certain patients such as those who show signs of white coat syndrome (whose blood pressure tends to elevate when they are in a clinic setting). And, unlike its predecessor, the new system provides four cuff sizes including one for children and youth.
In the Ear, Nose and Throat department, lottery funds have been used to purchase a small, flexible, fibre-optic telescope that resembles something out of a spy movie.
“It’s a really interesting piece of technology, but it’s also essential to providing the best patient care possible,” says Dr. Russell Hollins, Head of the Department of Otolaryngology at Queen’s University, Hotel Dieu and Kingston General Hospital.
“The telescope helps us to examine the upper airway, and using the latest technology we can improve our ability to quickly and accurately assess irregularities in these small, sensitive regions of the body.”
Using fibre-optics, the nifty ENT telescope can produce a detailed image of areas inside the upper airway in real-time, all while bending and curving around the patient’s unique airway structure, reducing discomfort. This gives ENT specialists the ability to do everything more effectively, from examining tonsils ahead of removal to searching for signs of cancer. The new scope is helping to make a difference through better imaging, improved ergonomics for clinicians and increased comfort for patients in need of ear, nose and throat care.
Funds raised through the increasingly popular Staff Lottery are split among the three local hospitals based on the number of participants at each. At Hotel Dieu, the money has been used to meet urgent equipment needs, says Elizabeth Bardon, chief of public relations and community engagement.
“When something breaks or needs to be replaced in a timely way, we’re able to expedite purchases thanks to the lottery funds,” she says.
“In some instances, we’ve been able to turn around approvals for replacement equipment within a day because we had funds available. That means we reduce the delay in getting the equipment so we can continue to do our good work with patients.”
Staff at Kingston’s hospitals can join the lottery—and continue to support better outcomes for the people of southeastern Ontario—by visiting the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation website.
Leadership Breakfast features thought leader on managing change
Hotel Dieu Hospital’s next fundraising Leadership Breakfast, scheduled for Thursday, May 15, 2014, will feature Dr. J. P. Pawliw-Fry, a thought leader on the subject of leadership, performance and managing change.
An expert in emotional intelligence, he is one of the world’s most sought-after speakers on the subject as well as one of the highest rated lecturers at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management Executive Education Program. Dr. Pawliw-Fry will be speaking about Redefining Leadership. This leadership event takes place from 6:30-9 am on May 15 at the Residence Inn by Marriott, Kingston Water’s Edge, 7 Earl St., Kingston. Tickets at $110, with an early-bird rate of $100 until April 1, are available from the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation or by calling 613-549-5452 ext 5916.
Spinning their wheels to fight childhood obesity
Congratulations to the Hotel Dieu Hospital team that participated in the annual Good Life Fitness Spin4Kids event in early March. Eight strong-legged staff members took turns cycling for 8 hours on March 1, raising funds to support programs that help get kids active and prevent obesity. The funds raised will stay here in the community through local organizations.
Led by Mike McDonald, the team consisted of Elizabeth Bardon, Janine Schweitzer, Eugene Littlejohn, Rachel Sheldon, Vicki Demorest, Janna Dolphin and Marianne McLure. Each had to raise a minimum of $125 toward the team goal. The team total raised close to $2000.
“It was a way for those of us who work in health care to support programs that help kids get out and get active so they maximize their health,” says Elizabeth. “And it was great to do it through being active ourselves. We’re all regular cyclists/spin class members so it was a way to have fun for a good cause. All of us feel very strongly about the importance of being physically active to promote personal health and wellbeing so it was a good fit!”
Do you have a relative with type 1 diabetes?
The TrialNet Type 1 Diabetes Research Group is screening relatives of people with Type 1 diabetes to find out if these family members are at risk for developing diabetes. Eligible participants can book an appointment now for screening at Hotel Dieu Hospital on April 30.
Who can participate?
- First-degree relatives (siblings, parents, children) of people with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 1 – 45 OR
- Second-degree relatives (aunts/uncles, cousins, nieces/nephews, grandchildren) of people with type 1 diabetes between the ages of 1– 20.
Screening involves a simple blood test. There is no cost for the test and no special preparation is necessary.
Where and when do I go?
The screening takes place at the Children’s Outpatient Centre, Hotel Dieu Hospital, 166 Brock St., Kingston ON from 4 to 7:30 pm, Wednesday April 30, 2014.
NOTE: You must book an appointment for screening by contacting:
Lesley Eisel – Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator
416-813-7654 ext. 201798
Farah Sultan - Clinical Research Coordinator
416-813-7654 ext. 202634
You can also call toll-free: 1-866-699-1899.
Know how to make a good trade? Have we got a deal for you!
On April 1, volunteers with the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation’s Generation Next group are launching a first-ever local fundraising initiative called Bigger or Better, a six-week trading extravaganza that wraps up with a super auction on May 31 with proceeds supporting mental health programs across Kingston’s hospitals.
Participants in this exciting initiative start with a special pen and have six weeks to trade it (as many times as possible) for something Bigger or Better. Trade item A for item B, then B for something Bigger or Better to make item C. And so on. At the end of six weeks, the items are donated for a special fundraising auction that will take place May 31 at the Biggest and Best Party!
The group behind this nifty event is Generation Next, a volunteer committee fueled by the energetic participation of young professionals, entrepreneurs and philanthropists from the Kingston area. Its goal is to increase the culture of philanthropy within the next generation of Kingstonians, while raising funds and awareness for our three Kingston hospitals.
Join us for the competition kick-off on April 1 at the Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel. Trading starts April 7, trading ends May 23 and the Biggest and Best Party is slated for May 31.
Click here for more information, rules and registration form. Or contact Shaun Cerisano at UHKF, 613-549-5452, ext. 5902.
Big learning curve is OK with Patient Experience Advisor
When Michelle Miatello stepped into her role as a Patient Experience Advisor she was happy to tackle a big learning curve because she knew it was for a cause close to her heart: creating excellent patient-centred care.
“During my first six months in the role I spent a lot of time learning about Hotel Dieu, poking around in many departments and talking to staff to understand the various needs of the hospital’s diverse patients,” she says.
“It was a huge learning curve but also a fascinating one. I’ve always lived in Kingston and I’ve had countless visits to Hotel Dieu as both a patient and family member with my husband, children, siblings and parents. When I learned about the Patient Experience Advisor position, I seized the opportunity to leverage my experience and help make a difference in the lives and experiences of other patients and families.”
A Patient Experience Advisor (PEA) since June 2013, Michelle believes that patients and families add a necessary voice to any health care dialogue.
“Everyone has perspectives and advice that are unique,” she says. “As patients or family members we all see and feel things that should be a part of the conversations about how Hotel Dieu can continue providing safe and transparent health care.”
For her, that voice has taken different forms. For example, she often reviews patient-targeted education and information to make sure it’s clear and logical for readers, and she will soon take part in some hiring interviews, a task that called for training via the Human Resources department to help her get a good grasp on Hotel Dieu’s hiring practices and processes.
And she has been involved with mission-related tasks, most recently as part of a committee charged with reviewing where the hospital’s mission statement and values are displayed and whether additional plaques were needed.
“As the PEA, it was my role to ensure plaques would be highly visible so that patients and families could have a clear understanding and appreciation for the mission and values of Hotel Dieu,” she says. “It was another great opportunity to tour the hallways, chat with patients and staff, and move myself a bit further along that learning curve!”
She applauds Hotel Dieu for introducing the PEA role as part of its Patient and Family-Centred Care program, which she says heralds a “rapid shift in the culture of the hospital.
“It’s becoming an integral part of how the hospital operates. Patient needs are being addressed, and patients and their families are being accepted and welcomed as part of the health care team.
“You can’t always make a trip to a hospital enjoyable but we’re trying our hardest to make it as trouble-free as possible and to make sure patients and their families feel they’re being heard and understood, and that they’re important partners in their healthcare journey.”
Learn more about Patient and Family-Centred Care at Hotel Dieu here.
Hotel Dieu scores prize for poster at Nursing Research Conference
A poster presented by Jennifer O’Neil tied for the top prize of “Best Poster Award” at the 2014 Annual Kingston Nursing Research Conference on March 6 at St. Lawrence College. This poster outlined how Hotel Dieu is currently working towards enhancing the culture of evidence-based practice by implementing five RNAO clinical Best Practice Guidelines.
The 3X5-foot poster packed in loads of information about the structures Hotel Dieu has put in place to support the translation of research knowledge into patient care, communication plans, the accomplishments to date of HDH’s four Best Practice Guideline implementation teams and more.
“We won on the basis of the poster’s visual appeal, organization, relevance and informative nature, as well as on creativity and interest,” says Jennifer O’Neil, Nursing Education Coordinator and Project Manager of the hospital’s Best Practice Spotlight Organization (BPSO) initiative. She applauded Carrie Holden in the Public Relations department for designing the prize-winning poster.
To learn more about our Best Practice Guidelines click here.