$20 million redevelopment project powers ahead
Hotel Dieu Hospital’s $20 million redevelopment project remains on budget and on schedule as construction crews tackle the task of building an 8-storey elevator tower and stairwell on the south side of the hospital. Less visibly but just as steadily, crews are also making good time in transforming shelled-in space on the fourth floor into examination rooms, registration areas, teaching pods and waiting areas designed for specialized outpatient clinics now and into the future.
After months of demolishing and removing existing roof and floor slabs in the hospital’s Johnson wing, construction crews are now erecting formwork and pouring concrete for a new elevator shaft that will enhance vertical access within the hospital.
With the usual Johnson entrance out of service, patients and visitors are being directed to a temporary entrance just up the street. Inside the hospital, signage directs people as necessary. The hospital’s auditorium remains open during this six-month period.
Further inside the hospital, a maze of stud walls on Jeanne Mance 4 clearly outlines extensive new clinic space—including waiting areas, exam rooms, procedure rooms and nursing stations that promise to be flooded with natural light.
Before dry walling can begin, construction crews have to finalize installation of electrical infrastructure and mechanical systems designed to serve sophisticated technology use in the clinics now and coming down the line.
“All of these systems are designed with an eye to the future,” says Project Coordinator Phil Kent of the Kingston hospitals’ Joint Planning Office.
“As the hospital moves to the next levels of technology in medical equipment and data management, this clinic space will be positioned to ramp up likewise. The same is true of things like mechanical systems, which have been purposely designed to evolve with the highest standards of patient care.”
In early September, the hospital marked a milestone in its project when the Facilities Management Department relocated to newly renovated quarters on Johnson 0, a move geared to consolidating Facilities administration and purpose-built shops (e.g. paint, welding, general maintenance) in one location. A total of 7500 square feet was renovated in this phase of the project. The shops were previously housed in shelled-in space of Jeanne Mance 5. Their move opens the way for construction crews to transform that space into additional clinic suites that will help to accommodate the expected surge of 50,000 outpatient visits per year at Hotel Dieu.
Clinical Services Roadmap deemed a success
In releasing a summary report on the engagement process to gather public input about its Clinical Services Roadmap, the South East Local Health Integration Network (SE LHIN) has declared the process a resounding success.
The engagement process, conducted for an eight-week period in late spring, was designed to give residents across the South East an opportunity to share their opinion and reaction to a series of seven draft clinical services work plans that are intended to improve access to quality care in areas such as cardiac, mental health and addictions, maternal and high-risk newborn, restorative care, hospital-acquired infections, emergency department wait times and surgical services.
The SE LHIN heard from 867 participants who completed a total of 1775 detailed workbooks.
“Each of these participants took the time to learn, understand and comment on work plans that were detailed and complex,” says Paul Huras, CEO of the SE LHIN. “They provided a great deal of quantitative and qualitative feedback that helped our clinical teams to adjust and fine-tune these plans.”
Each hospital in the region is now reviewing the plans so they can provide feedback to the teams and to their respective Boards by early fall.
It is expected the Boards will then make their recommendations in November for the SE LHIN to consider and incorporate by January 2012. Once approved, each of the component plans of the Clinical Services Roadmap will be implemented over the next one to three years.
The Engagement summary report also indicates that:
You can view the full CSR Public Engagement Summary Report by visiting www.southeastlhin.on.ca
- 56% of participants enjoyed completing the workbooks
- 57% agreed that completing a workbook helped them to understand the Clinical Services Roadmap initiative
- 74% said they would consider completing other workbooks in future
- 72% indicated they would now follow the SE LHIN’s work more closely.
Going the distance for cardiac patients
Putting patients first explains why Nurse Practitioner Patti Staples recently went online to check up on a patient with congestive heart failure. In June, Patti sat down in her office and tapped into telemedicine technology to conduct a videoconference visit with a patient who lives a 40-minute drive north of Kingston.
Patti could see her distant patient face to face via computer, listen to her heart sounds through a digital stethoscope and also visualize her jugular venous pressure through a handheld camera operated by a Registered Nurse at the patient’s side. That nurse also provided vitals such as blood pressure and weight.
It was a first for Patti and Hotel Dieu’s Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Clinic, a comprehensive follow-up program for patients with heart failure that has now hooked up with the Ontario Telemedicine Network to provide care to patients from afar.
“This kind of electronic visit takes longer but the technology works well for routine assessment and follow-up,” says Patti.
“Patients skip hours of travel time, which can be stressful for older patients. So far, people have appreciated the option of a videoconference visit. The technology also brings us into closer partnership with family health care teams in the region.”
The CHF Clinic now has over 600 active patients, with 20 new referrals (by physician) each month. In fiscal 2010 – 2011 there were 1,042 clinic visits and 1,930 telephone visits.
While telemedicine follow-ups are just getting underway in the CHF Clinic, Patti believes more are likely on the horizon.
“Telemedicine is another mode of providing care without the patient always needing to be seen within the walls of Hotel Dieu. It benefits patients by providing them with the care they need close to home,” she says.
“Implementing this technology in the CHF Clinic is a good example of how the hospital is putting patients and families first.”
Putting the brakes on cognitive decline
Tango on the dance floor, take up the violin, volunteer at the food bank—your brain will thank you for it, says Dr. Angeles Garcia, an internist-geriatrician and director of the Memory Disorders Clinics at Hotel Dieu Hospital.
She says that staying engaged physically, intellectually and socially is absolutely key to delaying or preventing loss of higher brain activities such as remembering, multi-tasking or paying attention—all mental tasks that fall into the category of cognitive functioning.
“No one is sure why these things work,” says Dr. Garcia, “but we do know that the brain is resourceful and that our neurons—the communicating cells in our brains that die as we age—can regenerate when stimulated by intellectual, social and physical activity. There’s a cascade of brain chemicals that can have a very positive effect.”
Being referred to the Memory Disorders Clinic by your family doctor or specialist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on the downward slope of memory loss, says Dr. Garcia.
Maybe patients would be less anxious if the clinic went by the name Cognition Clinic, she says, because the 14 to 16 patients she evaluates weekly come with everything from full-blown dementia—which can profoundly impair the complex activities of daily living—to mild cognitive impairment and normal cognitive aging.
“Everybody’s worried these days about losing their mind to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Often they’ve seen firsthand what’s happened to family or friends” she says. “But while dementia is very common among older people, it’s not inevitable.”
On the other hand, we all have to face the fact that our cognitive function, like other parts of bodies, slows down with age. We process and learn and react to things more slowly. Gone are the days when we can easily juggle turning a recipe into dinner, helping with homework, answering the phone and listening to the 6 o’clock news—all at once.
Luckily, we can put the brakes on that decline, and the sooner we do it the better we will be, says Dr. Garcia.
She can recount instances where an older patient dramatically restored his cognitive function after taking up the violin and where research subjects demonstrated significant memory improvement at six months and beyond after adopting a moderate but regular exercise routine.
“Play an instrument, study the Galapagos Islands, dance. Better yet, do all those things with other people,” she says. “Keep stimulating your brain by interacting with others and exercising your mind.
“We’ve learned an incredible amount about cognition in just the last 20 years and that’s a great source of great hope.
”Right now, our clinics are involved in several research studies looking at normal and abnormal cognition, including clinical trials for new dementia treatments. And we’re working with family doctors to help them spot dementia in their patients earlier so they can start treatment sooner.
“We may not be able to eliminate cognitive decline but I think we’re on the path to finding ways to change its course over a person’s lifetime.”
Employees put their money on Hotel Dieu
Another year, another generous contribution.
In the second year of an employee fundraising canvass for Hotel Dieu Hospital, co-chairs Marianne McLure, Clarence Willms and their team of canvassers added another $27,000 in new funds to support equipment, education and research at Hotel Dieu.
Total donations from Hotel Dieu staff over the past two years now stand just shy of $160,000.
These donations demonstrate the caring and commitment employees at Hotel Dieu have in securing the best possible future for Hotel Dieu.
In a wrap-up ceremony for the campaign, CEO Dr. David Pichora thanked everyone who donated—some through payroll deduction, some through one-time contributions—and gave a special nod to campaign volunteers, who wholeheartedly “canvassed, collected and counted” during the course of the campaign. He remarked that we all should be proud of this achievement.
The almost 900 employees at Hotel Dieu are eagerly anticipating a major redevelopment project that will include new clinic suites, pulmonary function testing lab, cystoscopy suite, elevator tower, revitalized lobby and re-located facilities management offices and maintenance shops. The redevelopment will allow for at least 50,000 new clinic visits annually.
To find out more about giving opportunities that will invest in the future of Hotel Dieu Hospital, please call the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation at 613-549-5452 or toll-free at 866-549-5452 or visit www.kingstonhospitalsfoundation.ca.
Ask the Expert: To text or not to text? Social media & our kids
To text or not to text? That is the question. How much is too much? When is it all right to text? At the dinner table? During class? After 10 pm? Recent research in the United States reported that 22 per cent of young children (ages 6-9), 60 per cent of tweens (ages 10-14), and 84 per cent of teens (ages 15-18) own a cell phone. Thirty percent of adolescents send more than 100 texts each day.
As students return to school, parents and kids are faced with the challenges of navigating social media and electronic technology, says Dr. Susan Buchanan, a psychologist in the adult mental health program at Hotel Dieu Hospital.
Cell phones or smart phones, PSPs or DSs, tablets, notebooks or laptops—all of these new electronic systems can be used as effective communication tools, productive tools for school work and means of social connection with friends.
Decades of research have shown the importance of social connectedness for children and adolescents in their mental and overall health, says Dr. Buchanan. We know that social media are a source of regular social contact that can buffer against depression and loneliness. And they can keep kids connected with parents when they’re living apart after separation or divorce or when they move away to attend college or university.
Just as with other activities, though, it’s important to set boundaries and to have clear rules on the use of electronics in the home. Dr. Buchanan’s top five recommendations for parents:
- Place a time limit on electronic gaming and computer use. For example, set a maximum of 1 hour per day of electronics including all gaming systems, television and non-academic computer use. I recommend that parents set a consistent rule that homework and other household chores are completed before the electronics are turned on. The old adage, “Work first, play later” applies to technology use as well.
- Keep the computer in a central, visible place. It’s appropriate for parents to know what websites children and youth are visiting.
- Review where your child is going on the internet (e.g., CTRL H gives browsing history).
- Teach your child internet safety (e.g., do not give address, phone number or school name).
- Only text/chat/email with people you have met face-to-face.
Hotel Dieu Hospital launches new toll-free number
Hotel Dieu Hospital has implemented a new toll-free number that is geared to helping long distance patients and families communicate more easily with their caregivers and the hospital.
The toll-free number is 1-855-544-3400; it provides coverage Canada-wide.
Toll-free calls ring into Hotel Dieu’s auto attendant line, connecting callers to bilingual voice messaging that offers the options of directly dialling a hospital extension (if known) or receiving Switchboard assistance.
The toll-free number targets patients and families that must dial long-distance to reach the hospital.
Local patients and families are asked to continue using the local numbers—613-544-3310 (Switchboard) or 613-544-3400 (auto attendant).
A small but mighty band of volunteers
On a typical day you might find one of these special volunteers delivering the hospital’s internal mail or serving up coffee from the Snack Cart. Or he might be behind the scenes, stuffing some of the thousands of pre-surgical packages provided to patients every year.
For Chris, a regular volunteer on the Snack Cart (and a diehard Kingston Frontenacs fan) handing out sugar and cream is a job worth doing well, as is organizing bags of chips and filling water pitchers with ice. “I like walking around the hospital and talking to people,” he says, “and I like working hard.”
Every task—big or small—is important to these volunteers, all individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities whose enthusiasm about lending a hand at Hotel Dieu dovetails with developing their capacity to live, learn and work in a meaningful, productive way.
About 17 individuals with special needs, along with about a dozen support workers from Community Living and Ongwanada, are registered as volunteers at Hotel Dieu. They include people like Chris, always quick with a joke as he works the Snack Cart, or Jeff, who takes pride in sorting and delivering just the right selection of magazines to waiting rooms, or Michelle and Veronica, both pros at cleaning and disinfecting toys in the Ear/Nose/Throat waiting room.
Hotel Dieu understands the importance of giving all people the opportunity to show and have their talents received, says Community Living program facilitator Erin Young.
“The hospital also nourishes and fosters many meaningful relationships for the individuals we support,” she says. “As we move through the cafeteria, mailroom, print shop and clinic areas, not one staff member passes us in the halls without giving a friendly smile.”
Jennifer Sawyer, Coordinator of Volunteer Resources, knows that if a job needs to be done, these volunteers will do it.
“We can count on them for regular and friendly service,” she says. “At the same time, they’re picking up social and work skills. Each one brings a certain talent to the job and each week we see new personal achievements as they successfully complete tasks.
Cheque It Out: Playing with donor dollars
In July, the Child Development Centre at Hotel Dieu Hospital celebrated the grand opening of its Soft Play Therapy Room, newly renovated space where children with physical or developmental impairments can safely move and explore. The area features colourful mats, wall panels and soft play equipment that will help with the assessment/treatment of children’s sensory and motor needs.
The renovation was made possible by a generous donation of $12,605.00 from the Masonic Association of Frontenac District.
More generous giving
The 2011 Tricia Anson Memorial Golf Tournament in June was a huge success, raising $4,100 for the Child Development Centre’s Chances for Children Fund. Thank you Al Murphy and all the volunteers who helped out at this wonderful event. Not only does the tournament raise funds for Chances for Children but it is also keeps alive the memory of the late Tricia Anson, an HDH employee who always had a special place in her heart for the kids of the CDC. Thanks to everyone for supporting Chances for Children!
In June I underwent a shoulder surgery, performed by Dr. David Bardana and his team. I am writing to compliment everyone. I too am a professional (police officer) and know how often hard work, dedication and professionalism go unnoticed.
From the time I arrived to the moment I left Hotel Dieu, I felt as though I were a personal relative of members of the staff. I was treated with care and compassion throughout my visit. I must especially note the pre-operative staff. Your nurses are second to none. They had to deal with my blood pressure dropping prior to surgery. They did this with humour and care.
I genuinely felt they cared about me and my comfort level. Your Operating Room staff were second to none; Dr. Bardana and his team are amazing. Post-operative caregivers also ensured I was comfortable.
I realize this operation was routine and dozens occur each week without any feedback to your wonderful staff. Please let them know the routine they go through hasn’t gone unnoticed! I wish I had the names of everyone but here are a few I can remember: Karen, Suzanne, Sabrina, Dr. Bardana and his OR staff.
I certainly hope that was my last surgery but if I need another, I will ask for everyone who was working the Day Surgery day shift on June 24!
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Time to share the warmth
Starting the week of October 10th, Hotel Dieu Hospital will be accepting winter coats for is 2011 Coat Drive. We are looking for gently used winter coats, especially men’s all-weather coats.
Due to construction in the main lobby area we ask that your kind donations be dropped off just inside the Sydenham Street entrance.
This coat drive has become an important event for those in need, and the central location of the Hospital makes it accessible to all. People have access to a comfortable, dignified area where they can "shop" for their warm outer wear with the help of Volunteers each weekday afternoon from 1-3 pm.
We are now recruiting volunteer staff for the coat room. If interested please contact the Pastoral Care Dept. at 613-544-3400 ext 2231.
Happy trails: Calling it a day after 45 years
After 45 years, Theresa Bonito is calling it a day.
Over four-plus decades at Hotel Dieu Hospital she clocked much of her time in dietary/nutrition services, back in the days when the hospital had inpatients.
From 1966 to 1997, working full time and then later part time, she was kept busy in the kitchen, dish room, diet room and cafeteria.
When the last of the inpatients transferred to Kingston General Hospital in 1997, she jumped to the linen/uniform room, where her daily four-hour shift was dedicated to washing, mending and organizing everything from surgical caps to altar linens to Housekeeping uniforms. Follow the scent of freshly laundered and pressed clothes and you always found Theresa.
On August 31, she did her last load of laundry and emptied the dryer one final time.
Throw her the name of just about any hospital employee over the last three decades and she knows exactly who you’re talking about. Her brain doubles as a filing system.
And she still remembers in detail the special meals served to patients and staff at Christmas or other events. At home, she has a treasure trove of recipes at home from just such feasts, including one for delicious sherbet punch that makes her eyes light up.
“Theresa is a lovely, humble, dedicated employee and it has been a great honour and experience to have worked with her over 30 years,” says Housekeeping Supervisor Sandy Taylor. “We’ll miss her.”
In retirement, Theresa says she’s headed home to relax and, yes, to do some cleaning. Old habits die hard, it seems.