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Welcome to the October issue of hdhEnews

Inside this issue:
Preventing tumbles is top safety priority for Hotel Dieu Hospital
Volunteers hit the home stretch of $1 million pledge
On tour with Board members
ASK THE EXPERT: Making contact with your lenses
Café Scientifique: Science on tap—quench your interest
Music and memory: Learning from people with dementia
Kudos for a well workplace

Preventing tumbles is top safety priority for Hotel Dieu Hospital

Nobody wants to take a tumble—it can land you with a head injury, fractures or cuts—which is why Hotel Dieu Hospital is constantly working to diminish that risk in an increasingly busy outpatient setting.

About 1000 patients flow in and out of the hospital daily to attend a slew of clinics and services—cardiology, surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, gastroenterology, radiology and more.

The mix of patients heightens the risk of falls, says Patient Safety Coordinator Jane Warner as she ticks off a few examples: the orthopedic patient on crutches, the elderly patient with poor vision, the cardiology patient with an oxygen tank, the rehab patient in a wheelchair.

While Hotel Dieu has a falls prevention program in place, it’s now testing three new ways of helping people stay on their feet.

One pilot program targets patients coming to the Breast Assessment Program and Brock 1 clinics. Clinic staff assess the patient on things such as a history of falls, walking aids, gait and mental status. If the person scores high, then staff can implement strategies to prevent a fall, everything from planning a consult with a physiotherapist to evaluating the patient’s medications to situating the patient closer to the nursing station for observation.

In a second pilot, patients are being asked to complete a self-reporting questionnaire when they register for an appointment. If they answer “yes” to any of the 11 questions, then follow-up strategies are provided for discussion with their clinician. For example, if patients acknowledge a need to use their arms to rise from a chair, they can talk about getting a referral to a physiotherapist for strength training.

A third pilot is assessing whether a physical environment is high risk for falls instead of the patient. Centered in the Diagnostic Imaging area, this project calls for a weekly audit in which staff look for anything that could trip up a patient—inadequate lighting, cluttered pathways, equipment that’s not braked properly. Right off the bat, observant staff pinpointed a protective lead apron-on-heels unit—a real risk to unsteady patients—so it was pulled out of commission and another approach implemented immediately.

“Imaging staff are very involved in the pilot walkabouts,” says Jane. “They’re the experts in front-line care and they want to provide their patients with the safest possible care. This pilot is giving us all the opportunity to explore different falls prevention strategies.”

“The Hospital Board, senior leadership and all staff are focused on providing patients with an excellent experience and excellent care at every visit, and patient safety is our first priority. Based on the lessons learned from all three pilot projects, we hope to make changes that will reduce the number of falls in our hospital.”

Volunteers hit the home stretch of $1 million pledge

Volunteers at Hotel Dieu Hospital are closing in on a $1 million pledge to hospital redevelopment after presenting a cheque for $111,000 to hospital representatives and the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation at their 106th annual general meeting today.

The contribution boosts their pledge contribution to the hospital to $750,000.

“It’s exciting to be on the home stretch of our ambitious pledge,” says Mary Smith, president of Volunteer Services to Hotel Dieu Hospital Inc.

“I applaud our volunteers for their time and hard work, and especially for their commitment to Hotel Dieu. We have a mighty band of volunteers who are playing a vital role in supporting the hospital as it works to become a leader in outpatient care, teaching and research.” This year’s donation stems largely from the success of Volunteer retail enterprises such as the Brockview Café and Gift Shop, which earned $100,000 and $30,000 respectively.

In the past year, the Volunteers also donated $17,000 to support various hospital departments and causes, including the Child Development Centre, Child Life, hospital equipment, patient comforts, HDH Invitational Golf Tournament and Partners in Mission Food Bank.

In any given week, active volunteers in the hospital number more than 200; last year’s annual roster extended to more than 320 volunteers. At the AGM, 8 volunteers received service pins for anywhere from 5 to 20 years of service; in total, the group represented 105 years of service to the hospital.

“We extend a very warm thanks to our volunteers for their continuing generous support,” says Hotel Dieu CEO Dr. David Pichora. “They’re at the heart of our hospital, spreading their care and compassion throughout Hotel Dieu every day.”

On tour with Board members

Our volunteer Board of Directors hit the tour trail on October 17, exploring about half a dozen Hotel Dieu programs and services during a three-hour retreat that had them visiting clinical spaces, talking with clinicians and hearing presentations from both front-line staff and hospital leaders.

Splitting into groups, the 17 Board members (including ex-officio directors) toured the hospital’s two Ophthalmology clinics, Operating Rooms and Child Development Centre, with information also provided along the way from three additional programs: Pre-Surgical Screening, Total Joint Replacement and Mental Health. Topics up for discussion included patient education, wait times, changing patient demographics and volumes, physical space challenges and expansion plans, community partnerships, research opportunities and more.

Board members were grateful for the tour, commenting that it was “easier to understand issues when you can visualize an area of the hospital” and that the information helped to highlight “where Hotel Dieu has been, where it is now and where it is going.”

“Our Board members covered a lot of ground over the three hours,” says Elizabeth Bardon, Chief of Public Relations & Community Engagement.

“This kind of tour gives them a close-up look at clinical space when patients have gone for the day, which means they have the time and opportunity to talk with clinicians in their actual working environment. They really benefit from seeing changes and challenges firsthand, and from having a chance to discuss issues in a little more detail with program leaders and caregivers.

“Staying current and informed is important to our Board members, and they welcomed this chance to trade the conference table for a more hands-on approach to the work they do on behalf of our community.”

ASK THE EXPERT: Making contact with your lenses

A new study suggests contact lens wearers would be wise to put some elbow grease into cleaning their lenses.

Published in a recent issue of Optometry and Vision Science, The Journal of the American Academy of Optometry, the study compared three different lens cleaning techniques to rank their effectiveness at removing bacteria, yeast and mold cells:

  • Rub and rinse: a few seconds of rubbing and rinsing before soaking in disinfection solution for several hours
  • Rinse-only: no rubbing step
  • No rub and no rinse: soaking only.
The Australian researchers demonstrated that the “rub and rinse” technique was the most effective disinfecting regimen and should be recommended for all multipurpose lens care solutions and all contact lens types.

When the rubbing step was skipped (as recommended by some manufacturers), the effectiveness of the antifungal activity of the products fell, and none of the solutions met the criteria for antimicrobial action that contact lens disinfections must meet before being sold, the researchers said.

Hotel Dieu Hospital ophthalmologist Dr. Stephanie Baxter concurs that rubbing is an important step because it increases the efficacy of the cleansing solution for removing and inactivating potentially harmful microbial pathogens from soft contact lenses.

“Complications related to contact lens use are one of the top five problems we see in the emergency eye clinic at Hotel Dieu,” she says.

“Bacterial infections are usually caused by poor lens hygiene. Most are preventable if lens wearers practice good lens and hand hygiene.

“That means washing your hands before handling lenses, disposing of disinfecting solution when lenses are removed for wear, air drying storage cases, rubbing contact lenses for at least 10 seconds when cleaning them and disposing of lenses at the appropriate time interval.”

She also stresses the need to use only sterile solution—never tap water—to store or wash contact lenses and cases and to replace storage cases at least every three months to prevent a build-up of contamination.

Café Scientifique: Science on tap—quench your interest

Researchers from Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital are hosting an informal event for the Kingston community to learn more about pre-natal exposure to alcohol and research into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

The event is part of a national event known as a “Café Scientifique,” informal discussions held across Canada to bring together experts with community members in a relaxed atmosphere to talk about their work and the questions it raises. Everyone is welcome to attend the free event from Wednesday, November 2, 7 – 9 pm in the ballroom of the Confederation Place Hotel at 237 Ontario Street.

According to Health Canada, 9 out of very 1,000 babies are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Research suggests that up to 22 per cent of babies born will have been exposed to alcohol.

The panel includes a number of experts, including Dr. James Reynolds, a Queen’s professor and researcher who studies the neurotoxicology of alcohol, as well as the use of eye movement behaviours as a potential new method for assessing brain function in children with FASD.

Dr. Kevin Parker, a researcher and Director of the Psychology Clinic at Queen’s, will speak about the landmark Better Beginnings, Better Futures study, which analyzed the Early Primary school outcomes associated with pre-natal exposure to alcohol and tobacco.

Also speaking is Ms. Donna Clarke-McMullen, a clinical educator in the Mental Health Program at KGH who initiated the Kingston FASD Action Network and has significant experience working with families, health professionals and educators around reproductive and child health issues.

And Dr. Dan Savage, a professor and researcher in the Department of Neurosciences at the University of New Mexico, will talk about his research that explores whether moderate consumption of ethanol by mothers while they are pregnant causes long-term functional consequences in the offspring's brain.

For more information, contact Nanci Corrigan at 613-539-0244 or nanci@channel3communications.ca

Music and memory: Learning from people with dementia

Two prize-winning Queen’s researchers will describe their findings on music and memory at a free public lecture presented by the Museum of Health Care at 7 pm, Nov. 2, Etherington Auditorium. A reception at the Museum of Health Care, 32 George St., will follow.

For eight years, Dr. Lola Cuddy and Dr. Jacalyn Duffin have tested the theory that people with dementia retain musical memories more than others. The two researchers were initially curious about a single patient, but the study grew into a project involving more than 50 people with dementia. As well, more than 100 research controls participated in the project.

Dr. Duffin is a Professor in the Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine at Queen’s University while Dr. Cuddy is a Professor Emeritus of Queen’s Department of Psychology and Director of the Music Cognition Laboratory.

The lecture and reception will also feature performances by The Queen’s Medical Choir. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to test their own skills and “of course, sing along.”

Other Museum of Health Care programs this autumn include A Healthy Dose of Horror with Dr. Greg Baran on Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Museum (32 George St.), and Spare Parts: How Crippled Masculinity Got Hamstringed & Got a Leg-Up, a research fellowship presentation by Jeff Sobil on Nov, 9 at the Louise D. Acton Building (31 George St).

For full details on Museum of Health care programs, visit www.museumofhealthcare.ca

Kudos for a well workplace

Thanks to the its ongoing commitment and support for workplace wellness initiatives, Hotel Dieu Hospital has once again been awarded the Workplace Wellness Gold Award by the KFL&A Health Unit. The hospital was applauded for its success in raising awareness, building skills and developing policy to support employee health, and also congratulated for an “impressive” showing of health-enhancing strategies and activities such as a Workplace Wellness Committee, staff-led running clinic, smoking cessation programs and more. The hospital picked up its award at a special Workplace Wellness Breakfast on October 20.

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