hdhEnews issue: May 24, 2013

Inside this issue:

Regular screening for glaucoma is critical
CHIRPP celebrates 20 years of working for injury prevention
Hotel Dieu introduces automated Switchboard response
Child Development Centre runs home with more than $27,000
Food Blitz hauls in almost 92,000 pounds of non-perishable goods

Regular screening for glaucoma is critical

Dr. SharmaRegular screening for glaucoma is critical to diagnosing glaucoma says a Queen’s University study led by Hotel Dieu ophthalmologist Dr. Sanjay Sharma. Known as the silent thief of vision, glaucoma affects nearly 3 per cent of the population.

Glaucoma is a disease that deteriorates the optic nerve over time and is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The onset of glaucoma is associated with a delay in diagnosing the disease.

A research team based at Hotel Dieu Hospital and led by Sharma, a professor of Ophthalmology and Epidemiology at Queen’s, examined 50 peer-reviewed articles and found support for the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s guidelines regarding screening frequency.

“The real problem with glaucoma is that it begins by affecting the far periphery of vision, so most patients don’t know that they have it until it progresses and begins to destroy their central vision,” says Sharma. “Nearly half of glaucoma cases remain undetected and half of those individuals who are diagnosed have very advanced disease on presentation.”

ophthalmology researchThe frequency of screening is based on risk factors including demographic factors such as family history, ethnicity and advanced age. This study highlights the importance of regular screenings for those over the age of 40. Identifying those at risk for glaucoma could potentially lead to earlier detection and prevent the associated irreversible vision loss.

“The best available data support an ophthalmologist’s examination as the most accurate way to detect glaucoma,” says Sharma. “This is why it is so important that family doctors refer their patients over the age of 40 for screening.”

The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Source: News Centre, Queen’s University


CHIRPP celebrates 20 years of working for injury prevention

On Wednesday, May 29, Hotel Dieu Hospital will join the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP) to help celebrate a 20-year partnership of gathering data geared to reducing injuries in Canada.

Everyone is invited to join the celebration in the hospital’s main lobby from 11 am to 2 pm, when you can chat with CHIRPP researchers, learn more about CHIRPP, enjoy a slice of cake and take home a nifty CHIRPP souvenir.

CHIRPP is a computerized information system that collects and analyzes data on injuries to people (mainly children) who are seen at the emergency rooms from 12 pediatric hospitals and 6 general hospitals across Canada.

When an injured person presents to an emergency room, he/she (or the caregiver accompanying a child) is asked to complete a short questionnaire about the circumstances surrounding the injury, what the person was doing at the time, what actually caused the injury, the factors that contributed to the injury, the time and place the injury occurred, and the age/sex of the patient. Hospital staff provide details on the nature of the injury, body part injured and treatment received. Completed forms are sent to Public Health Agency of Canada for entry into a national database.

The Kingston CHIRPP site—comprised of Hotel Dieu Hospital and Kingston General Hospital—is the largest in Canada and has been operational since 1993. It collects about 19,000 questionnaires per year, says program coordinator Deborah Emerton, who works with medical director Dr. Robert Brison and CHIRPP data management and research staff.

“The data we collect helps to identify trends and patterns in injuries—especially in children—which are used to report on hazards and high-risk situations,” she says. “For example, CHIRPP data has resulted in recommendations and changes around the use of bunkbeds, baby walkers and playground surfaces. Most recently, our data supported the recall of products containing small, powerful magnets that can be swallowed by kids.”

Emerton says CHIRPP site data are vital in contributing to the reduction in the number and severity of injuries in Canada—in both children and adults—which is why we should take those few minutes to fill out the CHIRPP questionnaire if we, unfortunately, injure ourselves and land in the Urgent Care Centre at Hotel Dieu or Emergency Room at KGH.

“We’re pleased to be celebrating 20 years in Kingston because it’s a great opportunity to remind people why it’s important to fill out our questionnaire,” she says. “Your data goes into the national database, which is used to help promote safe environments and behaviours, so your participation is really helping to support injury prevention.”

To learn more about CHIRPP, click here


Hotel Dieu introduces automated Switchboard response

swithchboardA new automated feature on the Hotel Dieu Hospital switchboard is helping to improve efficiency and connecting callers automatically to the services they need.

In late April, the hospital Switchboard switched to a fully bilingual automated response on its main 613-544-3310 number between 7 pm and 7 am weekdays and all weekend.

During these hours, callers now hear an automated greeting saying that Switchboard is closed, i.e., no operator is available. However, they have the option of contacting specific departments that have patient/hospital activity outside of regular hours including the Urgent Care Centre, Extended Post-Anesthetic Care Unit, Weeneebayko Patient Services and Security.

The newly introduced automation does not affect Switchboard during daytime hours, i.e., 7 am to 7 pm, Monday to Friday. The Switchboard will continue to provide Operator assistance during those hours.

The change stems from the fact that, with the transfer of the mental health inpatient program from Hotel Dieu to Kingston General Hospital in June 2011, Hotel Dieu no longer provides patient care 24 hours a day, seven days a week and so no longer requires a similar amount of operator-assisted Switchboard coverage.

“The hospital had already been successfully using an automated attendant number for callers who knew the extension they wanted to reach,” says Larry Erwin, Director of Facilities, “so we were well positioned to make the transition to automating our main Switchboard.

“We just remind callers to avoid trying to access the new system too quickly, and to always indicate their choice of language—English or French—first in order to reach the full menu of options. Then it’s a matter of listening closely to the options available before making a selection.”


Child Development Centre runs home with more than $27,000

CDC cheque donationCongratulations to the Child Development Centre for a spectacular result at its 2013 CDC Run/Walk event.

Over 300 participants took to the streets in May to raise funds for children with special needs, with many entire families participating and obtaining pledges and donations. Four families were extraordinary in their fundraising efforts, raising almost $8900 between them. A group in Sydney, Nova Scotia held their own run/walk on Run day to honour a family member who attends the CDC; along with family members in Ontario, they raised about $2,286. And a Florida-based group collectively raised $2,400.

The 2013 Run/Walk raised double the amount brought in last year. All the funds raised support equipment needs for children living with complex special needs.

You can watch a celebratory wrap-up event and announcement of this year’s grand total, hosted by the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, below.


Food Blitz hauls in almost 92,000 pounds of non-perishable goods

food donation bagThe Partners in Mission Food Bank is stocking its shelves with about 92,000 pounds of non-perishable goods today after another successful Hotel Dieu Hospital Annual Food Blitz on May 15.

Hundreds of canvassers and Food Bank warehouse volunteers were kept hopping during the 28th Annual Food Blitz as they collected, unloaded and sorted foodstuffs during the evening.

While the final tally was short of the Food Bank’s 100,000 pound goal, Food Bank executive director Sandy Singers was pleased with the evening’s outcome.

“We would like to thank the entire Kingston community for their generosity and their continued support of our service,” he says. “And we applaud our volunteers and organizers for continuing to support this Blitz year after year. They never let us down.”

Donations of non-perishable food items can still be dropped off at any local grocery store. Monetary donations can always be made via the Food Bank’s website at www.kingstonfoodbank.net.