Hotel Dieu Hospital brings weight loss surgery closer to home

Open house spotlights launch of bariatric surgery program, hospital’s new status as a provincial Bariatric Centre of Excellence

Hotel Dieu Hospital has significantly ramped up its specialized bariatric services, adding a critical surgical component that brings the gold standard of weight loss surgery closer to home for obese patients in our region.  The introduction of bariatric surgery also ramps up the hospital’s status as a provider of bariatric services, making it the province’s seventh Bariatric Centre of Excellence (BCoE). 

Just marking its first month of operation, the new surgical program was in the spotlight at an open house today, when the public was invited to meet the entire bariatric team, tour the bariatric clinic and learn more about its multi-disciplinary expertise. 

One in three patients accessing bariatric services at Hotel Dieu qualifies for weight-loss surgery.  Previously, those patients received pre-surgical assessment, post-surgical follow-up and behavioural counselling in Kingston but they had to travel to Toronto or Ottawa for their procedure.  Expanding the hospital’s bariatric program to include surgery was critical to providing the full continuum of care, says Dr. John Drover, interim medical director of the Kingston BCoE.

“We know that surgical intervention, for some people, is the most effective therapy for treating extreme obesity,” he says.  “The patients achieve substantial weight loss, reduced mortality from diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and a dramatic improvement or even remission in co-morbidities such as diabetes, liver disease, sleep apnea and muscoskeletal pain.”

Surgeries started in mid-September 2016, with two surgeons performing two Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedures weekly.  The anticipated volume for 2016-2017 is 60 surgical cases. 

Roux-en-Y is a procedure in which the surgeon creates a small pouch at the top of the stomach to restrict food intake and then re-routes the small intestine from the stomach to alter the way the body absorbs nutrients and calories.  Patients usually have a short stay of one or two nights.  Selection criteria based on age, weight and co-morbidity mitigate surgical risks; the program is supported by Kingston General Hospital to manage any unexpected surgical complications.

“We’re grateful to the Ontario Bariatric Network, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, South East Local Health Integration Network and our partners at Kingston General Hospital for supporting this expansion,” says Dr. David Pichora, CEO at Hotel Dieu. 

“Credit also lies with a strong, inter-disciplinary bariatric team that was well prepared for the introduction of gastric bypass surgery.  Patients now have a single team and centre providing a continuum of care from pre-assessment through the surgical procedure and postoperatively.  Having that care closer to home translates into an excellent care experience.”

“The South East LHIN was pleased to lend its support to the new bariatric centre of excellence,” says CEO Paul Huras.  “This program will ensure that more patients across the South East LHIN can receive this life-changing surgery closer to home.”

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