Working Together to Create a Healthy Community, Issue #1

Seniors Active Living Centre grand opening attracts crowds

Together, with the Town of Arnprior and the Township of McNab/Braeside, we’re creating a healthy community for active seniors!

On Monday, October 1st, we saw the long-awaited opening of the Seniors Active Living Centre (SALC). Over 250 people turned out for the opening, which involved live music, lots of baked goodies courtesy of the curling club, and definite sense anticipation for the upcoming good times to be had at the SALC.

Over 100 memberships were sold during the first few days the Centre was open, and it’s since had to add another yoga class to its schedule. The SALC is a partnership between ARH, the Town of Arnprior, the Township of McNab/Braeside and the Ontario Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility.

The ribbon was cut by Tom Peckett (left), the mayor of the Township of McNab/Braeside, Eric Hanna, President and CEO of ARH and Frank Dugal, representing the Arnprior Town Council.

 


ARH commended by Cancer Care Ontario

At the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ARH received a congratulatory letter form Cancer Care Ontario in recognition of our outstanding work as an Ontario Breast Screening Program site, for our commitment to reducing the time between screening and diagnosis.
Every year, Cancer Care Ontario sets targets for OBSP to ensure that a high level of quality is achieved. The goal for 2017-2018 was that 90% of women with an abnormal mammogram were diagnosed within seven weeks, a 10% increase over the provincial rate at the time. As part of our delivery of compassionate, quality care, ARH met this target in 2017/2018, and is on track to meet the goal again this year.
“We’ve put a number of measures in place to meet this target,” says Vicki Hallas, Manager of Diagnostic Imaging at ARH. “We’ve partnered with Pembroke Hospital to reduce the wait time for biopsies, we’ve worked with the family physicians to streamline communications and automatically send referrals with the appropriate documentation to the breast biopsy referral centre.”

Flu season is right around the corner


…but our IPAC Coordinator Teri Wellon (who just successfully completed her certification in infection prevention and control) is on the case.

Teri may charm you with her Newfoundland accent (and awesome hair), but you won’t meet anyone as…ahem, passionate…about infection prevention and control as Teri. In honour of National Infection Prevention Week (October 15th to 19th), I sat down with Teri to learn more about IPAC at ARH.

Help me put IPAC at ARH into context. How are we doing in terms of infection rates?

ARH really does an outstanding job, which is reflected in the numbers. We have a very, very low rate (almost non-existent) of hospital-acquired infections. We have a flu vaccination rate among our staff and physicians of 69%, which is an envy of IPAC coordinators everywhere. Our handwashing rates are over 92% for pre-patient contact and 96.5% post-patient contact. During the last flu season, none of our patients acquired the flu in the hospital, and we had no outbreaks at the Grove last year.

As amazing as you are, I know these kind of numbers aren’t a result of your work alone. What are the three most important things that staff are doing to prevent and control infections at ARH?

Of course, the first thing is washing their hands.
Second, reporting patient infections promptly and putting isolation precautions in place as soon as possible. This is critical to prevent the infection from spreading.
Third, good environmental cleaning. Housekeeping understands how critical this is and they’re tremendous at following the specific routines when an infection is reported.
For both nursing and Housekeeping staff, I actually have an audit tool that I use to go through all the steps and requirements for both groups. It’s a great way to make sure nothing is missed, and to help staff learn proper processes and procedures.

You’ve only been here just over two years. What are some other of the things you’ve put in place at ARH?

We’ve started using a diarrhea algorithm (now there are two words you never thought you’d hear together!). If a patient has diarrhea, nurses can use this tool to determine if it might be a case of C. difficile. There’s a medical directive in place so that if a nurse suspects C. diff using this tool, he or she can send a stool sample to the lab without needing an order from a physician. As soon as a sample is taken, isolation precautions are put in place. This really cuts down on how long it takes for a diagnosis and prevents spread as soon as possible, if the results are positive.

And of course I stay up-to-date on the latest best practices and I’m also a member of the Renfrew chapter of IPAC Canada.

As we all know, it’s almost flu season. Is there anything different you’re doing this year?

Last year one of the things we saw happening was that residents of nearby retirement homes were getting tested for flu by community paramedics, which is great, but we weren’t alerted of any positive cases. Also, residents were being taken the local pharmacies to get flu shots. We also had no way of knowing if other facilities were in surge. Essentially, an overall lack of communication between all the community stakeholders.
This year, we’ve started meeting as a group, us, the paramedics, representatives from the retirement homes and from the county and provincial public health units. Public Health is able to provide us with weekly updates on numbers of cases and what’s going on at different facilities in our area. I’m able to work with Public Health to facilitate the transition once they’re cleared to return home.

Any final words to your colleagues who you may be considering letting you stick them with a needle in the near future?

The flu shot helps you to protect your patients, your own family and even yourself. If you choose not to get it, it’s important that you’re making an informed choice. I’m happy to speak to anyone who has questions or concerns.

*And a big congrats to Teri on acquiring her Infection Prevention and Control certification. The internationally recognized CIC® credential is offered by the Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology and is the only board certified exam assuring competency across all practice settings. This certification demonstrates that Teri has a high level of competency in a range of areas across all practice settings…and that as we knew all along, Teri really knows her stuff!


Rural Health Hub completes 211 project

One of the needs expressed through the co-design efforts of the Arnprior & Area Rural Health Hub was for a central listing of all local health and service resources available, for easy use by both patients, community members and providers. All local health services for diabetes and COPD are now listed on 211, thanks to the work of the Arnprior & Area Rural Health Hub.

211 Ontario has actually been around for about 20 years. This provincial service lists (and as a result improves access to) community services. It includes an internet listing with a robust search function and a 24-hr call center with specially trained staff to help callers find the services they need.

Now that all the records are live, we’re now focused on helping get the word out about 211 and its value to those in the community with COPD or diabetes.

The Hub also just released an updated COPD Exercise Guide that lists local classes appropriate for those with breathing, balance, heart. lung or mobility challenges.