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Health & Wellness

County Expanding Paramedic and Seniors’ Services in Elmvale
Midhurst/July 19, 2018
The County of Simcoe is investing in the development of a new facility in the village of Elmvale that will house a Paramedic Services station and the Long Term Care and Seniors’ Services Adult Day Program Centre for the surrounding area.

“With an aging population and rising paramedic call volumes across the region, we continue to make strategic investments which enable us to expand and enhance our services to meet the needs of our residents and communities,” said Warden Gerry Marshall. “This new dual use facility will serve residents in Springwater, Wasaga Beach, Oro-Medonte, Tiny and Tay for years to come and we thank our partners at Springwater Township for working with us on this important venture.”

The County has acquired 191 Queen Street West in Elmvale. The facility will consist of a two bay Paramedic Services station, allowing the County to expand services to the area and address increased call volumes. The County has outgrown its current leased space at the Elmvale Fire Hall, which was originally set up for a single paramedic response unit 12-hours per day and is now being used to house a 24-hour, fully staffed paramedic transport unit. This space no longer meets the operational needs of Paramedic Services and is anticipated to be used by Springwater Fire.

The Adult Day Program Centre will enable the County to expand its current program operating out of leased space at the Manse of St-John’s United Church in Elmvale. The new space will allow for an increase in capacity and reduce the existing waitlists for the program. The County’s Adult Day Program operates in Penetanguishene and Elmvale and provides daytime respite, support, education and activities for families and caregivers. Potential clients for the program are referred through a variety of sources such as Community Care Access Centres, program clientele, physicians, friends and relatives.

Construction of the facility is anticipated to commence in late 2018, and be completed in mid-2019. The estimated cost of constructing the facility is $3.9 million, inclusive of land acquisition and construction. The investment aligns with the County’s Strategic Asset Management Plan to identify cost-efficient projects that align with the County’s long term goals and objectives, including reducing leased/rented spaces in an effort to manage and control long-term costs and provide flexibility to meet service demands.  County of Simcoe is composed of sixteen member municipalities and provides crucial public services to County residents in addition to providing paramedic and social services to the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. Visit our website at simcoe.ca.

  CHIGAMIK Launches Perinatal Mental Health Services for Indigenous Families Across North Simcoe Muskoka
Midland, Ontario – July 19, 2018 – Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre (CSC CHIGAMIK CHC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new Perinatal Mental Health Program serving Indigenous communities in North Simcoe Muskoka. 

In contrast to some mainstream or North American treatment models, the goal of the Indigenous Perinatal Mental Health program is to promote good mental health based on the medicine wheel. The program encompasses the whole person in mind, body and spirit, and focuses on being connected to family, community and nature.

Through the Indigenous Perinatal Mental Health program, expectant mothers and their families will have access to mental, emotional and spiritual support, including a personalized care plan, counselling, health education and navigation to a number of Indigenous resources at Chigamik and externally.

“Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any time and it disrupts life not just for mothers, but for the entire family,” said Jodi Blue, Indigenous Perinatal Mental Health Worker, CSC Chigamik CHC. “I look forward to working with local families to provide the support and resources needed for good emotional health of mom, baby and family.”

Chigamik’s Indigenous Perinatal Mental Health services include: System navigation, Housing support, Baby/parenting supplies, Counselling, Access to a dietitian and healthy food, Traditional Healing and ceremonies, Primary care, Indigenous Doula and Midwifery, Support groups

“The Indigenous Perinatal Mental Health program is so important in our community because we know Indigenous families in remote areas don’t have access to perinatal services that are culturally-relevant to customs and beliefs,” said David Jeffery, Executive Director, CSC CHIGAMIK CHC. “This program will give parents and families across the region access to support when they need it most, which could prevent more serious mental health issues.” The Indigenous Perinatal Mental Health Program is free and available to anyone who self-identifies as First Nation, Métis or Inuit across North Simcoe Muskoka, on or off reserve.

For more information and to book an appointment, please contact Jodi Blue at Chigamik at 705-527-4154 x232. Referrals are not needed.

Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre is a not-for-profit health care service funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, through the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network. It offers bilingual and culturally sensitive care. It encourages persons who identify as First Nations, Francophone, Inuit, Métis or Aboriginal and live in North Simcoe Muskoka to register. For more information please visit www.chigamik.ca.

Scientists develop blood test for early melanoma detection
Researchers in Australia have developed the first blood test for detection of melanoma in its early stages, which may allow for earlier treatment of the disease.

Scientists from Edith Cowan University in Joondalup said the new test could help doctors detect the skin cancer before it spreads through a person's body. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal journal Oncotarget. The blood-based biomarker could "revolutionize the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of melanoma patients, by allowing the implementation of more regular, informative tests at increased sensitivity, with significantly reduced costs, while reducing radiation exposure," the researchers said in a press release.

In trial of 105 people with melanoma and 104 healthy people, the blood test detected early stage melanoma in 79 percent of cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that melanoma is the deadliest kind of skin cancer, with more than 90 percent of cases caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Melanoma often starts with changes to a mole or new growth on the skin, and is detected using a visual scan by a doctor, and biopsies are taken when areas of concern are found.

Usually curable by adequate surgery if detected early, melanoma with a depth of less than three quarters of a millimeter has a five-year survival rate of approximately 95 percent to 99 percent, according to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Surgery.

"Despite advances in diagnostic methods, screening large populations for melanoma remains inefficient due to the time required to screen each individual and due to a plethora of other limitations clinicians face in the current diagnosis of this cancer," the researchers wrote.

The researchers noted that past blood tests to detect melanoma have not been successful. "As blood samples are easily accessible from patients, various types of blood-based biomarkers have already been proposed to be utilized in a blood test for melanoma, but none have yet demonstrated sufficient sensitivity to detect biological changes at the earliest stages of this malignancy," they wrote. The new process involved identifying autoantibodies that a person's body produces in response to the cancer. The researchers examined 1,627 different types of antibodies and found a combination of 10 that best indicated the presence of melanoma in confirmed patients. Other types of skin cancers, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma, aren't detected in the blood test.

The scientists plan to conduct another clinical trial over three years to validate the findings and improve the accuracy rate.

 RVH welcomes new family medicine residents
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) continues its important work of training new family doctors as another group of family medicine resident physicians begin their final two years of training in the health centre’s Family Medicine Teaching Unit (FMTU). The program, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine, recently welcomed 10 new residents, which helps to ease the burden of a shortage of family physicians in the area as many stay and open their own practices in this community once they are finished their residency.

“These residents will have the opportunity to practice medicine with a full caseload of patients while gaining invaluable knowledge as they work alongside RVH’s many skilled physicians,” says Dr. Stu Murdoch, Academic Chief of Family Medicine and Director, Postgraduate Education, University of Toronto, Department of Family & Community Medicine. “It is an extraordinary environment in which to learn to become well-rounded and well-trained family physicians.”

Since the program began in 2009, 62 family medicine residents have trained at RVH, with 33 staying in the area to set up their own practices, provide temporary coverage for area physicians or work in the health centre’s Emergency and Hospitalist departments.

“As a teaching hospital we merge education and healthcare excellence in such a way that we have a significant, positive impact on our community,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “Many physicians who have completed their training at RVH have gone on to establish practices in the area which has helped meet some of the demand for family physicians. As we focus our efforts on increasing the teaching and research opportunities available at RVH, we plan to continue growing, and hopefully keeping, exceptional physicians in this region.”

RVH welcomes Drs. Gustavo Cordova, Azza Eissa, Anzel Hennop, Talha Maqbool, Manish Ranpara, Amanda Sauvé, Shelby Stanojev, Rebecca Stepita, Michael Tomizza, and Justina Westerink.

In addition to welcoming the new residents, RVH also extends congratulations to the residents who graduated from the program this year including Drs. Atiqa Malik, Michael Borchuk, Joshawa Elliott, Sang Eun “Eunice” Kim, Patrick Lavoie, Shafiq Mohamed, Eldon Ng, Nikki Quinn and William Stuart.

“Our program has far exceeded our expectations,” says Dr. Murdoch. “We have seen some exceptional new doctors come through the FMTU’s doors and as faculty, we are so proud to play a part in shaping their careers, passing along our knowledge and skills.  And the residents bring such enthusiasm and passion for their patients and their work - it is contagious and they remind us of why we became physicians.”


Radio for Cardiology radiothon results in heartfelt donation
As Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s (RVH) Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program approaches its 500th angiogram procedure, Bell Media presented a $54,087 donation for the cardiac centre which was the incredible result of its early summer Radio for Cardiology Radiothon.  “KICX 106 and 104.1 The Dock are absolutely thrilled with the results from our 2018 Radiothon. We would specifically like to thank our clients, loyal listeners and community partners who step up for the cause time and time again,” says Mora Austin, general manager of Bell Media in Central Ontario.  “To raise over $54,000 for Radio for Cardiology is something we can all be proud of.  The generosity of the residents of Simcoe County and Muskoka never ceases to amaze us.” 

Austin said they are also thankful to those who were kind enough to share their personal stories of both heartache and triumph during the Radiothon as they are the ones able to communicate the need better than anyone.  RVH opened the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart Program in January 2018 providing angiograms, a test to detect blockages in the heart arteries, to residents from across the region. Until now, North Simcoe Muskoka was the only region in the province without an advanced cardiac centre, meaning 3,600 heart patients travelled to centres outside the region for heart procedures every year.

“Next week, RVH will perform its 500th angiogram which means that 500 area residents have been able to get care closer to their homes,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “It has been through the support of the community and organizations like Bell Media through the Radio for Cardiology campaign that has helped us achieve this significant milestone and we look forward to a continued partnership and support as we introduce angioplasty procedures in the fall.”

The program will give patients access to faster treatment, a shorter hospital stay and less travel time. Not all cardiac services will be available to all patients right away. RVH has always planned for a cautious, phased ramp-up of these complex cardiac services to ensure patients throughout the region receive safe, high quality care. Complex cases will continue to be referred to other cardiac centres and this fall RVH will expand its cardiac services to include angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure that uses a thin flexible tube with a tiny inflatable balloon to open up a clogged heart artery.

The Radio for Cardiology campaign has raised an incredible $858,130 for the RVH Simcoe Muskoka Regional Heart program since it was launched, part of a million dollar pledge to help bring cardiac closer to home.

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