Health & Wellness
GBGH continues clinic in best interest of patients
February 5, 2018 – Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) will continue to operate its Nurse Practitioner (NP) Clinic to care for patients in need of a family physician. Based on recent discussions with the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and their full support, a decision has been made to continue this clinic after 15 years in operation.
When GBGH opened the NP Clinic in 2002, it was intended to provide temporary care and help clients transition to a permanent family physician in the community. Fortunately for patients, our area has welcomed many new physicians in the past several years, enabling many patients to transition to a permanent primary care provider.
Through GBGH’s discussions with the LHIN, it was agreed there are still important benefits to keeping the clinic operating.
“The NP Clinic provides several benefits to both patients and the hospital,” says Lisa Ladouceur (pictured here), NP, GBGH NP Clinic. “It reduces Emergency department (ED) visits because patients have consistent monitoring of their health, enabling more serious issues to be caught before an ED visit is needed. It also improves timely discharges as physicians who would be hesitant to discharge patients from the hospital knowing they don’t have a family physician to provide follow-up care, now know the NP Clinic is available to provide this care, reducing their chance of re-admission to the hospital.”
As the clinic continues, Ladouceur will work with patients and the community to transition patients to family physicians, freeing up space for new patients in the NP Clinic. Having the NP Clinic is also appealing to physicians considering establishing a practice in this community because there is an identified pool of patients in need of a family doctor.
“The clinic serves an important function in this community and we’re so pleased to continue offering it to patients,” says Gail Hunt, president and CEO, GBGH. “Lisa’s dedication and passion for her patients, as well as her hard work and commitment to improving the health of our community were significant factors in the LHIN’s support of GBGH to continue the service.”
GBGH Emergency department construction update
February 28, 2018 – The Emergency department (ED) at Georgian Bay General Hospital is feeling the effects of the latest phase of construction. This final phase, which began in December 2017, has caused the closure of the main waiting room, the See & Treat area and the ED administration areas. Measures such as a temporary waiting room and smaller See & Treat area have been set-up elsewhere in the department, but the space is far from normal conditions.
“This final phase has been the most challenging to date,” says Lorraine Harker, ED manager, GBGH. “We have encroached on even more space in order to proceed with construction. Now we’ve lost most of our temporary waiting room as well as the main corridor to Emerg from the main entrance. We’ve also had to reduce the number of See & Treat spaces based on what the temporary space permits. This means we can accommodate fewer patients and has resulted in increased wait times. It’s just unavoidable due to construction.”
The hospital is asking patients for their cooperation and understanding during the remainder of the redevelopment, expected to be complete this spring/early summer. If an illness or injury is not urgent and someone can be treated elsewhere such as a primary care provider or walk-in clinic, the hospital encourages they do so. GBGH also asks patients to be accompanied by only one support person when visiting the ED if possible.
“Our ED team is doing an incredible job coping with the many and ever-changing space challenges we’re seeing,” says Gail Hunt, president and CEO, GBGH. “They are doing the best they can given the circumstances and we understand these are frustrating times for patients too. We appreciate the public’s respectful patience, but please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the team if you are in the ED and feel your needs are not being met.”
Increase in overdoses in Simcoe and Muskoka
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit warns anyone using street drugs to be extremely cautious about their supplies, as hospital emergency department visits due to suspected overdoses have risen and remain higher than recent levels.
Increases have been seen since mid-February, particularly at hospitals in Barrie and Bracebridge. Other communities in our region that have been affected by drug overdoses in recent months have continued to be affected over these past weeks.
The source of the overdoses is not known at this time.
“It’s very difficult to know what types of drugs are being illegally sold on the street, so people who are using any substances recreationally need to take extra care, and to carry naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose,” said Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lisa Simon,.
In Simcoe and Muskoka as in other regions of Ontario, bootleg fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous opioid, is being mixed into many illegally sold street drugs including counterfeit prescription pills. Many people overdosing on fentanyl are unaware that there is fentanyl in their drugs.
Anyone using drugs recreationally should ensure they have someone with them when using, use small quantities to start with, and make a plan and know how to respond to an overdose.
The health unit monitors opioid overdoses through a local surveillance system and issues alerts when significant increases occur.
More information on symptoms and responding to an opioid overdose can be found on the health unit’s website at www.smdhu.org/stopoverdoses.
Anyone who encounters a person who appears to be in an overdose should immediately call 911.
Take-home Naloxone kits and training are available free of charge and without a prescription for people at risk of overdose and their family and friends. Get Naloxone from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (health card not required) by calling 705-721-7520, or visit a participating pharmacy (health card number required for pharmacy pick up).
Student films showcase why mental health matters
Once again, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has partnered with local schools for its annual Film Festival with a theme that hits close to home for today’s youth.
With the opening of RVH’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health program, this year’s Film Festival called for submissions related to mental health well-being and/or the importance of having child and youth mental health services in our region.
This year’s theme was: Making Mental Health Matter: How are you making a difference? RVH received an impressive 17 film submissions from local schools all showcasing why mental health remains an important topic for students and teachers.
Participating schools this year include Ardagh Bluffs Public School, Innisdale Secondary School, Sister Catherine Donnelly Catholic School, Terry Fox Elementary School and Warnica Public School.
“We believe students in the region have a unique and valuable perspective on RVH and some of the services it provides,” says Suzanne Legue, vice president, Strategy, Communications and Stakeholder Relations. “After consulting with our colleagues at the Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, we agreed this would be a great opportunity to engage students, especially since we are using technology they already use and are learning about in school.”
Now in its fifth year, the RVH Film Festival started as a unique way to promote creativity and engagement among staff, physicians and volunteers. In 2017, the health centre opened up the film festival to the schools in the region, inviting them to participate as well. For staff, physicians and volunteers, it’s an inspiring way to hear from the community it serves while also providing a creative opportunity for students to use the media skills
they have learned in school.
All the films submitted by students are available for viewing on RVH’s YouTube channel (RVHBarrieON) or at http://bit.ly/RVHFFSchools. All films will be reviewed by a panel of judges from RVH, Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board. The winning films from each category – Junior (JK – Grade 6) and Senior (Grade 7 and up) - will be announced on March 8.
North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN Enhances Opioid Treatment for People in our Region
In response to the growing need, the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is investing $1.65 million in regional supports to help people impacted by opioid addiction and overdose.
This funding will improve access to addictions treatment care across the region by expanding community treatment and counselling services and creating Rapid Access Addictions Medicine (RAAM) Clinics.
RAAM clinics will form an integrated regional program, which will connect the clinic with different places where clients are most likely to seek care such as emergency departments, primary care providers, and community addictions providers. RAAM clinics will work with clients to develop an ongoing treatment plan and provide immediate short-term treatment. Following this, RAAM clients will be reconnected with their primary care provider, who will be supported by community addictions counsellors.
Interprofessional teams will staff the RAAM clinics in Orillia, Midland, and Barrie. The Couchiching site will provide support to Muskoka, while the North Simcoe site will support South Georgian Bay. The Community Mental Health and Addictions program located at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) will facilitate the NSM regional program.
The NSM LHIN’s investment, part of Ontario’s comprehensive Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose, will also support community addictions counsellors in all five sub-regions through the Canadian Mental Health Association of Simcoe County and Canadian Mental Health Association of Muskoka Parry Sound (CMHA MPS). An Indigenous-Led Opioid Strategy will be developed by CMHA MPS in partnership with the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN Aboriginal Health Circle.
The North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit are jointly leading a multi-sector collaborative effort to create a regional comprehensive opioid strategy inclusive of prevention, harm reduction, treatment and enforcement. The recommended investments were identified through the treatment pillar of the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy and the North Simcoe Muskoka Primary Care Network.
Currently, the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN is working with partner agencies to have programs operationalized by March 31, 2018.
Announced in fall 2016, Ontario’s comprehensive Strategy to Prevent Opioid Addiction and Overdose is ensuring people in pain receive appropriate treatment, increasing access to holistic treatment for those with opioid use disorder, and improving the safety and health of people who use opioids, including access to the life-saving drug naloxone.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is investing $21 million in LHINs to provide enhanced access to addictions treatment, including community-based addictions services.
Over the next three years, Ontario is investing more than $222 million province-wide to combat the opioid crisis in Ontario, including expanding harm reduction services, hiring more front-line staff and improving access to addictions supports across the province.
Naloxone kits are distributed for free across Ontario. Find the location nearest you.
Ontario is establishing an Opioid Emergency Task Force that will include a province-wide representation of front-line workers and people with lived experience to strengthen the province’s coordinated response to the opioid crisis.
The Importance of Gratitude in Healing
There are lots of theories about what promotes healing when we are in pain. It doesn’t seem to matter what the source of the pain might be, whether psychological, physical or even a social dilemma. Time, they say, heals all wounds but no one wants to wait around for time to do its job. We want to be healed and we want it to happen before lunch if possible.
Sometimes, it is the very search for a quicker and easier fix that actually gets in the way of healing. Take the example of our opioid epidemic. So many people who have tried to find a more pain free route to healing have ended up being addicted to the pain killer that was supposed to be the solution. It’s an easy trap to fall into but it’s a trap none the less.
Most addicted to pain killers were prescribed the medication by their doctor and never intended to be in this circumstance but through no fault of their own, they ended up addicted to the cure.
What many will tell you is that the secret to healing, to getting back to normal if you will, isn’t found in a bottle or a tablet. It doesn’t require a physician’s prescription and you don’t have to be on a top tier health plan to be able to afford it. In fact, it doesn’t cost anything at all.
According to Mandeep Sandhu, Managing Director at Freedom from Addiction in Aurora, Ontario, “The magic ingredient is something we’ve all known about but so often overlook – it’s gratitude,” she says, “simply being mindful and thankful for the good things that are happening in our lives and perhaps saying thank you now and then.” Gratitude sets us up in a frame of mind that makes our natural healing process more effective. This doesn’t mean that gratitude alone will win the day, but it is certainly a key component for many.
Gratitude is the staple of many religions as a traditional path to happiness and good health. Meister Eckhart suggests that “The most important prayer in the world is just two words long: Thank you.” Roman orator, Cicero, said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all.” And finally, American philosopher, Eric Hoffer notes, “The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
Being grateful slows down our tendency for self-pity and speeds up our capacity to heal,” reminds Mandeep, “especially when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction or reliance on pain medications.” Whatever the demons we are addressing, a positive attitude and a grateful heart will help us get where we are going. As they say, happiness isn’t having what we want but wanting what we have. So let’s all get in the gratitude groove and heal what ails us. Sanderson Layng Host of “Living Clean Living Well” television on addictions For Mandeep Sandhu – email@example.com
New Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence
Comprehensive Investments Will Support Survivors and Address the Root Causes of Violence. Ontario is building on its commitment to create a province free from domestic and sexual violence by launching a new strategy that will help support survivors and end the cycle of violence. This comprehensive new strategy will help survivors and families get the support they need, when they need it, as well as help to prevent violence by intervening early. The strategy will focus on four key areas:
Improving services and supports for survivors, families and communities. Support services like counselling will be expanded, as well as access to emergency shelters, transitional housing and Indigenous shelters and healing lodges.
Intervening early and effectively to help youth who have seen or experienced violence by providing consistent and flexible supports for children who find themselves in shelters and greatly reducing the waitlist for the Child Witness program.
Changing attitudes and norms through public education, along with training for service providers, communities and bystanders so they can recognize and respond to gender-based violence.
Improving the justice system response by providing free legal advice to survivors of sexual assault. In addition, alternate justice options for survivors of gender-based violence that are trauma-informed and survivor-centred will be explored in partnership with the violence against women sector.
Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-based Violence Strategy is an up to $242-million framework that will build on the government’s work in the Domestic Violence Action Plan, It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking
To help develop the strategy, the province held 15 engagement sessions and heard from more than 200 agencies that help people who have experienced gender-based violence, as well as people with lived experience and Indigenous partners.
Gender-based violence is any form of violence that is based on an individual’s gender, gender expression or gender identity and is intended to control, and harm the individual. Gender-based violence can affect anyone.
The majority of people affected by gender-based violence are women and children. Indigenous women, racialized women, new Canadians, women in rural and northern communities, transgender/gender non-conforming people, persons with disabilities, and sex trade workers are at even higher risk.
The award-winning multi-media public education campaign to prevent sexual violence and harassment titled #WhoWillYouHelp launched as part of It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment in 2015.
Local Paramedic Rallies in Support of Mental Health
Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has received a $6,615 donation from local paramedic, author and mental health advocate Natalie Harris in support of the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health Program.
Mary Webb, Child & Youth Mental Health Program and Adult Crisis Services, Natalie Harris, Eric Dean, RVH Foundation CEO accept proceeds from paramedic, mental health advocate, and author Natalie Harris’s Evening for Mental Health, supporting the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health Program.
The funds were raised through Natalie’s recent event, an Evening for Mental Health. A sold out crowd of close to 300 people enjoyed an evening featuring keynote speakers Sean McCann, formerly of the band Great Big Sea, and Michael Landsberg, Canadian sports journalist and founder of #sicknotweak, who both shared their personal journey with mental health.
The event raised an equal amount for #IVEGOTYOURBACK911, a campaign which brings awareness to Emergency First Responder’s mental health.
“It takes a village to care for those suffering from mental illness. Part of that village includes RVH,” says Harris. “Having the ability to care for young people battling with their mental health here, in Barrie, is so essential for their recovery.”
The Simcoe Muskoka Regional Child and Youth Mental Health Program officially opened on December 19, 2017. The unit features eight inpatient beds, child and youth friendly décor, and a day program so kids can get the help they need and return home each night.
Infection prevention and control lapse at Orillia dental clinic
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – An infection prevention and control investigation by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has identified that patients who have received dental services at the dental clinic located at 18 Wyandotte Street in Orillia under the business name of Joe Philip and Associates between January 1, 2012 and December 18, 2017 may have been exposed to improperly cleaned and sterilized instruments. Following a risk assessment, SMDHU has determined that the risk is very low in this situation. To date, we have received no reports of any patients becoming infected as a result of this situation. However, improper cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of dental instruments can spread infectious diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) to patients.
As a precaution, SMDHU recommends that those who received care at the clinic between January 1, 2012 and December 18, 2017 contact their primary care provider to discuss possible testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, or go to a walk-in or urgent care clinic if they do not have a health care provider.
The health unit is required by provincial legislation and public health standards to investigate infection prevention and control concerns in a number of settings, and can take a number of measures to rectify deficiencies as necessary.
For more information, call 705-721-7520 or 1- 877-721-7520, extension 5828, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or check the health unit website at smdhu.org/ipac.