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RHA Highlights: March

Members of the Sun Country Regional Health Authority approved a set of nine projects for improved health care during the 2013-14 fiscal year at their regular meeting on March 27.

The new projects include:

  1. Improved care provided to patients with dementia. That will include identifying gaps in care, a process to diagnose early/moderate dementia, and more staff education.
  2. Beginning a plan to encourage healthy weights for children. That will include staff education, modelling good nutrition among adults, and compliance with nutrition policies within the Region.
  3. Improved recognition and treatment for stroke patients. That will include an increase in the number of referrals for patients diagnosed with stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack or mini-stroke) to either the Stroke Prevention Clinic in Regina or a neurologist, staff and family education.
  4. Improve the use of appropriate antibiotics. That will include the standard use of identified antibiotics for all surgeries; standard treatment for pneumonia in hospital and cellulitis for outpatients.
  5. Improved hand hygiene for all health care workers. Success will require that 85 per cent of all staff use appropriate hand hygiene methods in all audits and will stop the work when hand hygiene protocol is not followed.
  6. Injury reduction among staff. Success will be reached if Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) sees a 25 per cent reduction in the injuries related to back and shoulders and a 25 per cent decrease in the amount of time lost due to injuries.
  7. Medication administration in long term care facilities to reduce medication errors to residents by 50 per cent or greater.
  8. Improved safety for clients/residents/patients. The goal will be reached if critical incidents are reduced by 50 per cent and staff members increase their reporting on incidents by 25 per cent.
  9. Improved recruitment and retention of doctors. SCHR wants to improve the retention rate of doctors to 75 per cent, recruit doctors to vacant practices, establish a marketing program at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and increase public understanding of the recruitment process and the roles/responsibilities of all the partners in the process.

All of the 2012-13 improvement projects will be continued as daily work throughout SCHR.

In other business, members of the Health Authority learned that:

-         Recruitment of sufficient staffing in some long term care sites continues to be a challenge, with Gainsborough Health Centre and Moose Mountain Lodge experiencing the most shortages.

-         Some staff positions at Kipling Memorial Health Centre are still unfilled. Both the newly-opened hospital and the clinic are busy.

-         Six long term care sites have received automated external defibrillators for use if someone collapses due to cardiac arrest.

-         Three registered nurses and one licensed practical nurse were hired while three RNs, one public health inspector, and two ambulance staff resigned during the period from Feb. 15 to March 18.   

-         Three doctors who plan to practice in the Region are registered in the College of Physicians and Surgeon’s of Saskatchewan assessment program for May. Six other doctors slated to practice in the Region are involved in various parts of that assessment process.

-         An obstetrics/gynecologist specialist has arrived from Ireland to practice in Estevan. Dr. Idris Yekinni is qualified to practice without first entering the assessment program.

-         SCHR is discussing the extension of medical services to the Arcola area from the same group of doctors from Regina who are providing services to the Kipling area.

-         Seventy per cent of staff in the Region received flu shots last fall. While that’s high compared to most other health regions in the province, it is a 10 per cent drop from last year’s percentage.

-         Immunization rates for the public were up slightly during the last fiscal year over the previous year. 10,096 people received flu shots to the end of March, compared with 10,040 the year before. The temporary hold on vaccine last fall does not appear to have had a sustained impact on the public.

-         About 8.5 per cent more staff took sick leave during 2012-13 than during the previous year.

-         As of Feb. 17, no patients have waited more than six months for surgery in SCHR, however 20 patients have waited more than three months for surgery.

-         The second annual Quality Symposium will be held for staff in April, focusing on patient and family involvement in improvement initiatives.

-         The addition to Redvers Health Centre is now 90 per cent completed, the Radville Marian Health Centre is 57 per cent completed and work is ongoing for the final evaluation step to choose a contractor for the new Kipling integrated facility.

Members of the health authority will attend four sessions of the SCHR Community Leadership Network to meet with elected municipal leaders and members of the public. Those sessions will be held in Bengough April 3, Estevan April 4, Weyburn April 8, and Carlyle April 15.

Posted March 28

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