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Highlights of the January Meeting of Sun Country Regional Health Authority

Sun Country Regional Health Authority (SCRHA) reluctantly accepted the resignation of member Alan Arthur at its regular meeting Jan. 28 in Weyburn.

“We thank Alan for 30 years of service to the public on previous health boards and on this health care Authority,” said Regional Health Authority (RHA) Chair Marilyn Charlton. She said the Ministry of Health will soon begin accepting applications for new members to be appointed to each Health Authority in the province.  

In other matters, President and CEO Marga Cugnet reported on the 153 verified critical incidents that happened to residents/patients and clients and were reported in Saskatchewan from April 1, 2014 to Jan. 14, 2015. This is a 3.7 per cent decrease when compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.

In 26 of those cases, the outcome was considered a close call, or “good catch” and no harm was done to patients. In 53 cases, the patient experienced permanent or temporary disability or suffered some harm as a result. In 64 cases, the patient died following the event. Each incident is investigated.

“These incidents are the reason we are changing the health system with Lean,” she said.

Mrs. Charlton said it’s a positive thing to know the problem issues are being identified and corrected in the Region and in the province as a whole.

Mrs. Cugnet said Sun Country Health Region (SCHR) is in good shape for moving the Lean system into local hands, from the current consulting company that has guided the province for the past two years.  There are enough certified coaches in the Region who can take on the leadership roles, she said.

“It’s a little earlier than expected but we can continue with our plan with no interruption.”

SCRHA members also learned:

-          Two new doctors are practicing in the Region. Dr. Constance Ovueni will practice in Estevan and Dr. Mona Ali in Arcola.

-          Two Registered Nurses, five Graduate Nurses and one director were hired in December for the Region.

-          Three of the four hoshins (improvement projects) underway in the Region are on target. The projects to develop leaders, stop the harm, and timely access to a health care team are all progressing as planned.  The project to reduce staff injuries is behind the goal and a new plan to train supervisors to safely use the lift equipment is in place.

-          Due to some staffing challenges at the Redvers Health Centre, the acute wing did not reopen as planned on January 5, 2015, for respite and stable palliative care patients.  Lack of sufficient staffing still remains the issue.

-          The community of Pangman has received its new 4 x4 ambulance.  

-          The Falls Prevention Coordinator will host a Destination Challenge to get long term care residents walking with staff every day. Each facility will choose a destination to walk to, with a themed party at the end. Regular walking improves the health of able residents of long term care facilities.

-          Primary Health Care teams in the Region are seeing improvements in the care they provide to clients. Fifty per cent of patients with four common chronic conditions (diabetes, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive disease, and congestive heart failure) are receiving best practice care. Also, there has been a 50 per cent improvement in the number of patients visiting new and existing primary health care teams, thereby reducing the need for patients to seek primary health care services in emergency departments.

-          Repairs are being made by the contractor to the insulation and ceiling tiles at the Kipling Integrated Health Centre after a breach of the vapour barrier caused leaks in mid-January.

-          The Director of Rural Health Services, West, in SCHR explained changes in the kinds of care expected and received in long term care in the Region in recent years. Leila McClarty told SCRHA members people used to bring their false teeth and a walker when they signed themselves in to an old folks’ home at 65 years of age. Now, they bring a lap top and ipad, a motor scooter, feeding tubes and hip protectors, they are usually older, sicker, and they expect to make some decisions about the kind of care they receive.

“It’s a good change,” she says. “The establishment of resident councils in each facility helps ensure that managers hear what the residents have to say about their care, too,” she says.

To meet the expectations of seniors, their families, and to provide proper care, long term care facilities assess the resident’s needs when they are admitted and every 90 days afterward to make sure the care is appropriate. Data is collected to a national database that allows managers to measure problems, like the number of bed sores, against other facilities and regions in Canada.

“Now we know we are making a difference when we make a change in our policies or procedures,” she says.

Posted Jan. 30. 

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