Patient and Family Advisory Council

Thank you for your interest in Guelph General Hospital's Patient and Family Advisory Council. It's goal is to improve our patient experience by advising our leadership team on matters that impact the patient and family experience, and patient-centred care.

Patients and family members are a critical part of our healthcare team and are experts in patient and family experience within healthcare. Council members will provide a patient or family member perspective to GGH decision making processes and services at both the program and organizational level.

We are inviting patients and/or family/caregivers, over the age of 18, who have accessed the services here either as an outpatient or as inpatient within the last three years, to apply for consideration to be a volunteer member.

The Council will meet regularly to provide input to hospital staff, management, physicians and the Board on a variety of hospital activities, projects and committees. The Council members will include patients, families, hospital staff and clinicians.

nurse with patient left

If you are interested in volunteering your time on the Council, thank you!

How do I apply?
Who should apply to volunteer with the Patient and Family Advisory Council?
What will the Council do?
What characteristics do I need to join the Council?
What commitment is expected?
What kind of training and support will Advisors get?
What would the Council be advising on?

Who should apply to volunteer with the Patient and Family Advisory Council?

We are looking for individuals who feel things could have been done better when accessing care at GGH for themselves or their family members or have ideas for improvement even if they had a positive experience. We are looking for individuals who want to share their ideas on how we can improve the patient and family experience throughout the organization in all areas.

What will the Council do?

It will partner with staff on a wide range of short to long-term activities from those at the organizational level such as strategic planning to program specific to ensure the patient/family are at the centre of what we do. 

Council members will:

  • Share their stories (both positive and areas for improvement) for the purpose of promoting and enhancing patient-centred care;
  • Work as a team to identify and implement ways of improving the care experience for all patients and families
  • Ensure the patient perspective is reflected in hospital policies and procedures
  • Review patient materials for different programs
  • Collaborate on quality improvement initiatives

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What characteristics do I need to join the Council?

  • Must be 18 or older
  • Have accessed services at GGH within the last three years either as a patient or a primary caregiver/family member to a patient
  • Have the ability to share insights and information about your experiences in ways that others can learn from
  • Possess strong communication skills
  • Be able to work collaboratively with other patients, families and health care providers
  • Be committed to helping bring about meaningful change
  • Have the ability to see beyond your own personal experiences and see the bigger picture
  • Be respectful of others and respect the perspectives of others
  • Have the ability to speak comfortably in a group
  • Have the ability to maintain the privacy of patient and organizational information

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What commitment is expected?

  • Commitment is for a minimum of one year, with a typical commitment of a two-year term
  • Completion of an online (or paper-based) orientation session
  • Ensure all necessary immunizations are up-to-date as per GGH Policy. Our Volunteer Services will help you with this.
  • Attend monthly meetings up to nine times a year, typically advisors volunteer 2-4 hours a month
  • Respond to queries between meetings as appropriate
  • Participate on sub-committees and task groups as necessary
  • Comply with GGH’s policies regarding privacy and confidentiality
  • Selected applicants will attend a short interview and must provide references
  • Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check, including vulnerable sector

What kind of training and support will Advisors get?

Advisors will receive general orientation to the hospital and specific information/training on particular areas and operations as needed.

Specific orientation on the role of a Patient and Family Advisory Council member and expectations of that role e.g. understanding hospital terminology etc.

What would the Council be advising on?

Some examples may include parking, food, signage, waiting rooms, patient feedback, patient education, policies etc. 

How to apply

Applications are available here or at our Information Desk in our main lobby.  For more information, please call 519-837-6440 ext. 2788 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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Paediatric Surgery Video Tour

Welcome to a video tour of our Paediatric Surgery Department

paeds video tour


Should you be unable to hear the video, please click here for the written version. 
Video produced by


General Express November 2017

A half century of caring

When GGH’s Frankie Hammond, RN, began her career as a fresh-faced 21 year old, Canada was celebrating its centennial. The year was 1967 and Frankie was embarking on a career that would span over half a century. Now, with 2017 drawing to a close, Frankie is about to retire from a career she loves.

Cindy Frankie web
Frankie (right) was recently honoured in our Foundation's "Monday Motivators" along with coworker Cindy Good. Together, they have nearly 90 years of experience!

“It’s been like a blink of the eye,” she says, yet looking back it is clear it has been a journey filled with profound changes.

Frankie went to St. Joe’s school of nursing and lived in residence with “wonderful classmates”, house mothers and curfews. Like all her classmates, she did get weekend passes at times. However, if she wasn’t going home to her parents she would have to leave the name, address and number of where she was staying. It wasn’t always strict though. “We held a dance every month and never knew who would show up. They were really fun.”

As was the practice at the time, the students wore uniforms. At St. Joes they had a white bib and apron over a blue dress. The dress and apron had to come to two inches below the knee and they were checked and measured. Shoes were white and “Cuban heeled.” All in all, the outfit was not the most comfortable. “The bibs were starched and cut into your neck. They had wide straps that crossed in the back. There was a collar that was supposed to keep the straps from rubbing but they didn't.”

The iconic white caps were only given out once exams were passed. It was a big deal at which parents attended. Before then, the students were part of the "staff" in the hospital in the mornings in class in the afternoons. At that time the nurses were responsible for terminal cleaning of the beds when someone went home so it was high on Frankie’s list of duties.

The training to become a nurse was much different than today. “We had three-month blocks of training in all areas – Paeds, OB, psych (Homewood). We stayed in residence at Homewood for the three months and at the TB sanatorium at Chedoke in Hamilton for another three.”

“I enjoyed the OR. I started my three months on the Tuesday after Labour Day. In the OR the students would be assigned to the evening shift which meant you were on call for that night. The students would be the scrub nurse and the RN the circulating nurse. I was the first in our group to be on evenings and started on the Friday of that first week. So, I had only three days to learn all the set ups – yikes!”

“I was nervous but found it very exciting and luckily had a good memory for the names of the instruments. My first evening and on call night did not disappoint. I had big and interesting surgeries.”

Not surprisingly, the practice of nursing has greatly changed over the course of her career. “So many things have changed and a lot of our practice then sounds unbelievable now.” For example, they used to keep cataract surgery patients in bed with sand bags to keep their head still for two weeks. “A lot of them developed clots.” Also, in the early days of giving chemotherapy the nurses mixed the potentially toxic drugs in the lounge or lunch room.  “What did we know???”

Throughout her career, new methods were being developed all the time and she was always learning something new. She remembers once being given a little paperback book that was about procedure so new and radical only doctors were allowed to perform it. It was CPR. “I wish I had saved that book.”

Unlike nowadays, much of the equipment back then was reused. Glass syringes, and the needles that attached to them, were cleaned and re-sterilized. The glass plungers of the syringes came out of the barrel and were wrapped separately in green cloths for autoclaving. “Hopefully, you got a set that fit well together. If the plunger was loose it could slide out accidentally after you drew up your medication.”

While nursing has obviously changed a lot since she began she’s grateful her education included so much hands-on activity. “The nurses today are educated far beyond what we were I think. But, we had daily experience in the hospital. So for that first day on the job as an RN - it's what we had been doing for three years.”

After 50 years of providing care, what’s her secret of having such a lengthy career she still enjoys? “I love being around the young, eager nurses. I love their enthusiasm. It has kept me young.”

In some ways it’s hard to believe but at the end of December Frankie will hang up her stethoscope for the last time. “It’s hard giving up something you love to do. I will miss you all.”

Frankie et al web Frankie (fourth from left) at the recent Long Term Service awards along with others being recognized for their years of service to the Hospital.

An advanced way to identify and categorize possible infections now in our lab

If a patient at the Hospital is suspected to have an infection, the traditional way of identifying its cause was to take a sample, send it to the lab, grow it for two or three days then try to identify the microorganism under a microscope. With its latest piece of equipment, the Hospital’s lab is now able to zap a sample with a laser and have the results within minutes.

john explaining advantages web
At a donor-recognition event, John Tarbush, Chief Techologist, Microbiology (left), explains some of the advantages of having the new high-tech machine.

The machine, MALDI-TOF (Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization – time of flight), blasts the sample into a million bits of protein then compares it against a database of protein profiles to make a final identification in just 50 minutes. The quality of the identification is state of the art and results in improved patient care. Before, the Hospital’s microbiology lab used to grow about 50,000 cultures a year to help identify microorganisms causing patient infections. It was an expensive, time-consuming process.

suzanne bone with photo of machines interior web
Foundation CEO, Suzanne Bone, holds up a photo of the interior of the machine to show those in attendance. Once the machine was set up, it couldn't be opened in order to avoid any contamination.

The Hospital was aware of the machine’s benefits even before it was purchased. Last year, the Hospital borrowed the use of a similar machine at the Ontario Veterinary Hospital at the University of Guelph. One of the Hospital’s medical units was experiencing an above normal level of c. Diff infections.

“We were very concerned,” said Dr. Jennifer Caspers, GGH’s Chief of Staff. The patients went into isolation and whether or not to declare an official outbreak was being considered.

Thanks to the generous offer from OVC, samples of the patients’ c. Diff were analyzed using its MALDI-TOF. The results showed the bacteria from each patient weren’t exactly the same which meant the organism wasn’t being spread within the unit. The declaration of an outbreak – along with all its repercussions such as restricted visiting and enhanced cleaning – was avoided.

“Our medical staff and nurses breathed a sigh of relief,” Dr. Caspers said.

The $250,000 purchase of the MALDI-TOF was made possible by generous donors though the Foundation’s Circle of Life collective philanthropy program. “Circle of Life donors were excited by this project - the innovation, the positive impact on our patients, and the efficiency gains for the Hospital,” commented Foundation CEO and Circle of Life member Suzanne Bone.

Introducing our new Diagnostic Imaging Director

Recently, Mike Lindsay joined GGH as our Diagnostic Imaging Director. He brings with him a wealth of experience and since arriving has discovered a department firing on all cylinders.

Mike Lindsay web“I lucked into having a very strong team and I’ve heard from many people that ‘the DI crew is great!’ and I’ve seen it over and over,” Mike says. “Peers from outside the organization are telling me how great Guelph is and they are happy I’m here. In just a few weeks I’ve received several letters or e-mails complimenting my tremendous staff. It makes me very proud of my department but more importantly it makes me very happy in my decision to come to GGH.”

Mike has 30 years as an imaging professional. For 12 years, he was at Trillium Health Centre looking over the Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Urgent Care Centre. Prior to the merger with Credit Valley Hospital he served as the Director of DI at both organizations with the mandate of investigating merger opportunities. Outside of his hospital responsibilities, Mike has spent six years on the board of the Ontario Association of Radiology Managers (OARM). In 2015 he received its the Gold Trillium Award in 2015 for outstanding commitment and dedication.

So far his experience at GGH is been a positive one. “I’ve realized that there are a great many things this organization is doing better than everyone else. The onboarding experience was great, the tools and systems required are readily available and in most cases superior to offerings elsewhere. I’ve noticed there is a palpable pride and genuine friendliness amongst the staff.”

Welcome Mike!

HELP celebrates five years at GGH

At a recent open house, the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) marked five years since it launched at the Hospital.

HELP is an evidence-based, innovative way to improve hospital care for older patients. It is designed to detect, prevent and manage functional decline and delirium in seniors while they are in hospital.

HELP relies heavily on its highly trained volunteers. Activities such as checkers or dominoes, viewing personal photographs or reading the news may seem to have little benefit in the world of health care. However, when paired with qualified volunteers and backed by a well-defined program, these actions can potentially prevent an elderly patient from deteriorating mentally while in hospital.

Happy birthday HELP!

HELP celebration web HELP stats
Corrie Bradfield (left), our Elder Life Specialist while Rebekah Larter is on maternity leave, stands with Lana Black, RN, Geriatric Emergency Management, in front of a display with photos of of just some of our HELP volunteers. Since it was launched in October 2012, HELP has had a significant presence in the Hospital as illustrated in the above chart.

Addiction Counsellors offering a wide variety of services and supports

As part of the Emergency Mental Health and Addiction Services umbrella, the Addictions Counsellors work as a part of the interdisciplinary Urgent Care Services Team. Addictions Counselling services are available to patients of the Guelph General Hospital through the Mental Health Clinicians in the Emergency Department and Short Stay Assessment Unit as well as the Consult Liaison.

Madison is one of the Addictions Counsellors providing support at GGH.

The support Addictions Counsellors can provide includes, but is not limited to:

  • Providing client-centered support to individuals dealing with significant addiction concerns, inclusive of a harm reduction approach (through both 1:1 brief counselling and groups)
  • Providing crisis intervention, de-escalation and conduct ongoing clinical risk assessment
  • Providing individual counselling utilizing evidence-informed practices including (but not limited to) Motivational Interviewing, Stage-Matched Intervention, Trauma-Informed approaches, Brief Solution-focused Therapy, CBT and DBT informed approaches
  • Engaging in collaborative treatment planning to successfully identify problematic behaviours associated with or contributing to the clients substance use and provide support to manage more effectively in the community
  • Collaborate and laisse with external community services to help provide holistic, comprehensive, wrap-around care for the individual
  • Providing support and consultation to Guelph General Hospital staff regarding substance use, withdrawal, harm reduction, risk management and the overall support of individuals who use substances
  • Facilitating groups and programs tailored to individuals who use substance and identify at any stage of change

The overarching goal of the Addiction Counselling support is to provide appropriate, empathetic, non-judgmental and respectful care urgently to individuals identifying any sort of problematic substance use while ultimately helping the client to increase their quality of life and decrease the time spent in crisis and in hospital.

Providing a safe working environment for staff is a top priority

Recently, there have been several recent media reports about workplace violence in healthcare.

President and CEO, Marianne Walker says, “I want to take this opportunity to stress the importance of staff safety and the fact violence should never be tolerated or considered “part of the job”."

Workplace violence in healthcare is both a national, provincial and local issue.

“At our hospital, reducing staff harm as a result of patient actions is one of our strategic priorities. Over the past two years we have made significant investments in keeping our staff safe.”

These investments include:

  • Completion of a third party security audit and implementation of recommendations
  • Increased security staffing throughout the hospital
  • Crisis Intervention (CIT) and Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) skills; CIT training to focus on the skills needed to prevent and de-escalate potentially aggressive patients and GPA providing enhanced approaches to patients with dementia
  • Development of a “flagging policy” as a way to better alert staff of potential risks
  • Established Workplace Violence Awareness and Prevention Committee
  • Critical review of all incidents and an emphasis on shared learnings to prevent further incidents

“The causes of workplace violence are complex and we continue to focus on ways to better understand and prevent patient actions from occurring,” Marianne says. “We still have a way to go, but remain committed to preventing all staff harm at GGH.”

GGH Snapshots (click on photo to enlarge)

social committee packing goodie bags web mock disaster web dawn and mike web
Tis the Season!!!  Preparing for our 6th Annual Breakfast with Santa for employees, and their children and grandchildren!  Social Committee Members Jane Cabral, Wendy Broeckel, Deb de Boer and Fran Hood stuff the goodie bags for each of the children coming to the special event. On Nov. 23, we participated in a table top exercise of our Emergency Measures Incident Management System along with the City of Guelph (GGH IMS team above left). What made this scenario so interesting is that the City planned a different “event” and our “event” became part of their IMS.

The exercise was well planned by GGH and the City staff (above right - GGH's Dawn Miller and her City partner Dave Elloway). It was a realistic fire and evacuation scenario and the session went well with lots of new learnings. Our community partners were very impressed with how well our leadership team managed the different, challenging situations. 

 DDP yoga web Safety Fair 2017 web Privacy Matters
Confidential Conversations


Avoid speaking about confidential information in a public area. If this cannot be avoided, such as the nursing station, speak in a low voice and seek out a private area for any private conversation. Honouring privacy means respecting the patient.

For any privacy questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact Valerie Anderson, Chief Privacy Officer at ext 2273.

One of the events during October's Healthy Workplace Month was a demonstration by of DDP Yoga by our own Dr. Marcel Dore who is a certified instructor. 

According to its web site, DDP yoga combines the very best of yoga, old-school calisthenics, sports rehabilitation therapy and dynamic resistance to create one of the most effective fitness plans in existence today.

"Provide the safest and highest quality care" is one of our four strategic priorities. At the 10th Annual Safety Fair it was clear all departments are taking this priority very seriously.

The Safety Fair celebrates all the great work GGH does to keep its patients and staff safe. Almost 30 exhibits filled the auditorium to feature safety initiatives happening throughout the Hospital.

Foundation logo

67 years of service to the community web  National Philanthropy Day web  mural painting web
At the recent Long Term Service Awards the Foundation was well represented. (l-r) CEO Suzanne Bone, Deb de Boer and Linda Craig represented a total of 67 years experience helping raise money for GGH.

The Foundation office held an open house in celebration of National Philanthropy Day. Close to 100 staff dropped by to help celebrate the generous community members who support exceptional patient care at our Hospital through donations of money, time, product or service.

Thanks to generous donors, a paediatric area was brightened by the talented Guelph artist, Greg Elliott. He has been painting paediatric murals in the hospital since 1976. This time around, he's hoping his artwork will help provide a happy distraction for kids in the paediatric waiting area by PACU.



General Express September 2017

Now, newborns will receive an extra special welcome thanks to a partnership with the Guelph Public Library 

DSC 0200 webThe birth of a baby is already a special time, but it has just gotten even more special at the Hospital. Now, babies born at our Rotary Club of Guelph Family Birthing Unit receive a bundle of goodies neatly tucked inside a handy and reusable, “Born to Read” bag. Inside, parents will find a copy of the storybook, Goodnight Moon, a two-year, no-fines library card, a healthy recipe book and information about the our Foundation’s Footprints for the Future program.

The Hospital and the library have never partnered before but David Levett, Director Maternal/Newborn, Special Care Nursery and Paediatric Services sees it as a natural fit.

“This is truly an exciting partnership,” he says. “Our FBU staff work hard to create great starts for babies and their moms and dads. The Guelph Public Library provides additional support by offering a variety of story times to foster early language development and by creating welcoming spaces for caregivers to enjoy with their children. We all want the same things, a caring community with well-supported families and kids."

The Guelph Public Library’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Kraft, was equally excited.

“Thanks to the generous donation from our Friends of the Guelph Public Library, we are able to support families as they develop a love of learning in their children,” Steven explains. “Our programming and spaces provide opportunities for socialization for the kids and also for parent-to-parent support. Raising children is the toughest job there is and the library wants to be there to help right from the beginning. Partnering the Born to Read program at Guelph General Hospital is such a joy for all of us here.”

One person’s trash is another one’s treasure….

GGH equipment
Some of the donated GGH equipment being loaded into a shipping container destined for Swaziland, South Africa.

When replacing some of our equipment with newer versions, careful thought is put into whether or not there's a chance to help others by donating what's being replaced. This summer, we received a "thank you" from one of the organizations we support in this effort. Here's what it wrote:

From all of us at Christian Blind Mission Canada and the children, families and communities we serve who face the challenge of disability in the brutal context of endemic poverty, thank you for your support. Your generous donation is on route from our warehouse in Ontario to Swaziland located in Southern Africa.

Your gift of the seated scale, medication carts and surgical lights will help nurses and doctors provide medical services to rural communities and help people that couldn’t have afforded without your help.

Thank you Guelph General Hospital for bringing hope and healing to vulnerable communities around the world.

Arrival of new inpatient beds
Jen Schuurman (left) and John Penney were a part of the great GGH team who helped make the arrival of 30 new beds a smooth process.

At GGH, the same effort goes into ensuring the beds we replace are also used for a good cause. Last month, we received 30 new patient beds. The old ones could have ended up in a scrap yard but that's where Hill Rom stepped in. Its "Beds for Humanity" program has its employees recondition and repurpose medical equipment for distribution to hospitals and other health care facilities around the globe where there is urgent need.

For example, in 2015 it donated more than 1,500 pieces of medical equipment, including hospital bed frames, surgical tools and other supplies to organizations in countries such as Mongolia, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guatemala and Ecuador.  

Privacy Matters:

Secure Communication

privacy comic

Faxing is the most secure method to send patient information. Each time you send a fax, you need to verify the fax number and double-check your entry of the fax number. All areas should confirm their pre-programmed fax numbers are still valid, at minimum every six months.

Together we can ensure the patient information is sent to the correct person. Privacy protects everyone. For any privacy questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact Valerie Anderson, Chief Privacy Officer at ext 2273.

b Celebrating the efforts of some of those behind the scenes 

National Healthcare Supply Chain Week (SC Week) is October 1-7, 2017 with the theme: Healthcare Supply Chain: Advancing Exceptional Outcomes. In today’s rapidly shifting healthcare landscape, hospitals and health systems are increasingly challenged to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes, without sacrificing the quality of care. Healthcare supply chain is uniquely positioned to connect various stakeholders across the continuum of care—no other group interacts with every major stakeholder internally and externally. It is this unique role that allows the supply chain professional to identify connections to deliver value in order to reduce costs, deliver efficiencies, and improve the quality of care for patients and communities.

Join Director of Materials Management, Jeff Carter, in thanking and celebrating the many individuals who contribute to the Supply Chain work that we do here at Guelph General Hospital.

Below are just some of our great MM team.
National Healthcare Supply Chain Week web

GGH Snapshots (click on photo to enlarge)

GPA team web Board touring MDRD web who ya gonna call web
Our initiative to train as many frontline staff as possible in the Gentle Persuasive Approaches recently won us an award. Read all about it here. Kicking off September's Board of Directors meeting was a tour of our lab and of the MRDS department (above). Manager Jen Ritchie (right) was happy to be their guide.
breathe right web Canada 150th quilt web
Cardio Respiratory Day, presented by Professional Practice, was recently held in the auditorium. There was a strong turn out including those above who watched a demonstration on intubation by Jane Ryan-Champagne, RT (right). This summer the Hospital got a lot of attention when it learned it was receiving a hand-made quilt to be given to the first baby born on July 1, the 150th birthday of Canada. You can read all about it here. Rumours of a Ghost Buster working in the Hospital were swirling. It turned out to be Mike trying out the new battery-powered, backpack vacuum. A real time saver, it was bought with Special Grant money from the Foundation.

GGH recently featured in magazine spotlighting hospital collaboration with family physicians

Stronger Together: Family Physicians and Hospitals Inspiring New Ways of Caring was recently published by the Ontario Hospital Association. GGH’s work to lower COPD patient readmission rates by working with community partners was one of the featured articles.

In the introduction to the publication, the OHA wrote:

High-quality health care across the system requires strong relationships between hospitals and family physicians. For this reason, the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) have collaborated on this new Ideabook to showcase the valuable work that hospitals and family physicians are undertaking on behalf of their patients.

Family physicians and other health care providers are well aware of the challenges patients face when they transition from one care setting to another. As the population ages and more people are living longer with multiple chronic illnesses, the benefits of collaboration to ensure safe and effective care have become more widely recognized across the system. This has encouraged family physicians and other health care providers to take a more proactive role in strengthening partnerships with the hospital sector with the goal of providing better, more coordinated care. Improved communication and greater collaboration among providers are key ingredients to enhancing the patient experience and optimizing health outcomes, especially as patients transition between different health care settings.

To this end, many hospitals and family physicians across the province are actively working together to jointly address common challenges and to identify opportunities for advancing the delivery of more seamless, high-quality patient care.

To read the entire GGH COPD article, click here.

GGH Fdn logo

Running with a purpose in the Thanksgiving Day Races

Last Fall, Janine Mayall’s life was flipped up-side-down after a Radiologist at the Hospital spotted an abnormality on her left kidney.

Janine MayallThe abnormality was identified as a result of a nuclear medicine bone scan and following this, the Radiologist immediately recommended additional diagnostic images. An ultrasound, a CT scan and an MRI were performed. Then in December, following an x-ray guided cystoscopy, her diagnosis was confirmed. Janine had bladder cancer.

Janine described her cancer as being “discovered by fluke” because the purpose of the first test was to monitor a pre-existing, unrelated health concern.

“I was sent for an X-ray on my skull because my migraines had changed characteristically. The X-ray was normal, and when I said I wanted a different test, my GP ordered the bone scan.”

Over the past year, Janine has endured aggressive chemotherapy treatment here and a complicated surgery performed at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton to remove her bladder.

Determined to put the experience behind her and continue on with life and all the things she enjoys, Janine registered for the Metalumen 5k as part of the Thanksgiving Day Races.

Janine is a runner and has run the Thanksgiving Day Races in the past but admits she has never fundraised before. This year is different. She set a fundraising goal of $1,000, and has already far exceeded her goal.

“I received such stellar support at Guelph General Hospital, from the cleaners to the doctors, and everyone in between. I want to give back to them, so they can help all who come after me.”

thanksgiving 2017While preparing for a final round of radiology treatments to ensure the cancer was fully cleared, Janine’s journey took yet another turn. Another nuclear imaging bone scan identified some spots on her bones. Radiation is now cancelled and she is in line for another aggressive round of chemotherapy.

“This change makes me more determined to walk, slow jog, or maybe run the Thanksgiving Day 5km because my chemo will have started by then.” She is determined to participate and to show others “that it [cancer] is ok, that there is still life with and after cancer.”

The Thanksgiving Day Races have been taking place in Guelph since 1894, but in 2012, Race Director John Marsden of Speed River Timing adopted Guelph General Hospital as the beneficiary.

One of every two dollars spent on Hospital equipment at Guelph General Hospital comes from community. In fact, nearly every piece of diagnostic equipment used to investigate, confirm and monitor Janine’s cancer at Guelph General Hospital was funded by donors, from the Nuclear Medicine Scanner to the MRI scanner to the IV pumps used to deliver Janine’s chemotherapy.

The exceptional care that Janine received, and continues to receive, is in large part due to community support, along with the skills and dedication of the GGH team of caregivers.

Janine’s fundraising effort, and that of every other runner who decides to fundraise, will impact the lives of many others who may one day find themselves in need of care from their community Hospital.

The Thanksgiving Day Races are taking place on Monday, October 9, at Exhibition Park and all pledge proceeds support the Hospital. For information on how to register, or to make a donation, visit

Bangla cheque presentation photo webRecently, an enthusiastic group representing the Bangladesh and Bangla speaking community dropped by to present the proceeds from their charity yard sale.

“It was an easy decision for us to select Guelph General Hospital as the beneficiary,” said Shibabrata Nandi, at whose home the yard sale took place.

Many members of the community have had personal experience receiving care at the Hospital and all agreed that their event was a good opportunity to help ensure the same excellent care for others throughout the entire community of Guelph.

The group organizing the yard sale represented about 125 families in Guelph. Many of them contributed to the yard sale by donating sale items, helping to organize the sale, or by helping out on the day of the sale. 

The concept of a yard sale was new to most in their group as it is not something that they do in their culture, but they all embraced the idea of doing something that was more customary to Canadian culture. They hope to make their yard sale an annual event and have already started planning for 2018.

In the picture above are (l-r) Motiur Rahman Shobuj, Shibabrata Nandi Dulal, Raj Moharaj, Chitra Tinku Sarker, Ruma Chakravorty, Pushpita Kabir, Rowshan Karim, Deb Mukherjee, Jharna Nandi, Rita Biswas, Kabbyo Sarker, Biswajit Sarker, Riya Roy, Fahmida Rahim Tishi, Kotha Sarker, Masud Jamal, Rakhal Sarker, Fazlul Karim and the Foundation's Linda Craig.

A special thank you to the leading volunteers Fahmida Rahim Tishi, Motiur Rahman Shobuj,Masud Jamal, Paritosh Roy, Shishir Mitra, Biswajit Sarker, Raj Moharaj, Apu Dey, Soma Biswas, Bristi Biswas, Rakhal Sarker, Tom Abrams, and Tammy. And another very special thank you to Fazlul Karim for his leading inspiration.



General Express August 2016

Multipurpose x-ray room opens

The large machine came with 100s of boxes filled with parts to assemble. The machine is finally ready to see its first patient. The room walls are freshly painted and a new laminate floor installed to help improve the patient's experience.

August 10 marked the first day of operation of our new multi-purpose x-ray machine.

It took four weeks to assemble on site after arriving in 100’s of boxes. Even before then, the old x-ray room received a fresh coat of paint and new inviting flooring to offer patients a more pleasant experience. 

The new machine replaces a much older x-ray unit and has a long list of improvements resulting from more advanced technology.

“Improved patient comfort and improved image quality top the list of enhancements as well as versatility,” says Jennifer Meher, Manager Diagnostic Imaging. “Before, multiple pieces of equipment across multiple rooms would be needed to carry out all the procedures this one piece of equipment can do.”

There’s also a productivity benefit too. The machine has the ability to perform both standard x-rays of bone and image soft tissue. Images may be taken with the patient standing or laying down which enables x-rays of the upper and lower digestive system too. Before, patients would have to go outside Guelph for those images. Now, patients residing in the communities of Guelph and Wellington can have these images done in the convenience of their own community hospital.

According to Meher, when purchasing new equipment, there are many considerations that go into the decision, but ultimately these investments need to meet patient needs today and for many years ahead.

Living our Strategic Directions - Sustain Our Financial Health

Every issue there'll be an article about one of the initiatives either underway or completed that are supporting our four new Strategic Directions. As a reminder, they are:


Members of the linen initiative team include (l-r): Sharon Hood, Sue MacNeil, Jackie Baker, Connie Reeves-Bolger, Sheryl Hutchison and Dayna Tippe, Booth Centennial representative.

Sue MacNeil, Director Food Services and Environmental Support, says these staff have been fabulous in bringing their creativity and enthusiasm to make positive changes without negatively impacting patient care.

Linen costs at GGH have been running over-budget by around $70,000 for a number of years. Annual reviews by our linen supplier, Booth Centennial, suggested there were opportunities for improvement in both inventory management and usage compared to our LIHN partners. 

A team of staff in Environmental Services initiated a number of changes early in the year to improve ordering, inventory and delivery processes resulting in a same-day delivery service. Although this lead to some early cost-savings, an additional goal of $50,000 savings per year was targeted to meet budget. 

The team expanded their work to identify additional opportunities by engaging staff throughout the organization. This included focus sessions, educational displays and walk-throughs on the units. Eleven key strategies were identified and are being implemented in coordination with unit staff. These strategies include;

  • introducing lower cost alternative items (hand towels instead of bath towels in outpatient areas, use of rags instead of towels or sheets for cleaning spills, use of stretcher sheets instead of fitted sheets in some outpatient areas)
  • standardizing bed making practices including usage of soaker pads and flannels
  • evaluating disposables vs reusables
  • minimizing overstocking in patient rooms
  • maximizing credits such as reject linen rebates. 

To date, costs have been reduced by $21,650 compared to this time last year. The team is well on track to achieve the targeted savings but will require the support of all staff in continuing to implement the changes as we move into our higher volume and colder seasons.

New program designed to improve a patient's experience by reducing time spent wondering if...

Last month the Hospital introduced a new program, the Breast Assessment Clinic. It is designed to significantly reduce the amount of time a woman spends waiting to know whether or not she has breast cancer. 

The patient’s journey usually begins when a lump is found or a shadow appears on a screening mammogram. Then, it can take up to three visits to the Hospital over a four to six week period before a diagnosis can be made. Usually, a second mammogram is needed which may be followed by an ultrasound. Then, some will need a needle biopsy with the sample sent to the lab. Now with the new clinic, all that is done in one day. 

It can result in quickly getting good news too. Some women will have a false alarm because something abnormal is found on mammogram but after more tests, no cancer is found. 

“This is about improving our patient’s experience by significantly reducing their time spent wondering whether or not they have cancer,” explains Dr. Samir Patel, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging. “It’s also about providing the best care possible should cancer be found. By taking advantage of our modern, fully digitized and integrated diagnostic equipment including our mammography machine, patients can get their diagnosis as quickly as possible which means treatment can be started sooner.”

Held every Wednesday, an appointment at the clinic requires a referral from a physician. So far, it’s been very well received. 

Old beds given new life and purpose President and CEO to be featured
In June, we received 30 new Hill-Rom Versa Care beds (above). At the same time we removed 30+ beds from the hospital and donated them to an organization out of Toronto who donated the beds to Jamaica. They arrived at their new hospital home August 21 and we're hoping to get some pictures.

"Staff did an amazing job in coordinating the bed purchases and nice to know the old ones were being donated to a worthwhile cause," says Joyce Rolph, Senior Director Patient Services.

President and CEO, Marianne Walker, was recently interviewed as a featured guest on a new Rogers TV show, "This is Guelph." According to its host, Martin Bosch (left), the half-hour show will feature individuals who have made Guelph what it is today. Those interviewed will include a broad spectrum from business people, to public administrators, politicians, City of Guelph employees and others. 

The episodes will be shown Wednesdays at 6 p.m. starting September 14. The broadcast order of featured guests hasn't been set but once it is that will be shared widely.

Improving Emergency mental health services at Guelph General Hospital and across Wellington County

Late July, the province announced more than $3 million to expand emergency mental health and addiction services at hospitals in Guelph and in Wellington County. This is great news for our patients, families, staff and community. 

The funding allocation was: 

  • Guelph General Hospital (GGH): $2,416,300
  • Groves Memorial Community Hospital: $326,100
  • North Wellington Health Care Corporation, including Louise Marshall Hospital and Palmerston and District Hospital: $326,100

GGH has seen an increase in acuity, volumes and escalating behaviours of patients experiencing mental health and addictions issues in our Emergency Departments (ED) across Guelph and Wellington County. As a result, an emergency mental health review was started in March of 2015. In January of 2016, the report identified a number of opportunities for improvements and provided recommendations for change. These proposed changes will support the creation of a safe environment for the provision of dignified integrated care for patients with mental health and substance abuse related conditions. 

Since receipt of that report, partners from the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin, Groves Memorial Community Hospital (GMCH), Guelph General Hospital (GGH), Homewood Health Centre (HHC), North Wellington Health Care (NWHC), and the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network have implemented many changes and developed an action plan for improvement. The plan has been split into four different areas of focus (outlined below).

A new position of a dedicated program manager will be established to oversee all mental health services within Guelph Wellington. In addition, a project lead will be assigned to support each of the four working groups currently being established. 

The new funding will help us develop a system of care that will improve our emergency mental health services and patient outcomes. The key expected outcomes include: 

  • Reduced mental health Alternate Level of Care (ALC) in acute care settings 
  • Reduced ED Length of Stay (LOS) for patients needing mental health and addiction services 
  • Reduced admitted patient LOS in the ED
  • Reduced repeat visits for mental health and/or addictions 
  • Improved patient and staff satisfaction
  • Improved patient and staff safety 

Focus One: Improvements in the Rural setting – GMCH and NWHC
This team will focus on improving timely access to emergency mental health consultation for Groves Memorial, Palmerston and District, and Louise Marshall Hospital emergency departments. Staffing resources will be added to increase the hours which assessment is available on evenings, weekends and statutory holidays. 

In addition, a consult liaison service will be developed to improve access to psychiatric consultation for community referrals, hospital inpatients and ED referrals. Safe rooms are being created\renovated and will be completed by March 2017. Procedures and staff\physician training related to the use of safe rooms are being standardized across all ED sites. Security services will also be made available to assist in monitoring of patients at all three rural hospital sites.

Awaiting final inspection so the furniture can be moved in, the safe rooms are almost complete. Also in the secured area in the department is a specially designed "quiet room" to provide a comfortable yet safe area.

Foci Two and Three: Improvements at GGH and in Emergency Mental Health Unit (EMHU)
This team will focus on reducing time to consult and overall emergency department (ED) wait times for patients with mental health related visits. To accomplish this, we will be adding staffing resources to have a Mental Health (MH) nurse available for consult 24 hours per day in the ED. Addiction counsellors will be added to our team at GGH to support patients with substance addiction related conditions and those with concurrent disorders (both MH and substance addiction). Recruitment for these positions is in progress. These staff members will also provide therapeutic interventions for patients who are in the ED awaiting transfer to a psychiatric facility. The team will also work to develop and implement a MH “See and Treat” model of care in the ED. Safe rooms are being constructed and will be completed soon. Procedures and staff\physician training related to the use of safe rooms are being standardized. 

On the inpatient side, we will be enhancing our consult liaison (CL) service. Currently, we have a psychiatrist available for consultation. Enhancements to this service will see the psychiatrist available at GGH during the day and will also provide for a nurse to support the CL service and provide therapeutic treatment(s) to patients who are awaiting transfer to a psychiatric facility.

Focus Four: New program development – Mental health urgent care centre - Crisis Support
The goal of the urgent care centre will be to provide services into the evening hours and on weekends so patients have access to services outside of traditional business hours. Examples of services to be provided may include access to psychiatric consultation, therapeutic groups, and/or medication administration. Recruitment has begun and we are exploring space options. We anticipate this service will help to prevent repeat visits to the emergency department. In addition, the team will undertake an analysis of current service availability for treatment initiation and/ urgent assessments and crisis support. Using the knowledge created through this analysis, we will develop a new urgent care centre designed to address the identified service gaps. 

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