General Express March 2014


Guelph General Hospital is tops in the province in MRI efficiency

Jennifer Verbaik, MRI Team Lead, credits the empowered staff and supportive work environment for the impressive results.
Jennifer gives particular credit to Mike Sharma, GGH’s Director of Diagnostic Imaging (right) with encouraging innovation and to Dr. Samir Patel, GGH’s Chief of Diagnostic Imaging, for being “amazing to work with.”

Recently, the Hospital learned our MRI suite had the highest patient throughput in the province. That means it’s the best in getting patients scanned quickly during its MRI suite’s operating hours.

The great results are being driven by having a well-developed, efficient process that supports all involved, says Jennifer Verkaik, GGH’s MRI Team Lead.

“I believe it’s due to empowering the staff and creating a work environment that’s safe to share ideas,” Verkaik says. “We’ve had numerous meetings in regards to process improvements with our staff and had tremendous support from the top down.”

She gives particular credit to Mike Sharma, GGH’s Director of Diagnostic Imaging with encouraging innovation and to Dr. Samir Patel, GGH’s Chief of Diagnostic Imaging, for being “amazing to work with.”

The Province now tracks and posts performance information from all MRIs in Ontario. With the recent results putting GGH at the top, there have been many hospitals contacting GGH’s Diagnostic Imaging department.

 “The recognition that we’re the best in the province is a cool thing,” Verkaik says. “I believe there’s a real opportunity to take the GGH model on the road and share it with other hospitals.”

Not willing to rest on their laurels, staff continue to look for ways make an efficient system even better.

GGH’s MRI was purchased with money raised through its Foundation’s MRI & More campaign.

Special treatment for our Special Care Nursery

Jaclyn Piller snuggles with her daughter Callee in our Special Care Nursery.
It’s a giant endeavor for such tiny people, but to those involved, it’s worth the time and effort.
Students and faculty of the Interior Decorating program at Conestoga College are working to give our Special Care Nursery a fresh, new appearance. With the room currently painted pink and slightly dated, students hope to transform it into one that is uplifting and welcoming to parents, newborns and staff alike.

According to Lynda Murray, GGH Foundation board member and Professor in the School of Media and Design at Conestoga College, students wanted to give the nursery a home-like feel. “It’s a little clinical right now,” she says, adding that the redesign will be “fresh, soothing, relaxing and embracing.”

As part of the course curriculum, students were tasked with creating and pitching design ideas. Three of them have been shortlisted. In addition to creating a design, students are also challenged to repurpose – or “up cycle” – an old chair destined for the landfill using course theories and concepts.

On March 18, these chairs, along with chairs contributed by program faculty and local designers, will be auctioned off at the Waterloo Region Museum as part of the Chairity Gala. Proceeds from the auction will help fund redecorating the nursery.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone involved,” says Murray. “Not only are (the students) giving back to the community monetarily, but they’re also giving philanthropically with their skills.”

The idea to revamp the Special Care Nursery began with Siobhan Chisholm, a nurse practitioner at GGH, who noticed the nursery’s out-of-date decor and sought help. A visit to the Special Care Nursery is never desired or expected, explains Chisholm. For that reason, she wanted to create an environment that was welcoming and comfortable. “I wanted it to look like a nursery in someone’s home.”

Chisholm was eventually introduced to Murray who offered to bring the idea back to the program’s second-year students. They unanimously agreed to offer their services to the Hospital. As part of the redecoration process, the nursery will receive a fresh coat of paint, as well as other aesthetic changes.

The third annual Chairity Gala runs March 18 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Waterloo Region Museum and is open to the public. Tickets are $20 and a cash bar will be available. (If you’re interested in tickets, email the foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Plans afoot for the first ever Tour de Guelph

Terry Manning’s (right) 6,000-kilometre fundraising ride that raised $35,000 for the Hospital last summer was the inspriation for the new event.

As cold weather lingers, two local Rotary clubs have shifted into high gear, preparing to bring two-wheeled summer fun to the city.

The Rotary Club of Guelph South and Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium have begun planning the first Tour de Guelph fundraiser, proceeds of which will primarily benefit the Hospital, but also each Rotary Club.

“We are thrilled that Tour de Guelph is going to happen,” says Foundation President and CEO, Suzanne Bone. “It will be a great, family friendly event that promotes healthy, active living and, at the same time, raises much-needed funds for our hospital and both Rotary Clubs.”

All riders will meet at, depart from and return to the University of Guelph. Participants can choose from five-, 10-, 25-, 50- and 100-kilometre routes. The longer routes will take experienced riders off campus and through the countryside, offering unique challenges along the way. For less experienced riders and young children, shorter routes will remain within the campus.

The idea for Tour de Guelph began with David Parr, a volunteer on the Foundation’s Planned Giving Committee. Parr drew his inspiration from Foundation board member Terry Manning’s 6,000-kilometre fundraising ride that raised $35,000 for Guelph General Hospital last summer. According to Parr, he wanted to offer the community an experience and opportunity similar to Manning’s, but one that was scaled down and would appeal to a diverse demographic.

Modeled after Cambridge’s Tour de Grand event, organizers hope to attract 500 participants and raise $40,000 in their first year. As the years progress they hope to see perpetual growth, potentially matching Tour de Grand’s 2,200-rider turnout.

There will be an entry fee for the July 6 event and riders are encouraged to collect pledges. Organizers hope to raise funds through corporate sponsorship and individual rider fundraising efforts. Each rider will be able to create their own personal fundraising page which they can share on social media, and prizes will be available for top fundraisers.

Black Tie Bingo surpasses $2 million!

Linda Craig, Senior Development Officer in the Foundation, holds up one of the many prizes up for silent auction at this year's event.
The Foundation’s annual fundraising gala, Black Tie Bingo, held March 1 raised $177,305 (net of expenses), putting its 18-year cumulative total to more than $2 million. This year’s proceeds will go towards the purchase of equipment for the Hospital’s surgical program.

“We are thrilled,” said Foundation President and CEO Suzanne Bone. “It was an incredible event with incredible results, thanks to the collective efforts of so many – sponsors, guests, prize donors, volunteers and staff. And $2 million – wow! As always, our community stands strong behind the Hospital and we’re so grateful.”

While many may think the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s funding covers all capital costs, in fact, hospitals are on their own when it comes to buying most equipment. At Guelph General Hospital, one in every two dollars spent on patient care equipment comes from the generosity of a donor.

A sold out crowd of 430 guests bid strongly on more than 150 silent and live auction prizes including trips to Paris, China  and Mexico, golf and spa packages, jewellery, fine wine, clothing, home décor items and more. They also purchased raffle tickets for the opportunity to win great prizes. The grand prize for the final bingo game was a trip for two to Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

The theme this year was “An Aqua Gala.” There was a mermaid on the bar, aqua-coloured signature drinks, aquarium-like centerpieces and a tropical, ocean-like dining room. Our guests got into the theme – there were many dresses in various shades of blue, and even an octopus lariat. The chefs at the University of Guelph Conference and Catering Services outdid themselves with a marvelous four-course meal inspired by the oceans of the world.

There was a special ceremony to acknowledge the 10-year commitment of presenting sponsor Westminster Woods. Our Gold Sponsors included The Letter M Marketing, Lindsay Construction Services, and The Guelph Tribune and Silver Sponsors were Danby Products Ltd., Devlan Construction Ltd., Guelph Mercury Community Partnership Program, Knar Jewellery, Nestlé Waters Canada, Palmer Audio and Event Services, Scotiabank, Sleeman Breweries Ltd., Sorbara Law: Sorbara, Schumacher, McCann LLP, Synndicus Studios, Barbara Fisk – Travel Professionals International.