General Express Sept 2015

New Nuclear Medicine services starting December 2015

It may not look like much now but this is the future home of our new Nuclear Medicine suite.  
Dr. Mathew Kuruvilla is GGH’s new Director of Nuclear Medicine Imaging

“This initiative further helps us provide the most comprehensive and complete imaging package to the people of Guelph and the surrounding regions,” says Dr. Mathew Kuruvilla, GGH’s new Director of Nuclear Medicine Imaging.

Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material. Depending on what’s being studied, the material is either injected, swallowed or inhaled by the patient and eventually accumulates in the organ or area of the body being examined. Radioactive emissions from the radiotracer are detected by a special camera or imaging device that produces pictures and provides molecular targetting information.

Nuclear medicine is used to diagnose and determine the severity of, or treat, a variety of diseases. These include many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as determine a patient’s immediate response to therapeutic interventions.

Of special note, the machine coming to GGH does more than Nuclear Medicine studies. It’s a CT scanner too (click photo to enlarge).

“It allows us to fuse the functional imaging that traditional Nuclear Medicine provides, along with the anatomic blueprint offered by CT. This vastly improves our diagnostic interpretation and helps better direct patient management.”

Dr. Kuruvilla is dual certified in both Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine.

Celebration coming to mark the new Strategic Plan and Mission, Vision, Values

Sometime this Fall, staff, physicians and volunteers will be invited to a celebration marking the Hospital's new Strategic Plan and Mission, Vision and Values. There'll be a bbq, giveaways along with some comments from hospital leadership.

The Strategy map illustrates how each Strategic Direction relates to the other and how each builds upon our foundation which are our Values. Click on map to enlarge.

Both of these initiatives were based in part from the engagement initiatives we undertook earlier this year that resulted in over 600 members from both the community and the Hospital providing input. To develop the three-year Strategic Plan, we also reviewed information data such as population health data for Guelph, utilization of the hospital, provincial directions and performance data. This plan helps us be clear about the goals of the Hospital, creates focus, and communicates our priorities to staff, patients, families and the community.

At a recent Lunch and Learn presentation, Melissa Kwaitkowski, Director Strategy and Risk Management, illustrated how our goals were translated into objective metrics that will allow us to track our progress over the next three years. These metrics will form our strategic plan scorecard and will be shared throughout the hospital so that everyone knows how we are measuring up against our targets. The next step is to get everyone moving in the same direction and to do that we need to continue to do the following:

  • Engage the people who understand the problems and have the solutions – front line staff
  • Focus that energy on the strategic priorities
  • Measure the progress of our efforts

Melissa showed how high-level statements in the Plan such as "Sustaining our Financial Health" have been turned into real actions by front line staff. In one example, reducing the "Cost per Case" was looked at by a multidisciplinary team in the OR. They began with seeing what was the most common emergency surgery at the Hospital. It turned out to be surgeries to remove appendixes with around 125 completed last year. That meant that any savings would quickly add up. In the end, an opportunity was identified to use a different surgical approach when medically appropriate – sutures (stitches) instead of the more expensive staples. Over the course of a year, this small change in practice has the potential to save the hospital over $45,000 without affecting patient outcomes.

In the coming months teams across the hospital will be engaged in developing creative solutions, like the one above, to help the hospital reach its goals.

News from our Family Birthing Unit

Becoming a "baby friendly" hospital

This summer, GGH participated in a capacity building visit as part of our journey working towards the Baby Friendly Intiative. This is a global-wide certification process that encourages informed decision making and research-based best practices to support, protect and promote a family's feeding goals. Currently, only three hospitals in Canada have been awarded this certification. GGH is making progress towards this certification of best practice. A capacity building visit provided feedback and some concrete advice on steps we can take as we move forward towards this goal.

back row (l-r) Wendy Lahey (public health nurse, BFI assessor), Siobhan Chisholm, Laurie Williamson, Margaret Sherratt, Kathy Venter (BFI Assessor), Shannon Maier, Natalie Ford,  Lisa Buttiazzoni 
front row (l-r) Rachael LeClair, Mary Beth Marcone, Sharlene Rowell, Laura Cunningham. 

Lights, camera, action!!


Perhaps it'll one day be an Oscar contender but for now it's a virtual tour of our Family Birthing Unit. Filmed over the course of an entire day, the video is currently in the editing suite. Once completed, the tour will be posted on our web site. 

The video stars Vanessa Wood, RN (above). She's a shoo-in to get a Best Actress nomination.

Enhancing Security (part #1) Introducing a new Security Model

“Our goal is to make Guelph General Hospital one of the safest hospitals in Ontario.” With that bold statement from President and CEO, Marianne Walker, the hospital introduced a new security model in September.

The model was developed after consulting with security experts and with other leading hospitals. On the personnel side, the model includes highly trained security officers from G4S Security Solutions who are skilled at both de-escalation and, if necessary, properly managing a violent situation. G4S is active in 120 countries and has been in Canada for 45 years. Its clients include 87 Canadian health care facilities.

Its officers go through extensive screening then training before joining the front lines. It includes healthcare-specific security training but also adaptability, and perhaps most importantly, empathy. It means that GGH’s healthcare security officers are able to assist patients in all areas of the Hospital, from elevators to bedside. 

Jordan Schepers is G4S' new onsite Security Supervisor.

Jordan Schepers has been a member of GGH’s security team since 2011 and was invited to join the G4S team. He was recently promoted to G4S’s onsite Security Supervisor for the Hospital.

“One of the things we are working towards is consistently keeping our patients and visitors happy, which requires a certain disposition,” he says. “We want them to know that we are coming from a place of care.”

Jordan explains that just like anyone else working at GGH, he, and the rest of our G4S team, have come into the Hospital hoping to help somebody and to make a difference. He explains that on a typical day he’s in the waiting room, approaching patients and visitors asking what brings them to GGH.  

“I make sure our visitors understand I am here to help them and that we (G4S) are a friendly presence. For instance, if I notice someone has been waiting a while I’ll ask whether they are waiting for someone and I’ll check on their loved one,” he says. “My job, like many in our Hospital, is about making the patient happy and comfortable.” 

GGH’s new security model means an increased focus on patient comfort all over the Hospital. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week the Hospital will have one officer in the clinical area of the Emergency Department and in the Emergency Department waiting room. In addition, there’s one officer performing Hospital rounds and one officer providing patient protection functions.  

In Jordon’s opinion, this simply means more opportunity to interact with patients and their families. 

“One of the first people I ever met here was a gentleman whose wife passed away here. I would sit and talk with him and eventually every time he would come in he would ask for me. We still stay in touch. He always tells me, “You made such a difference.””

It’s situations like this that remind Jordan that people that he meets when on the job do not always have support. It’s about building a rapport with others and always asking oneself, “How would I want to be treated?” 

Jordan is just one example of the Hospital providing a safe and security environment for patients, visitors and staff while still living its values of compassion and respect.

Enhancing Security (part #2) A Hospital-Wide Security Audit has begun

The Hospital recently engaged a firm, Stay Safe, to conduct a hospital-wide Security Threat and Risk Assessment Audit. It will include comprehensive reviews of the buildings as well as our policies, procedures and training. In addition, Stay Safe will be holding numerous one-on-one interviews with staff. The audit is expected to be completed by early 2016.

The comprehensive review includes:

  • the hospital’s buildings, land and equipment with particular emphasis on:
  • the Emergency Department
  • main entrances (Delhi Street/Front/Staff/Tunnel)
  • restricted access areas that contain sensitive equipment or medical supplies
  • patient care areas
  • public and staff parking lots and surrounding areas
  • existing security equipment and systems
  • staff and public access controls
  • related current policies, procedures and training with particular emphasis on:
  • workplace violence, emergency measures, and security
  • an assessment of staff actual awareness and training
  • incident reporting process
  • building and departmental lock down procedures

As part of the audit process, Stay Safe is conducting up to 50 one-on-one interviews with staff. Each interview will take about an hour or so and is designed to gather information, perceptions and suggestions with respect to security threats and risks. 

The audit is expected to provide us with; 

  • a clear understanding of the current state of security
  • a clear vision of the preferred future state of security
  • a gap analysis with clear recommendations identified to address safety and security issues/risk to staff, patients, visitors, physical space and equipment. 

The recommendations are to be prioritized by risk and threat level, resources required to implement and whether they can be reasonably implemented in the short, medium or longer term.

Spreading the word about the benefits of blood conservation

GGH’s Janet Chevalier (photo left) was recently at the Canadian Society of Hospital Medicine conference and represented the Hospital and the Ontario Nurse Transfusion Coordinators (ONTraC) Program. She was able to connect with many attendees and discuss issues with blood conservation and transfusion.  The conference was attended by over 280 physicians and health care professionals from across Canada and featured education on many topics relevant to Hospital Medicine.

GGH’s Dr. Marcel Doré (photo right) was the Chair of the Conference and also presented on the newly developed Canadian Society of Hospital Medicine Core Competencies document. 

GGH was well represented with other notable presentations and workshops: Dr. Anu Ganapathy presented on SIRS/Sepsis Management and Dr. Stephan Landis coordinated a half-day course on Basics of Wound Care.

Taking the time to walk in another's shoes

Leigh Anne  Lacourciere, RN (right) and Senior Director Joyce Rolph participated in the “Walk this Way” program offered by Organizational Development.

Pictured here is Joyce shadowing Leigh Anne while working a day shift on 5West.  Leigh reciprocated and spent a day with Joyce in September.  This was a great opportunity for both!

Privacy Matters

Ontario introduced The Health Information Protection Act on Sept 16, 2015 that, if passed, would strengthen privacy rules that protect the personal health information of individuals. One of the important changes is the increase in fines for privacy breaches. It would create stronger deterrents against the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure of personal health information by doubling the maximum fines for offences under PHIPA from $50,000 to $100,000 for individuals, and from $250,000 to $500,000 for an organization. While privacy breaches have always been considered serious, it is now being matched by more severe financial penalties.  Respecting patient’s privacy continues to be the central theme.

For any privacy issues or questions, you are always welcome to contact Valerie Anderson, Chief Privacy Officer at ext. 2273 or vanderson@gghorg,ca.

ClinicalConnect is one of the "enablers" referred to in our new Strategic Plan

GGH is a participating organization in the connecting South West Ontario (cSWO) Program Regional Clinical Viewer, ClinicalConnect™.  This secure, web-based portal provides authorized health care professionals with real-time access to their patients' electronic health records. The cSWO Program, funded by eHealth Ontario, makes an individual’s health information from across the continuum of care available in a timely and secure fashion at any point in care.  GGH contributes and consumes data from ClinicalConnect.

ClinicalConnect allows care providers to gather essential patient data quickly and easily, resulting in improved patient care. Authorized users can access south west Ontario patient information / data from:

  • Dr. Ian Digby is Chief of Emergency Medicine
    67 acute care facilities
  • four regional cancer care programs and the four community care access centres (CCACs)
  • lab requests and results from Ontario laboratories information system (OLIS)
  • diagnostic images from 55 hospital sites through Southwestern Ontario Diagnostic Imaging Network (SWODIN)
  • nursing assessment repository (Health Outcomes for Better Information &Care (HOBIC)

GGH supports research into the benefits of ClinicalConnect for patient care. Dr. Ian Digby, Chief of Emergency Medicine, participated in a study of ClinicalConnect, which indicated that the solution was helpful in between 5-10% of ED cases. In a review of 170 patients, ClinicalConnect influenced the care of six patients: previous lab and diagnostic information for three patients informed care planning; one patient avoided a blood transfusion; and two admissions were avoided based on data from other hospitals.  

ClinicalConnect is used at GGH by physicians in the emergency, ambulatory, surgical, and medicine departments. Clinicians and clerical administrative staff use ClinicalConnect in ambulatory care, bariatrics, laboratory and blood bank, and pharmacy. GGH is also working to implement ClinicalConnect in more departments, with the support of the cSWO Change Management and Adoption Delivery Partner in Waterloo Wellington.  

Foundation News


The Thanksgiving Day Races (100m, 1k, 1mi, 3k and 5k) take place on Monday October 12. In addition to runners, we are also looking for course marshals, 9:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help, or know someone (great way for high school students to get some volunteer hours) who might be interested.

"Monday Motivators"

One of our most popular posts are our “Monday Motivators.” Each Monday, we feature a GGH staff person sharing how their role allows them to make a difference in people’s lives. Fran Hood, in the post below, was our fifth Monday Motivator post. 

If there is someone who inspires you at GGH, let us know and they might be featured as a future Monday Motivator (of course, with their permission!) Just email Allison Kelly, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

While you are at it, from home or on your device, check us out on Facebook and like our page (The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital)!