Telehealth Service Access Continues to Rise

Patient-focused enhancements to Telehealth services have a positive impact

A growing number of healthcare organizations, including the Cypress Health Region, are using Telehealth videoconferencing technology to increase access to care for their patients, reduce costs and wait times, improve patient outcomes, and enhance the overall patient experience.

Telehealth is a program that delivers health care services and education via secure, live, and interactive video, audio, and computer technology. Using secure video conferencing equipment, Telehealth enables patients to access confidential clinical services, education, public health, and administrative services in communities across the province.

“We’re continuing to see significant growth to Telehealth services and our patients are utilizing many specialties,” commented Carolyn Hildebrand, Education Service Bureau Coordinator for Cypress Health. “Telehealth provides such a positive impact to the patients who choose to use it and provides access to specialists across the country. It leads to safer, smoother treatment processes and better outcomes.”

Over the past 12 months, Telehealth was utilized 1,415 times by patients of the health region, an increase of 35% from the previous year. Using Telehealth technologies has saved nearly six million kilometers of travel for patients in the province while creating quicker access to providers through the elimination of long distance travel. Telehealth is available in all 12 health regions, in more than 369 sites in 134 communities, thanks to a collaborative effort between eHealth Saskatchewan, Regional Health Authorities, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, First Nation Inuit Branch, and other health care partners.

Erin Wiebe is a Cypress Health Region patient who uses Telehealth regularly for oncology appointments. “Telehealth is so convenient and saves me money and time from needing to travel to Regina, especially in the winter when you’re at least two hours away,” she stated. “It’s convenient for both my physician and myself. The Region sets up all of my Telehealth appointments which makes it so easy for me.”

Oncology is the most frequently accessed Telehealth service in the Cypress Health Region. More than 750 oncology sessions were held via Telehealth last year, making the region one of the most frequent users of the technology in Saskatchewan.

During an oncology conference in May 2017 the Cypress Health Region was recognized for their exceptional, patient-focused enhancements to Telehealth services at the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility (SIHF) in Maple Creek. Completed in 2014, the SIHF is one of the province’s most technologically advanced health facilities and features many Telehealth endpoints, some of which are located directly in treatment rooms.

Heather Choquette, Provincial Manager of Community Oncology Services with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, recognized the SIHFs enhancements to Telehealth services. The recognition was a result of recent changes at the facility which now provide the option for a patient’s physician or nurse practitioner to attend Telehealth appointments with specialists in a different location. The option was recently utilized successfully by Nurse Practitioner Erin Roberts and patient Marian Bakken.

For more information on Telehealth and how to access Telehealth services please visit the Cypress Health Region website at https://cypresshealth.ca/programs-services/telehealth/ or call 306-778-5444.

On May 26, 2017 Nurse Practitioner Erin Roberts (left) joins patient Marian Bakken (middle) and Ashley Nash, Administration Assistant, following a Telehealth session at the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek, SK.

Changes to Physician Services in Leader

Two physicians closing practices in community as region recruits replacement coverage

The Cypress Health Region has been advised that Dr. Monga-N’Dimo Palangi and Dr. Mohd Hoque will be closing their practices in Leader at the end of August. Recruitment efforts are underway and contingency plans are being developed that include the use of locum (visiting) physician coverage.

Dr. Satbir Jhand and Nurse Practitioner Mikki Millar will continue to serve as primary care providers in the community. The Region’s priority is to maintain safe, quality health care services for residents of Leader and surrounding areas.

One replacement physician has been successfully recruited pending completion of the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program. With successful completion it is anticipated that the candidate would be available to begin practicing in January 2018.

In the interim the Region is working with other rural physicians and locums to continue to provide residents with access to acute and emergency services. Many of the dates between September 1, 2017 and January 2018 have been secured with locum physician services. Minimal disruptions to services are anticipated. The Region remains committed to returning to a full complement of three physicians in Leader and is optimistic that recruitment efforts will be successful. Long-term care services will not be affected.

Residents seeking a physician or nurse practitioner appointment may continue to do so by contacting the Leader Primary Health Care Site at 306-628-4584. If experiencing or witnessing a medical emergency please dial 9-1-1 and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff will be dispatched to assist. For non-medical emergencies the provincial HealthLine may be utilized. Staffed 24/7 by registered nurses and other healthcare professionals, HealthLine is a free service and can be contacted by calling 8-1-1.

The Cypress and Heartland Health Regions are working together to determine what coverage can be provided to continue to offer physician and nurse practitioner services at the Eatonia Clinic.

Additional updates will be provided to residents as they become available. The Region appreciates the patience and understanding of residents during this time.

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Advisory

The recent warm temperatures in the province may result in the quick formation of algae blooms.

The Water Security Agency and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health are advising the public to avoid direct contact and any consumption of any surface water where blue-green algae blooms are occurring. Blue-green algae blooms can be harmful for household pets and livestock. Residents and producers are advised to keep their animals away from these areas.

Algae blooms are heavy concentrations of blue-green algae, which often give the water a shimmering, foamy and often pea soup appearance. The blooms may be blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour.

Algae blooms commonly occur during calm, hot weather in areas of lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow moving or still water that has sufficient nutrients. The blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind.

Direct contact or consumption of algae-contaminated water can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, caution should be taken when considering the consumption of fish or shellfish caught in areas of a water body where a bloom exists; the internal organs of the fish should not be eaten.

If you have health symptoms, call Healthline 811 or contact your health care provider.

For further information on blue-green algae view this fact sheet and for complete details on the advisory visit www.saskatchewan.ca.

Food Recall Warning for President’s Choice brand Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets Due to Salmonella

Ottawa, July 12, 2017 – Loblaw Companies Limited is recalling President’s Choice brand Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets from the marketplace due to possible Salmonella contamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.
Brand Name: President’s Choice- Pub Recipe Chicken Nuggets- Uncooked Breaded Cutlettes 
Size: 800g
Product Code(s) 2018 MR 15, UPC: 0 60383 13171 5
What you should do

If you think you became sick from consuming a recalled product, call your doctor.

Check to see if you have recalled products in your home. Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems may contract serious and sometimes deadly infections. Healthy people may experience short-term symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

Background

This recall was triggered by findings by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) during its investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings.The CFIA is verifying that industry is removing recalled product from the marketplace.

Illnesses

There have been reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

For more details on this affected product and the recall visit Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Precautions Urged as Summer Temperatures Rise

Simple steps to ensure safe summer activity for everyone

With temperatures continuing to rise and forecasted to peak over the weekend, the Cypress Health Region is reminding the public to exercise precautions during times of excessive heat and sun exposure this summer.

The southwest corner of the province is forecasted to have an extended heat wave with temperatures in the mid to high 30’s. When the sun is shining and temperate gauges rise, protective measures should be taken to stay protected from the heat.

“Excessive heat exposure can be dangerous to health.  It is important to remember the ‘WATSS’ you need regarding excessive heat, namely Water and other appropriate fluids, Attire – light clothing, caps and hats; Time spent out in the heat should be graded; and finally, Sunscreen and Sunglasses to protect the skin and eyes,” commented Dr. Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for Cypress Health Region.

Excessive heat exposure can cause dehydration, which in turn can cause dangerous conditions like heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (also called sunstroke). These symptoms include high body temperature, confusion, lack of sweat, fainting, and unconsciousness.

The heat makes you sweat, which in turn cools you down. Sweating also means that you’re constantly losing fluid. It is recommended that during hot weather you drink plenty of water even when not thirsty. You may not always feel thirsty, so try using the colour of your urine to guide if you’re hydrated enough — the clearer the better.

Other precautions to ensure you’re safe throughout the summer months include:

  • Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat made from breathable fabric.
  • Limit your time in the sun. Keep out of the sun and heat between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. When your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong.
  • Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.
  • Drink liquids (especially water). Dehydration is dangerous and thirst is not always a good indicator of how often you should drink liquids.  Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks in extreme heat.
  • Use the UV Index forecast. Check online for the UV index forecast in your area. When the UV index is 3 or higher, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Use a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30.  Broad-spectrum sunscreens screen out most of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside, re-apply after the first 20 minutes of being outside, then re-apply again every two hours thereafter.  Use a generous amount, especially if swimming or in a body of water.

For more information on how sun safety visit www.healthycanadians.ca.

Leader and District Integrated Healthcare Facility Update

Expansion project sees construction move forward throughout summer months

Construction continues to progress on a $12 million expansion project that will result in the complete integration of health services in Leader.  The project site is a busy area of activity with noticeable construction elements being completed each day.

Wright Construction, awarded with the construction tender in November 2016, has been on site for several months completing initial work on the Leader and District Integrated Healthcare Facility.  This includes finishing the pouring of cement pilings and foundation and placement of all structural steel.  Work has now shifted to wood framing the exterior walls and mechanical components being installed on the second floor mezzanine level.

“We are seeing a lot of progress and it’s been enjoyable to watch the outside shape of the facility come together,” commented Brenda Schwan, Capital Lead and Vice President of Continuing Care for Cypress Health. “In three short months the site has gone from an empty foundation to the framing being completed.  We look forward to construction moving ahead throughout the summer months.”

Following the completion of exterior wall framing on the main floor and mezzanine level, crews will begin to construct the roof of the facility.

A construction camera has been placed on the southeast corner of the property, capturing and updating birds-eye images of the site on a 15 minute cycle.  The high resolution images and more information on the Leader capital project can be viewed at any time on the Cypress Health Region website at www.cypresshealth.ca.

The facility’s design has included input from staff, physicians, patients, and family representatives.  Construction is anticipated to be complete in spring 2018, with the facility opening shortly thereafter.  When finished, the facility will be the sole location of all of the community’s health services including acute care, long term care via the existing Western Senior Citizens Home, emergency medical services, community health services, and primary health care.

Leader and District Integrated Healthcare Facility progress as of July 6, 2017

Women’s and Children’s Unit Celebrates moreOB™ Program

Team receives recognition award as it transitions into third year of program

The Women’s and Children’s Health Services Unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital is celebrating the successes it has achieved through their involvement with the moreOB™ program. On June 28 the team accepted an Award of Recognition for their participation in the initiative.

Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiently (moreOB™) is a continuous patient safety improvement program led by a multidisciplinary team comprised of nursing staff, physicians, specialists, midwives, and other staff at the Cypress Regional Hospital in Swift Current. The program uses a collaborative approach that’s intended to decrease adverse events and clinical errors by ensuring that all team members are involved in safety efforts and improvement initiatives.

After their first year of implementing the moreOB™ program the team received the moreOB™ Recognition Award for Outstanding Performance in the Application of Knowledge, Commitment, and Teamwork. The team has incorporated many improvements through the moreOB™ initiative in the first two years including skin to skin care between parents and their newborn, management of women in labour, and effective and efficient communication between the multidisciplinary team.

Year three will focus on building upon these improvements by maintaining and utilizing the formal communication and teamwork techniques previously established. It will focus on empowering patients and families to have a voice in promoting safe care practices, will utilize formal analytic techniques to identify and mitigate potential causes of harm, will further expand upon the monthly practice drills that are utilized for maintaining and developing advanced clinical skills, and will help prepare and practice for potential emergency scenarios.

Carol Wells, Nursing Unit Coordinator on the Women’s and Children’s Health Services Unit at the Cypress Regional Hospital stated “I am very proud of the team and how they have been working together to achieve the best care and results for our patients. Since the initial start of the program, I have observed a lot of growth and a change in communication and multidisciplinary team work. The underlying message in moreOB™ is for us to develop a culture on the unit where patient safety is everyone’s first priority. Reflecting on the last two years and all we have accomplished, we are certainly doing a great job!”

The Cypress Health Region extends its appreciation to moreOB™ team members and their dedication to enhancing the quality programming offered within the Women’s and Children’s unit.