Making our Hospital More Senior Friendly and Accessible
by Maryanne Matthews
The population of Northwestern Ontario is aging. As the senior patient population continues to increase, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is committed to providing them with an optimal experience in a safe and accessible environment.
The Hospital completed a physical environment gap assessment and in response, developed a physical environment plan that also aligns with the Hospital’s Accessibility priorities and goals. The plan was developed by a working group with input from Patient and Family Advisors to ensure the patient’s perspective was fully captured.
“Seniors’ Health is a priority within our Strategic Plan 2020 and we are committed to enhancing our environment to minimize the vulnerabilities of senior patients and promotes safety, comfort, independence, and functional well-being,” said Anne-Marie Heron, Executive Director of Capital Planning and Operations. “Although this work will be implemented over several years, our environmental assessment has already led to a number of improvements that are making our Hospital more accessible to senior patients and their families.”
Patients and visitors may have already noticed one of the improvements while using any one of the Hospital’s parking lots. New parking lot signs were installed that depict animal pictures and names, replacing the previous naming system of letters and numbers. The new signs are more visible with larger font sizes and the upgraded designation system makes it easier to remember where you parked.
Other improvements include adding more automatic door openers to the doorways in high traffic public areas and bathrooms – with future expansion to the patient units. The overhead clinical paging system is also being reviewed and will soon be upgraded in order to provide a quieter environment for patients.
“The physical environment component of a senior friendly hospital has a critical impact on the safety and functional level of senior patients,” said Heron. “We are committed to meeting the physical needs of our senior patients and their families in order to provide an optimal patient experience.”
For more information about how Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre is prioritizing Seniors’ Health and accessibility, visit www.tbrhsc.net.