Report from Gord Wickham

Gord Wickham, Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Chair, Board of Directors, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

With my final Board Chair report of 2023, I would like to take a moment to address our hardworking, dedicated staff and volunteers. Not only have they continued to provide safe, quality care to the patients, they have consistently demonstrated our core tenets of Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC). And for all this and more, on behalf of the Board, I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you.

This fall we celebrated 14 years of PFCC, marked by the Sharing and Caring Together Event. The event highlighted our commitment to continuously evolving with respect to providing exceptional care to the people of Northwestern Ontario. Recent successes shared included the Paediatric cinema goggles used to help support children undergoing an MRI; the new Eat, Sleep Console which offers a more family centred approach to the evaluation and treatment for infants born to parents who struggle with substance use; and the introduction of personal support workers improving PFCC on surgical floors. These are exciting times, indeed.

This year, submissions for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation’s Family CARE Grants coincided with the Sharing and Caring Together events. With the support of community donors, these grants empower staff to implement their ideas for improving the care experience for patients and families. One submission illustrated how renal patients can be better supported through a new weight-based movement program to help during their dialysis. Innovative approaches generated by those providing the care truly make a difference in a patient’s experience while in our Hospital. All submissions are truly impressive and will allow our physicians, staff and volunteers to better respond to the needs, values and preferences of our patients and their families. For this initiative, the 50/50 draws, and so much more, I would like to thank the generous donors and the team at the Health Sciences Foundation for their vital support.

Another essential group that I would like to acknowledge is our volunteers. International Volunteer Day is December 5, a day to celebrate and highlight the positive impact of volunteers in all areas of society. At our Hospital, volunteers lend their time and skills to support patients and families, and improve the way we work and provide care across the organization. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ goes out to our dedicated volunteers, and the staff and managers that make our volunteer programs a reality and further our Patient Experience strategic priority.

Teamwork is always evident in our Hospital and I would like to highlight some recent examples where we have excelled. The goal of providing comprehensive cardiovascular care closer to home continues to accelerate through the stages of development as project teams and partners unify their efforts with our Cardiovascular Surgery Project. Once completed, we will be able to provide the highest standard of care to all cardiovascular patients, whether requiring routine or complex interventions. Another example is the recently awarded innovation of our Stroke Program in receiving the 2023 RBC Innovation Hero of the Year award for their work with other organizational partners to use technology for more timely coordinated care. The Northwestern Navigate App was recognized as an innovative geo-mapping system that promotes evidence-based decision making to ensure patients receive faster stroke care. One other area I would like to note is our Hospital’s approach for enabling more life-saving opportunities through organ and tissue donation. The Clinical Team was honoured with the Provincial Eligible Approach Rate Award, through Ontario Health Trillium Gift of Life Network. For the first time ever our Hospital reached an eligible approach rate of 97 per cent for having organ and tissue donation discussions with eligible patients and families, impressively over the 90% provincial target.

It’s also worth highlighting that last month was Treaties Recognition Week (November 5-11); an important step towards healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. We recognize the importance of relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations as we work towards an improved care experience in providing better health outcomes for Indigenous Peoples in our communities.

As I wrap up this month’s report, please allow me to wish you a safe and happy holiday season for all of you and your families. Know that your efforts here at TBRHSC are making a difference for the people we serve.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I trust the 2024 year ahead will be one filled with joy and good health.