Supporting Employees and their Health

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s Attendance Support Program supports employees and managers to improve attendance while simultaneously supporting patient care.

Caring for employees of Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre means that employees can care for patients and their families.

“Strong employee attendance contributes to our Hospital’s ability to provide consistent, quality patient care,” said Tricia Murdoch, Manager of Human Resources and Organizational Development. “We understand that some people, due to medical or non-medical reasons, may have difficulties maintaining regular attendance. The Attendance Support Program (ASP) is a great way to help employees improve their attendance, while simultaneously supporting patient care.”

The program was first developed in 1990 with the goal of assisting employees to attend work regularly to ensure patients receive consistent care and essential services. The program’s focus is on supporting employees and managers through efforts such as medical intervention, counseling, and job modification.  In 2018, members of the Management team, Human Resources, Occupational Health and Safety, and  a union representative worked together to identify gaps and make further improvements to our program that would provide a better understanding and a more supportive experience for our staff, as well as enhance the tools offered to assist management in administering the program.

“The program is not punitive in nature. Instead, it offers a safe environment for managers and employees to work together to improve attendance while promoting a culture of support,” said Murdoch. “It also compliments our Hospital’s commitment to staff development, engagement and wellness.”

The newly enhanced program has led to a positive downward trend in employee sick time, with an approximate 12% improvement. “With more employees achieving optimal attendance, our patients benefit – not only through consistent, quality patient care, but through the correlated financial savings that can then be reinvested into front-line services,” said Murdoch. “This is just one of the ways that we achieve our vision of Healthy Together.”