Respectful Behaviours: “I always wear my smile. I like to help others and it’s important to show it.”

Respectful Behaviours: “I always wear my smile. I like to help others and it’s important to show it.”

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By: Mario Tacardon, Patient Care Assistant, Surgery

I’ve been passionate about helping people for as long as I can remember. That’s always been my goal.

‘Respect your co-workers perspectives – you can learn a lot that way.’

My career in service began years ago in the Philippines. I was a police officer in the narcotics division. I would volunteer, on my own time, to visit grade five and six students and talk to them about drug prevention. I learned early on how important it is to work together and respect your co-workers perspectives. You can learn a lot that way.

Seventeen years ago I moved to Canada and my wife and I settled down with our kids, I wanted to continue to help people. I love connecting with people, hearing their stories, and bringing positive energy. Healthcare seemed like a perfect fit.

After completing a Personal Support Worker course and working with seniors in the community for many years, I accepted the role of Patient Care Assistant (PCA) at Michael Garron Hospital. Now, I feel so lucky to be helping patients in East Toronto. I’ve been here for 10 years.

‘We respect that we each have something to bring to the table’

As a PCA, I work directly with patients to take care of their personal care needs and daily routines, including bathing, dressing, hair washing and more.

The role of the PCA works very closely with nurses and team members to support patients and lend a hand on the unit. I can see clearly that everyone on the team has so much skills and knowledge to share. We work as a team. It’s never ‘my patient’ or ‘your patient’ – we address the needs of our patients together and respect that we each have something to bring to the table.

‘It’s important not to make assumptions’

As a team, we always pitch in and help when we can. We might not always agree, but we still know that we need to listen to each other. Then we can raise concerns in a respectful way.

Everyone has their own style and perspective, so it’s important not to make assumptions. Ask for opinions, ideas – listen – and be proactive about helping out. For example: raising safety concerns or unit repairs at huddles and even offer some solutions. I also try to cover the phones if someone is busy and it’s ringing and I give my team member the heads-up that a patient is asking for them.

It’s the little acts and gestures that can make the biggest difference. Bring positive energy, love what you do and respect the people you work with. There is no hard job as long as you love it.

I always wear my smile. I like to help others and it’s important to show it.

Physician-Assisted Dying & the Michael Garron Hospital: Let’s Start a Conversation

By Dr. Kevin Workentin, Maureen Taylor, PA & Lorrie Hamilton, RN
Many of you will have followed the story last week of the Ontario man known only as A.B., who had advanced lymphoma and applied to the courts for the right to have a physician help him die. He was granted that right on March 17, 2016. He exercised it the very next day, which spoke to the intolerable suffering he experienced.
Carter Decision
With the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) ruling on physician-assisted dying (PAD), now widely known as the Carter decision, Canada will join the ranks of other jurisdictions in Europe and the United States where patients who meet certain strict criteria will have the right to access medicines that will end their life.
The ruling comes into effect for all Canadians on June 6th, although medically-assisted deaths have been allowed to proceed in Quebec since January, as that province had already passed provincial legislation. In addition, the SCC said that patients in other provinces who meet the criteria for an assisted death now, and feel they cannot wait until June 6th, could apply to the courts for an exemption. This is how A.B. had his request granted.
Protecting the Vulnerable
While this is unchartered territory for Canadians, there are almost two decades of experience with assisted dying in Oregon, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The SCC relied heavily on evidence from those other jurisdictions when it ruled unanimously to strike down the Canadian law prohibiting medical aid in dying. The SCC was satisfied that there was no evidence of a so-called “slippery slope” in those jurisdictions and that law makers in Canada could come up with adequate safeguards to protect the vulnerable.
Two panels of experts, one federal and one provincial/territorial, have issued reports to provide governments and regulatory colleges with recommendations on how medically assisted dying should be implemented. The federal department of justice is currently reviewing all of the recommendations as well as the SCC decision and it’s expected that Ottawa will table legislation in the House of Commons in the next few weeks.
The MGH Task Force
Here at MGH there was recognition that while the Carter decision presents many challenges, both morally and operationally, the reality is that after June 6th, this will be a legal option for patients who meet the criteria. While this is certainly a time to pause and reflect on our own perceptions of what it means to die with dignity, we must also begin to prepare for the legalization in a few months.
With an emphasis on responding to the changing health needs of our community, a Task Force was struck to consult, explore and create a framework on how PAD could be delivered to patients once the new law comes into effect.
Recently we engaged clinical staff, including physicians, nurses, interprofessional health providers and medical learners at MGH in an online survey. We are gathering their views and perspectives on this issue.
We wish to stress that the SCC decision protects the religious and conscience rights of individual health care professionals who do not want to participate in the provision of PAD. Our Task Force will certainly be recommending that these rights be respected.
At the core, Patients
All of us at MGH have the best interests of patients uppermost in mind when we provide care.
We respect patients’ autonomy when it comes to decision-making.
We support their decisions even when they may not be in sync with our personal beliefs.
And we have every confidence that as we face the challenges of honouring the wishes of patients who seek assistance in dying, we can do so with the same spirit of respect and caring as we do in other ethically-difficult medical situations.
As patients approach the end of their life, the Carter decision has required us all to reassess our responsibilities as a health care community. Physician-assisted death can only exist in the context of a system that has accessible, timely and expert palliative care. As a result, a main focus of the PAD Task Force is to ensure improved access, awareness and use of this very important service.
Over the next few weeks our Task Force will be holding a series of one hour discussions for staff on PAD and how it will be accommodated at our hospital. As we head into this unfamiliar territory, it will be a time to review how PAD works in other jurisdictions and share updates on the federal and provincial legislative developments.
Most importantly, it will be a chance for all of us to reflect on how we can provide the best patient-centred care to our community.
More Information
If you would like to read more about physician-assisted death, please see:
Special Joint Committee on Physician Assisted Dying
Provincial/Territorial Report
Federal Expert Panel on Options for a Legislation Response to Carter vs. Canada
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Interim Guidelines on Physician Assisted Death
Guidelines for Nurses from the College of Nurses of Ontario
Guidance to Pharmacists from the Ontario College of Pharmacists

Together we’re growing a Baby-Friendly Ontario

Together we’re growing a Baby-Friendly Ontario

By Linda Young, Director Maternal Newborn & Child and Baby-Friendly Initiative Lead

A few months ago, I was in Red Lake Ontario. I bet you’re scratching your head wondering where that is.
With a population of roughly 4,300 people, Red Lake is just a smidgen of a town about 530 km northwest Thunder Bay.
What was I doing?
I was in Red Lake running our eighteenth Baby-Friendly Implementation workshop. And I remember stopping at the most northern traffic light reflecting on how proud I was. Here I was in a small remote northern Ontario town promoting global, evidence-based practices around breastfeeding.
Did you know that you work in only one of three Baby-Friendly designated hospitals in Ontario?
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a World Health Organization best practice that has been proven to increase breastfeeding rates and in turn, improve the health of our population.
Getting this designation was no easy feat.
We had to develop new policies, educate staff on breastfeeding and implement practices to better support new families. We’ve partnered with community partners including Public Health to increase consistency of messaging and normalize breastfeeding in our community.
We’re so proud of this work!
To add more icing to the cake, we’ve also received funding from the province to share our knowledge and teach other hospitals and community health services across Ontario to become Baby-Friendly.
In total, we are supporting over 370 organizations across Ontario!
We have called it the BFI Strategy for Ontario, and we’re working in partnership with the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health and the Best Start Resource Centre at Health Nexus.
To date, we’ve criss-crossed the province on planes, trains and automobiles delivering workshops, like the one in Red Lake, to over 25 communities and hundreds of health care providers. We have also presented our work to a provincial Think Tank held by Perinatal Services in British Columbia.
This past week we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week in Canada and we organized our first cross-country Tweet chat #babyfriendlychat. It was a great success and we engaged with 65 people across Canada on Twitter – all spreading the word about what they can do to make their communities more Baby-Friendly.
It is a time for our hospital to celebrate our Baby-Friendly designation and our leadership role in the provincial initiative. Be proud! Let’s encourage our colleagues and partner organizations to adopt Baby-Friendly – together we’re growing a Baby-Friendly Ontario!