Patient Safety starts with you and me

Patient Safety starts with you and me

By Wolf Klassen VP, Program Support
@WolfKlassen

 

Whether you’re on the frontlines of care, maintain equipment in our hospital, create food plans for patients or manage a clinical area, we all have an important role to play in ensuring the safety of our patients and their families.

 

Recently I spent time with some of the staff in Diagnostic Imaging. They shared how they keep patients safe everyday. Have a watch.

 

 

Keeping patients safe starts with each of us. We all have a role to play. It starts with asking, listening and talking. It starts with you and me.

 

We work in a busy hospital. I know sometimes it’s difficult to remember to ask, listen or talk. But by remembering to engage in these simple actions, we keep open communication with our patients, understanding their needs and how we can make them feel most comfortable.

 

Of course, we should extend these courtesies to our colleagues as well. And by doing so, we’re not only fostering a culture of trust and safety, but also creating a caring culture – one that looks after the health of our own staff and employees. In fact, by investing in the mental, physical and spiritual health of our staff, we’re laying a strong foundation for delivering the highest quality and safest patient care.

 

Let’s ask, listen and talk. It’s worth the effort. It makes a difference.It’s Patient Safety Week in Canada, but let’s continue to ask, listen and talk every day. Thank you for doing your part in helping to keep our patients safe.

 

Happy Patient Safety Week!

Putting ourselves in others’ shoes

Putting ourselves in others’ shoes

By Wolf Klassen, VP Program Support & Emily Ambos, HR Generalist
 
As healthcare providers we all have an important role to play in ensuring that all patients have a positive experience. In order to do this, we must foster empathy – that ability to “put ourselves in another person’s shoes.” No matter who they are, where they live or how they live, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, kindness and respect.
 
At MGH, we pride ourselves on providing staff with the tools they need to not only provide great care, but also foster an LGBTQ-inclusive environment. (LGBTQ is short for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.)
 
As many of you have seen, finding LGBTQ-inclusive environments can be challenging in many parts of the world. In this country, province and city, we celebrate and welcome all diversity.
 
It’s the right thing to do and it’s the MGH way.
 
We’re proud to partner with The 519 Church Street Community Centre to support a thought-provoking training session that helps staff better understand the issues facing the LGBTQ community, as well as provides them with the tools to provide inclusive care.
 
Many of us may not have lived experience, but a program like this enables us to have an open mind and be able to “put ourselves into the shoes” of the people we help.
 
Many of you took part in our most recent training. Have a watch.
 

 
Happy Pride!
 
Join us on Twitter:
@WolfKlassen
@EmLAm115

A journey that’s never complete

A journey that’s never complete

By Wolf Klassen, VP Program Support
Michael Garron Hospital, formerly Toronto East General Hospital
 
Every year many of us make New Year’s resolutions and goals. We aim to change old habits, start new endeavors and make improvements. We strive to be better. At the hospital, we also go through a similar quality improvement process. We’re continuously striving to be better.
 
At MGH / TEHN we have a strong culture of improvement. We’re continuously evolving to meet the changing needs of those we serve. We revaluate and tweak our Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) on a yearly basis, ensuring everyone is on the same page and that we’re on a path towards success.
 
Our improvement journey is never complete.
 
This year we have a unique opportunity to highlight the culture of improvement we have at MGH / TEHN and the great services we provide. On June 13-16 2016, we’ll be visited by surveyors from an organization called Accreditation Canada. Don’t stress, it’s not a test. Accreditation is your opportunity to shine!
 
To help prepare us to talk about the great work we do, Sarah Downey and I are launching a video series called The Adventures of Sarah and Wolf. These light and sharable videos will be released once every month and will highlight a major Accreditation theme. The theme for January is communication. We encourage you to share this video with your peers and start the conversation about why communication is important in healthcare.
 
As providers, we implement several safety measures to help keep our patients safe. These actions are embedded in what we do and are vital to the care we provide.
 
For instance, when a patient is admitted to our hospital we use communication to help keep them safe.

     

  • We consult with the patient, family members and a pharmacist to create an up-to-date medication list and understand the patient’s full medication history
  • We ask the patient for two identifiers to ensure the right patient is receiving the right care
  • We maintain ongoing communication with the patient, staff and other healthcare providers regarding the patients care plan and current status.

These interactions are just a few examples of how we use communication to ensure exceptional, seamless care. Sarah Downey and I want to say thank you for your hard work and ongoing commitment to safety and quality!
 
Safety is the key to quality.
 
Please stay tuned for more Adventures of Sarah and Wolf as well as our Dispatches from the Frontlines series.
 
Follow me on twitter @WolfKlassen

Let’s talk about it

Let’s talk about it

By Wolf Klassen, VP Program Support
Michael Garron Hospital, formerly Toronto East General Hospital
@wolfklassen
 
BellLetsTalk
 
In the hustle and bustle of your busy day, I want you to try something.
 
Pause. Take a breath and look around for a moment.
 
Chances are someone you know or work with lives with, or is affected by a mental health condition.
 
Here’s a rough “By the Numbers” look at mental health illness in Canada:
 
• Each week 500,000 Canadians call in sick as a result of mental illness;
• Today 1/5 Canadians live with a mental health condition;
1 in every 2 Canadians will be affected by mental illness before age 40.
 
As you know, at MGH, we’re committed to providing the best patient-centred care to our community. And in order for us to accomplish this, we need to ensure you are all mentally and physically healthy. A mentally and physically healthy staff is one of the foundations of great care.
 
When we design and deliver staff wellness programs, we know and understand that wellness must reach beyond the gym door to our frontlines. From training and development, sustainable support programs, like Compassion Fatigue and Emotional Intelligence, councils for collaboration and innovation, opportunities to contribute to the way we work empowers our staff.
 
It enriches us. It enriches our culture.
 
At MGH, we understand the importance of social connection.
 
We strive to build a culture of support and we continue to be a leader among our peers nationally and in Ontario.
 
On January 27th we will celebrate a culture of reaching out- of talking about mental health. Bell Let’s Talk is a day to engage in a national conversation about mental illness.
 
So…let’s talk about it. And let’s continue this conversation. Every day.
 
Every time someone stays silent, stigma wins.
 
A lot of your colleagues are already talking about it. Are you? Have a watch here.
 
We all owe it to our families, fellow staff members and to our patients.
 
To join the conversation go to #BellLetsTalk. Also, come to the entrance of the Café on Four on Wednesday, January 27 between 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to have your say and join the rest of your colleagues in the national conversation to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
 

Building on the Momentum we’ve Created

Building on the Momentum we’ve Created

By Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support
 
I’m an early riser.
 
What you may not know is that I typically start off my mornings, in the gym or on my bike. For me, my 5 a.m. workouts are a time to focus and create momentum for the day ahead.
 
In scientific terms momentum is a “mass in motion,” a force. But in the sense that I’m using it, momentum can also be described as a necessary force for success.
 
And as I write this, I just received an alert on Twitter telling me that we just picked up another award from the Regional Geriatric Program called the “Patient Voice Award of Excellence.”
 
This award recognizes that at the heart of all that we do, despite all the noise, we hear is the patient voice, guiding our initiatives and programs.
 
What an achievement.
 
This is just one of the many awards we’ve won in recent months. Here are some of the others.
 
You could say, we’re on a roll…we’re building momentum.
 
I know this momentum has been building for some time.
 
And it’s our collective desire to do the “right thing” for our patients that drives this force. The “right thing” means investing in a supportive and safe environment that nurtures both the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff.
 
I know in the hustle and bustle of the season, we sometimes forget what we’ve accomplished. We need to celebrate our wins and capitalize on the momentum we’ve created.
 
I’m proud of the achievements we’ve made to make our hospital one of the best places to work. Congrats to you all.
 
Here are some of the people who’ve helped to create our award-winning hospital.
 

Join me on Twitter @wolfklassen and please check out TEGHBlog.com.

Lessons from the Airline Industry

Lessons from the Airline Industry

By Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support
 
These days, when most of us get on a plane, we don’t typically give a second thought to how such a large, steel machine is able to get off the ground, fly thousands of kilometres and then land safely.
 
If you think it about it, it’s pretty awesome. And if you actually pause for a moment, during the process and watch, you’ll see there’s a lot of moving parts; lots of people involved; and a lot of checks and balances.
 
Last week I had the privilege to present the great work we do at TEGH at three separate conferences in Vancouver and Kelowna. I also had the opportunity to visit my son who is studying out west. On the flight home I took a few moments to observe the process.
 
Like many other high-risk industries, the airline industry has come a long way to improve the safety of air travel and virtually eliminated error.
 
How, in such a short time, have they accomplished this?
 
For starters, they’ve empowered everyone involved in the process of flying to share accountability for the safety of the flight. From the baggage handlers to flight attendants, maintenance crews, pilots, security and to air traffic control, all contribute to making sure my plane took off and landed without a glitch.
 
And more importantly, any one person along the chain of command would have been empowered to stop my flight if they saw something wrong.
 
Well, much like in the airline industry, here at TEGH, we all play a role in addressing safety concerns when we see them. In fact, there isn’t a role in the hospital that doesn’t have an impact on safety. We all need to know how and when to complete an incident report and what gets done with them after we complete them. We all need to know how important hand washing is and when we need to do it. We all need to know what we can do to minimize the risk of violence in the workplace.
 
And we will all have the opportunity to refresh our safety knowledge this week as we celebrate Canadian Patient Safety Week.
 
Let’s don our gloves, wave our bleach wipes, wash our hands and give a big cheer to celebrating what we do to keep patients safe. We’ll be hosting a number of activities and education sessions to help us brush up on our knowledge.
 
*Patient Safety Fair, G2 Conference Room, Wednesday October 28th, 11:00 am -2:00 pm
 
*Lunch & Learns: G2 Conference Room
Monday: Workplace Violence – Physical Manoeuvres Refresh (12:00-12:30 p.m. & 12:30-1:00 p.m.)
Tuesday: Do you hear that? Alarm Fatigue at TEGH (11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Thursday: Learning from Incident Reporting (11:45 a.m. -12:15 p.m. & 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
 
*Road Shows:
Critical Incidents: when do I call my manager? (Monday)
Patient Videos (Tuesday)
Positive Patient ID and Specimen Collection (Thursday)
 
*CPSI Virtual Forum Webinars: Risk Boardroom
Thursday & Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm.
 
Please join us! We all have a role to play to ensure that every patient’s plane takes off and lands safely!
 
Safety is everyone’s business.
 
Please join me on Twitter @wolfklassen

It’s in the TEGH DNA to Give

It’s in the TEGH DNA to Give

By Wolf Klassen, Vice President, Program Support
 
As I stepped off the elevator to WoodGreen Community Services, I heard the faint strains of old waltz tunes and laughter. It got louder and louder as I approached the community room.
 
Opening the door, I was greeted by over a dozen seniors. They were all smiles – having a hoot line dancing!
 
It’s just your typical Tuesday at WoodGreen Community Services.
 
The group meets weekly as part of the Community Care East York Seniors Centre. The Centre’s seniors program not only keeps participants active, but also socially engaged. Woodgreen is just one example of the services supported through the United Way that helps to keep our community healthy.
 
This year, after roughly a 10-year hiatus, we’re re-launching a United Way campaign at Toronto East General Hospital. The goal of our campaign is to increase awareness about the United Way and raise funds to support their work.
 
From October 21 to November 13 you will have the opportunity to participate in events to support the campaign. We’ve chosen to focus our fundraising efforts on “Building Healthy Communities.” This means that money raised will support vital social programs that improve people’s lives and strengthen our communities most in need of support.
 
Here are some dates to put in your calendars today…and dig for those Toonies now!

  • October 21 – $2 “Tooney” Pancake Breakfast in Café on Four – 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. (official launch at 9:15 a.m.)
  • October 30 – Haunted House – 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the “mock rooms” on Café on Four
  • November 13 – Closing Ceremonies – 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Coxwell Lobby

Throughout the campaign, you can send a colleague a “cookie-gram” and purchase a lollipop for your chance to win one of a number of exciting prizes, including dinners and hotel stays!
You may also choose to make a one-time donation to the United Way or sign up for a pledge (regular payroll donations) online.
 
We give ourselves to care for patients, families and one another each and every day. It is in the nature of the work that we do.
 
It’s in our TEGH DNA to give.
 
Please follow me on Twitter @wolfklassen