South West LHIN Exchange Newsletter - March 2018

Margaret Trudeau to speak at South West LHIN Quality Symposium
The LHIN’s role in creating high quality coordinated health service delivery systems
Agencies join forces to create one entity for mental health and addiction services
Connecting the Dots in Huron Perth looks to caregivers to design a plan for support
Improving wound care for patients with diabetes

Margaret Trudeau to speak at South West LHIN Quality Symposium

Canadian icon Margaret Trudeau will share her remarkable life story of battling mental illness at this year’s South West LHIN Quality Symposium. From becoming a prime minister’s wife at a young age, to the loss of both her son and her former husband, to living with bi-polar disorder, Margaret shares her personal stories to remind others of the importance of nurturing the body, mind, and spirit.

Kirk Foat will also share his story of triumph over an opioid addiction brought on while coping with severe pain from a hand injury. During a vacation to the Caribbean, Kirk was the victim of an attempted robbery. While trying to escape, he cut his hand on a metal fence, and underwent four surgeries to rebuild his hand. To deal with the intense pain, his doctors prescribed opioids and he became addicted. Although he experienced severe withdrawal symptoms, Kirk quit all opioid pain relievers within seven months. He too will share his experience in the hopes of inspiring others.

This year’s South West LHIN Quality Symposium theme is focused on working together to better support people experiencing mental health and addictions issues through high quality, coordinated care. The event will take place on May 31, 2018 at the Stratford Rotary Complex.

Each year the Symposium brings over 400 health service providers and system partners together to advance quality and innovation in our health system. This year promises to be another exciting event. 

Participants are encouraged to sign up online by May 16, 2018.
For more information on the Symposium, please visit the South West LHIN website or contact Marilyn Robbins. 

The LHIN’s role in creating high quality coordinated health service delivery systems

We would like to thank our partners for continuing to work with us to move the Patients First agenda forward.

“We appreciate the commitment that we are seeing from partners coming together in support of Patients First,” says Kelly Gillis, Interim Co-CEO and Vice President of Strategy, System Design and Integration, South West LHIN. “We will continue to seek alignment in order to drive the important changes needed for patients and their families across the South West LHIN.”

Updates on how we are working with our partners to support Patients First:

Partnering with patients, families and caregivers: Our patient, family and caregiver partners will advise, collaborate and co-design an approach that will involve patients in health care planning across our region. Partners have met with established patient and family advisory groups across the South West to gather lessons learned to inform their work. Partners are also focused on creating effective strategies to embrace a strong culture of patient, caregiver and public involvement to support high quality care.

Fostering local change through sub-region work: Our sub-region work is focused on partnering with patients, providers and other stakeholders to improve local health care in our communities. Common improvement opportunities identified in all our sub-regions include: making care more accessible to patients; improving coordination among providers; supporting patients at all levels of care; providing culturally safe care; and ensuring patients are receiving the right kind of care.

Primary care working together as a coordinated sector: Primary care providers representing each sub-region of our LHIN are now working together to: function as one sector; improve collaboration with other health care partners; provide advice and recommendations to the LHIN; and drive the Patients First agenda forward. To date, work has been focused on the adoption of digital health technology such as eConsult, Hospital Report Manager, and Clinical Connect. Our clinical leads continue to enhance the South West Primary Care Alliance website with the hopes of making it the main information hub for South West LHIN physicians.

Driving clinical quality improvement across the South West: A partnership has been created to develop a local approach for clinical quality improvement. This collaborative group will work with the South West LHIN’s quality team and Health Quality Ontario to champion a culture of quality improvement with the hopes of enhancing patient care outcomes and experience, as well as value for money.

Working with partners to drive health system change: Partners representing the diverse population of our area will be advising the South West LHIN on region-wide implementation of Patients First, our Integrated Health Service Plan, and future health system planning. Partners include sub-region and patient/family representatives, as well as other influential health system stakeholders. Work is in its early planning stages.

We will continue to keep partners informed about Patients First work as we develop high quality, coordinated health care for patients and their families. For more information, please visit the South West LHIN website.

Agencies join forces to create one entity for mental health and addiction services

Patients receiving mental health care in Grey Bruce will now have a more coordinated way of accessing the right services.

An amalgamation agreement was recently finalized to officially mark the merger of the Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce, G & B House, and HopeGreyBruce Mental Health and Addiction Services in partnership with Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS).

“Each of the partners providing mental health and addiction services agrees that a single community health service provider, which builds on the staff expertise and program strengths of the existing organizations, will improve access and coordination for all clients,” says Sarah Cowley, Executive Director, HopeGreyBruce Mental Health and Addictions Services.

This coordination will reduce duplication in programming, improve consistent and timely access to care, simplify the process for accessing different services, respond to the needs of patients with dual diagnoses, as well as provide better care for newcomers, and marginalized populations.

Programs already delivered by community-based organizations will continue to be provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce. GBHS has several inpatient and outpatient programs. Only outpatient services will fall under the umbrella of the new organization, as many of these programs are already delivered in community offices throughout Grey and Bruce.

“We would like to congratulate partners for their dedication and hard work serving the needs of people living with mental health and addictions issues,” says Andrew Chunilall, Acting Board Chair, South West LHIN. “This merger is a great example of the kind of partnerships that can be created to better support patients in our region. We look forward to continuing to see progress with this partnership and others as we improve care for patients and families across our LHIN.” 

Effective September 1, 2018, the three agencies will officially join together to be the Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce

Connecting the Dots in Huron Perth looks to caregivers to design a plan for support

Unpaid caregivers make it possible for their loved ones to remain at home for as long as possible, regardless of illness or disability. That’s why the Connecting the Dots co-design team, made up of family caregivers and healthcare providers, came together to co-design a plan to better support and create awareness for caregivers in Huron Perth.

Often, caregivers are excluded from patient care conversations. This group looks at ways to recognize the caregiver in the patient experience and ensure their needs are being met. 

Some emerging themes are improved communication, stronger support and access to information, and educational training opportunities. Feedback helps to inform decisions that better support caregivers in the community.

Connecting the Dots is a three-year initiative that works to improve the lives of caregivers in Huron Perth. If you’re a caregiver or if you want to learn more about the project, read their newsletter for more information. Or, you can follow them on Twitter @CC_Connecting. 

Improving wound care for patients with diabetes

Province funding casts to treat diabetic foot ulcers

Ontario will now cover the cost of specialized casts to provide more support for patients with diabetic foot ulcers. The province is also supporting wound care training and education for health care workers, which will include specialized skills development in diabetic foot ulcer management.

“Wound care devices like foot casts can significantly improve quality of life by relieving pressure so the foot can properly heal,” says Samantha Colwell-Castles, Program Lead, South West Regional Wound Care Program. “Increasing access to casts free of charge will ultimately help many patients with their mobility and overall health.”

The South West LHIN has received new base funding to support the provision of offloading devices and to support the adoption of Health Quality Ontario (HQO) Wound Care Quality Standards. 

The service delivery model will follow a three-year phased approach (based on Diabetes Canada recommendations for service delivery) and include the development of a staff training workshop and mentoring program.

Five pilot locations have recently begun to deliver services. These sites already serve patients in their clinics who could benefit from the use of offloading devices.

Pilot sites are:
  • Chronic Wound and Skin Health Team, Parkwood Institute, Specialist Clinic;
  • London Diabetes Foot Clinic, Specialist Clinic;
  • St. Joseph’s Health Care Primary Care Diabetes Support Program;
  • Grey Bruce Health Services; and
  • West Elgin Community Health Centre.
Key components of the next two phases (over 2018 to 2020) include fostering collaboration between primary care providers, as well as community and specialist services.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact:
Samantha Colwell-Castles
Program Lead, South West Regional Wound Care Program, at