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e-Pulse newsletter for August 2012

News this month:
GRH surgical oncologist introduces small-incision liver surgery to Waterloo Region

   Dr. Mohamed Husien is a surgical 
   oncologist at Grand River Hospital.

Smaller incisions have brought more comfort to select liver cancer surgery patients, thanks to Dr. Mohamed Husien.

A surgical oncologist and specialist in liver and pancreatic procedures,
Dr. Husien has started providing laparoscopic liver cancer surgery at Grand River Hospital this summer. The procedure involves small incisions and specialized instruments to remove cancerous portions of a patient’s liver.

While GRH has provided laparoscopic surgery for years, Dr. Husien’s procedure is a first for liver cancer patients in the region.

“In conventional liver cancer surgery, we would require an incision across the abdomen of 25 to 30 centimetres,” he explains. “A laparoscopic procedure requires an incision of only six or seven centimetres, just the size of a hand. Through this, we are able to remove masses of two to three pounds.”

For patients whose cases can be treated this way, smaller incisions mean a much more comfortable experience.

“We began providing this procedure when we could find sufficient evidence showing the outcomes would be equal to or better than conventional procedures,” adds Dr. Husien. “Patients generally experience less pain, a shorter hospital stay by one or two days and a faster overall recovery.”

Grand River Hospital plays a vital role in surgical oncology, and is the region’s centre for complex hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery. Surgical care is an integral part of the hospital’s cancer program.

“GRH is working to be competitive with other cancer centres in Ontario in providing highly-specialized care. We want to ensure patients have high-quality procedures with excellent outcomes, closer to home,” says Dr. Husien.
Improving medication care… improving surgical outcomes
Inpatient surgery registered practical nurse Justine Kniechewsky prepares medication in the unit’s new quiet “no interruption” zone.

GRH is borrowing from the hotel industry to cut medication errors, with strategically-placed “do not disturb” signs when staff are doing critical work. 

“Most people who arrive for surgery, whether planned or emergent, are concentrating on the actual procedure,” says Robinne Hauck, program director of the surgical program. “Our focus on the inpatient surgery unit is to provide safe, effective care before, during and after their procedure and this includes how medication is managed on the unit.”

Grand River Hospital’s surgical inpatient program has developed a unique and easy solution to improve overall care and safety by changing how medication is prepared for patients.

While managing the care for high volumes of patients, staff on the bustling unit identified that nursing staff dealt with multiple interactions at the same time as they’re entering medication orders or getting medication ready for patients.

Staff analyzed total medication errors over a three month period on the surgical inpatient unit. The study revealed that up to a third of the mistakes were linked to distractions from avoidable interruptions.

Staff members have created a “No Interruption” policy, that uses signs and special uniforms to identify areas in which staff are not to be interrupted while doing certain work.

Areas where surgical staff members are preparing medications for patients are indicated through “no interruption” signs. Additionally, care providers updating medication orders onto patients’ charts wear clothing that clearly identifies them to ensure they are not disturbed while performing vital work that involves intense concentration.
“We’ll be reviewing our error rates again in a few months to see if we’ve achieved this goal,” says Robinne. “Changes like these are simple to implement and can have a great deal of impact on improving patient safety. Staff are better able to focus on the task at hand and provide safer care.”
New wheelchairs arrive at GRH

Sandy Osmond shows one of GRH’s new transport wheelchairs which provide patients with a safer, more comfortable way of getting around the hospital.

Patients at GRH are getting around with more zing these days, thanks to 21 new Staxi® transport wheelchairs! 

The hospital has a high demand for wheelchairs. GRH staff worked hard to choose the right chairs for patients’ wide-ranging needs. The new chairs arrived in July.

“The designers put a lot of thought into what patients need and how a wheelchair can help,” says Sandy Osmond, the customer service specialist at GRH’s KW Site.

The transport chairs look much different than a traditional wheelchair. For example, the frame of the new wheelchair provides a firm but comfortable seat for patients. Standard wheelchairs have a leather seat that can sag over time.

The transport chairs don’t collapse but “nest” like grocery carts, saving space in the busy KW Site front lobby. Footrests that would disappear from previous chairs are permanently installed on the new chairs.

Conventional wheelchairs have two brakes that the operator must remember to engage, and can wear out after on-going use. The Staxi chairs use one brake that automatically engages, and is easily released via a lawn mower-like handle. The brake is designed to last longer.

“There’s a bit of a learning curve for using the chairs,” adds Sandy. “But our volunteers have helped patients with the chairs get where they’re going. Our conventional wheelchairs still have clinical value so we will maintain a mix of inventory.”

The GRH Foundation would like to thank local service clubs and many community donors for supporting the purchase of these new wheelchairs at GRH.
10 tips to safer surgery
Having surgery can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. So it’s important to be well prepared.

Grand River Hospital provides client-focused surgical services to ensure patients receive safe and consistent care from their physician’s office right through to discharge from the hospital. Patients also play a huge role in ensuring safer surgery.
“Patients are a critical factor in their care,” explains Robinne Hauck, program director for Grand River Hospital’s surgical program. “Those who are engaged and informed are better able to participate in their own care and recovery.”

That’s why it’s vital to be well prepared. Below are some tips that can help you or a loved one prepare for surgery:

1. Share all of your health history with your surgeon and health care team.

2. Discuss all medications you are taking, both prescription and non-prescription.    
3. Eat as nutritiously as possible before your surgery.
4. Exercising – if you are able - before surgery will help your recovery.
5. Quit smoking before surgery.
6. Ask your surgeon or health care team any questions you have...we’re here to help!
7. Follow all of the instructions you’ve been given.
8. Let your surgeon know if you feel unwell before your surgery date.
9. Be sure you understand exactly what you are having done.
10. Arrange for help at home for after your surgery.

“By following these 10 tips, patients can be more involved in their care and ensure that they have safer surgery”, says Robinne.
GRH honours employee award winners Janet Sauder RN and Dr. Alexander Feroze

“She shows up at work to do something she loves to do.” That was one of the excerpts from the form for Janet Sauder’s nomination to become GRH’s July employee award of excellence winner.

Janet Sauder, RN

Dr. Alexander Feroze

A GRH veteran for 37 years and current day surgery nurse, Janet has also worked at the hospital in medicine, inpatient surgery and the pre-admission clinic.
Janet’s nomination form pointed out her qualities, which include:
  • Her professional demeanour, and always helping to put her patients at ease;     
  • Being a great resource for the team, always willing to lend a hand;
  • Always being sure her patients have all of the necessary information before being discharged; and
  • Always having a smile on her face, and being a great team player.

Meanwhile, Dr. Alexander Feroze has become the first emergency department physician and the second member of the medical staff to win GRH’s award of excellence.

Dr. Feroze has practiced in the emergency department for the past six years. Some of his qualities listed in his nomination include:

  • Accepting responsibility easily, always being truthful with patients and peers; 
  • Putting the best interest of the patient first, and listening attentively;
  • Being committed to the team, a great problem solver, compassionate and supportive;
  • Having a contagious positive attitude, helping all to cope more easily with day-to-day challenges; and
  • Being knowledgeable and enthusiastic while treating all with dignity.

Congratulations to Janet and Dr. Feroze for your outstanding service to patients and Grand River Hospital!


GRH Foundation raises funds to replace an important diagnostic tool

Here at Grand River Hospital, there’s a high tech piece of medical equipment called a colonoscope. And while standard in any hospital today, technological advances have made them even more powerful.

A colonoscope is an instrument used to examine the large colon.

A colonoscope is a flexible instrument used to view the entire length of a person’s large colon, to find potentially cancerous polyps and remove them on the spot. This procedure helps patients avoid surgery and its related complications. What’s extraordinary is that the results are sometimes known the same day. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples are taken and sent to the lab. Prior to the use of colonoscopes, colon cancer was a silent killer - impossible to diagnose until it was too late.
Grand River Hospital currently has a number of colonoscopes that are approaching the end of their useful life. With an estimated 24 to 26 colonoscopies done each day, these machines are running constantly. If scopes break down, patients are forced to wait.

Grand River Hospital is hoping to raise $135,000 this year for two new colonoscopes and other scopes that are vital to patient care. These include:
  • A gastroscope;     
  • Hystero/rectoscopes; and
  • Laproscopes.

Having the finest equipment at our fingertips allows us at Grand River Hospital to fulfill our promise to provide world-class health care to people living in Kitchener-Waterloo.

Please help us save more lives today. Click here to help us replace scopes for Grand River Hospital and provide the ultimate in health care for our community.


GRH coming events
Tuesday August 21st, 4pm: GRH board meeting: Freeport Site board room (Village Centre, level two). For more information, please call Karen Taylor at 519-749-4300 extension 2201.

Tuesday August 21st: Chill Bar and Grill Golf Tournament at the Grey Silo Golf Club: this tournament will benefit the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre and Children’s Wish Foundation. For more information, please call Penny Peppas at 519-746-6642.

Saturday September 1st: Grand River Hospital Foundation Ride for Cancer: take part in this ride with some of cycling’s greatest celebrities including Steve Bauer and former Olympian Curt Harnett. It will raise funds to support cancer programs and patient care for those living with cancer. For more information visit www.grhfcycling.ca

This fall: Grand River Hospital’s district stroke centre’s Living with Stroke Program: the program is a six-week community-based support and educational program designed for stroke survivors and their caregivers to gain confidence in managing the challenges of living with stroke. There is no cost for the program. It will be in offered in Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph. For more, please call Sandra Goodyear at 519-749-4300 ext 2735.

September 18th to 22nd: International Plowing Match: this five-day event will celebrate traditional rural skills and talents, including quilting, cooking, and of course plowing and farming! Proceeds will support interventional radiology improvements at GRH. For more information, please visit www.ipm2012.ca

Tuesday September 25th, 4:30pm: GRH board meeting: Freeport Site board room (Village Centre, level two). For more information, please call Karen Taylor at 519-749-4300 extension 2201.

September 26th to 30th: Ride of Your Life Tour. Members of Waterloo Region Police Service Team 3C (Cops Conquering Cancer) will ride 640 kilometers from Kitchener to Ottawa, raising funds for Grand River Hospital and Cancer Centre. For more, please visit http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1009310
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