As we reflect on the last year, there are many examples of how we are working with our patients, families, partners and communities as one team to provide extraordinary experiences for the people we serve and create a more seamless and integrated system of care and caring.
We are proud of our leading work to partner with patients, families and community members, bringing their perspectives to decision-making through our new Niagara Health Engagement Network.
Accreditation Canada and Health Standards Organization’s acceptance of 17 Leading Practices for Niagara Health is another source of pride and demonstration of the ways our teams are positively impacting safe, quality healthcare.
Our Board of Directors’ leadership has been instrumental in strengthening our research and academic mission by further bolstering our partnership with Brock University. Our two organizations are collaborating in new ways to intensify our efforts in research and applied learning, which will increase opportunities to improve the overall health and well-being in Niagara and beyond.
We are also proud of the partnerships we have developed with St. Joseph’s Health System, Canadian Mental Health Association Niagara and many other organizations.
And our planning for the new South Niagara Hospital is moving forward. Our Board joined more than 1,000 Niagara Health staff, patients, families, partners and community members at design vision sessions for the new South Niagara Hospital. The design vision outlines the desired look, feel and purpose of the campus and hospital, and we are all impressed by the level of engagement from everyone attending these sessions. We have also received a lot of thoughtful feedback on the design vision through our online survey, and there will be many more opportunities to engage with our stakeholders on this significant investment in healthcare in Niagara.
We are inspired by the work happening inside and outside our hospital walls to achieve our vision of a healthier Niagara. We encourage you to read on to learn more about these and many other impressive accomplishments.
Members of our Niagara Health Engagement Network are part of our team, sharing their experiences and perspectives to help us deliver on our commitment of Extraordinary Caring. Every Person. Every Time.
Thank you to our partners, Bob Asham, Kirtan Kadia, Susan Gibson, Rose Dzugan and John Storm, and to our staff, Director Zeau Ismail, Manager Karen Paschert, Registered Nurse Karen Buckle, Director Sonia Pagura, Registered Practical Nurse Tristen Castro, Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Lee and Registration Clerk Cassie Edgar, and physician leader Dr. Julian Dobranowski for being part of the photo.
Our commitment to provide extraordinary caring to every person, every time is receiving national attention, demonstrating Niagara Health’s leadership in creating positive change in quality and safety. We received national recognition by Accreditation Canada and the Health Standards Organization for 17 Leading Practices following a rigorous evaluation process. These practices are people-centred, safe and efficient, and other healthcare institutions can look to our practices to make improvements in quality, safety and the care experience.
Providing high-quality, safe care is the No. 1 priority of Niagara Health, and we’re very proud to share this summary of our Leading Practices.
Our trained volunteers conduct surveys with patients in their rooms using a hand-held tablet. The technology, developed by our Information and Communications Technology team, allows us to understand the care experience for patients in real time and address any concerns on the spot.
We are using OTN to help connect patients through video to many of our Mental Health and Addictions programs. The network uses telecommunications technology to increase healthcare access for patients who are unable to travel to the sites where services are offered. This innovative system was used more than 7,000 times over the past year for many programs such as remote outpatient assessments, psychiatrist on-call assessments and various group therapies. It’s another example of how we’re extending care outside of the hospital walls and into the community.
The AHEAD program is built around an innovative hip replacement procedure that’s less invasive and reduces recovery time to get people back on their feet sooner. The procedure was brought to Niagara Health by Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. John Song. More than 600 procedures have been performed since the program launched in 2015, and we’ve seen high patient satisfaction levels. The AHEAD program is part of our continuing commitment to provide high-quality, safe care.
At the heart of our respectful workplace strategy is our Be Kind campaign, which has a clear link to our CORE value of Compassion in Action. This campaign, launched in 2017, promotes a safe, respectful, caring and inclusive environment and includes initiatives like Kindness Rocks, Pink Shirt Day and our Workplace Acts of Kindness Challenge. So far, more than 25,000 Acts of Kindness have been performed across our organization and in the community. The Be Kind movement has contributed to a reduction in workplace incidents and code of conduct incidents leading to improved engagement in the organization.
We provide the highest level of quality care by advancing a culture of safety and service excellence. We target initiatives to impact areas like medication safety, patient flow and quality of care. Our We Round initiative has helped reduce patient falls across the organization, as well as decreasing the number of pressure ulcers acquired in hospital. We continue to focus on making improvements with patient flow, as Emergency Department wait times and length-of-stay remain higher than our target. This work includes our focus on Transfer of Care, an initiative designed to improve patient flow and the patient experience.
We count on our teams to deliver extraordinary caring and we are proud to work with the absolute best. Our teams deserve to work in a respectful workplace that fosters critical thinking and innovative ideas. Our most recent employee engagement survey saw our highest-ever response rate with more than 2,300 employees and physicians sharing their vision for engagement. Both employee and physician engagement scores have increased by more than 50 per cent since 2014. Unit-Based Teams empower staff and physicians to make improvements within their own areas of work. Our grassroots Workplace Acts of Kindness Challenge reached a major milestone of 25,000 acts of kindness performed by 25 departments across the organization.
By investing in our hospitals – through people, equipment and technology – and working strategically in our community, we will create the future our patients deserve. Interconnectivity and innovation are key to achieving this future. Development has begun on the Niagara Health Navigator, Ontario’s first digital health ecosystem designed to protect patient privacy and security while connecting patients to their health data and to care providers in the region. We have made progress in planning for the South Niagara Hospital, which includes outlining program and service requirements, equipment and space needs. Taking care of the people who work here is also a priority. Progress continues to be made in reducing sick time and workplace injuries experienced by staff, physicians and volunteers.
We will collaborate and try new ways to deliver the best care to our patients and their families. Integrated Comprehensive Care enables us to reduce Emergency Department visits, readmissions and length-of-stay for patients. Bundling care for patients with hip and knee injuries is another way we have reduced length-of-stay and readmission rates. Niagara Health launched the Wellness Recovery Integrated Comprehensive Care Program in Mental Health and Addictions to help people fully understand their mental health needs and identify and develop strategies to improve their wellness. This will help reduce readmissions to hospital and visits to an Emergency Department for non-urgent mental health concerns.
Three-year-old Lucas Waring of Welland was the first patient to benefit from the Pediatric Tele-resuscitation system, our new partnership with McMaster Children’s Hospital. This first-of-its-kind system in Ontario uses video conferencing-like technology to allow emergency teams from Niagara Health and McMaster Children’s Hospital to remotely work together to care for pediatric patients who are critically ill.
Our new partnership with Brock University places a heightened focus on research that will help people stay healthy, improve both patient outcomes and the way healthcare is delivered, and create training and employment opportunities for Brock students and graduates. Together, Niagara Health and Brock will build on existing research, creating innovative ways to answer important questions that will improve the health of our region.
We teamed up with technology partners IDENTOS Inc. and nCipher to develop Niagara Health Navigator. This mobile application is designed to protect patient privacy and security while connecting patients to their health data and care providers.
We opened our new shared location with Canadian Mental Health Association Niagara at 264 Welland Ave. in St. Catharines. The location offers programs previously provided by our Adams Street Addiction Services and CMHA’s services in St. Catharines. Partnering under one roof improves care and access to mental health and addiction services for Niagara residents.
Our first-ever Research Day was a huge success. More than 100 researchers, students, academics and healthcare workers came to our St. Catharines Site to learn about medical research being done in Niagara. Dozens of researchers also competed in a research poster competition.
Our Difficult Airway Program was highlighted at the Difficult Airway Society’s Annual Scientific Assembly in Scotland. The pathway was created by our team to treat patients with a compromised airway in the fastest, safest way possible.
We were named a Top Employer in the Hamilton-Niagara region by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes employers in the Hamilton-Niagara area that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.
We have done a tremendous amount of work to make our Niagara Health Engagement Network meaningful and authentic. Our network provides opportunities for patients, families and community members to share their time, experiences and perspectives and help us make improvements in quality, safety and the care experience. Patient Partners choose the initiatives they work on based on their knowledge and experience.
Over the next three years, we will have a team of 75 Patient Partners. We look forward to welcoming people from various backgrounds and experiences to diversify the network and accurately represent the needs of our community. We are indebted to all of our Patient Partners for their passion and willingness to contribute to a healthier Niagara.
Approximately 88% in base and one-time funding was received from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and Cancer Care Ontario during the fiscal year.
Approximately 70% of total expenses are related to salaries, benefits and medical staff remuneration. Inflationary cost pressures for the fiscal year amounted to approximately $9 million and in addition $4 million of expense increases related to new or expanded program funding.
78% of expenses are related to direct patient care like nursing, pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, laboratory and therapies.
An additional 11% is related to support services like housekeeping, food and maintenance. The remaining 11% is for administrative costs.
75% of expenses are related to direct patient care like nursing, pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, laboratory and therapies.
An additional 14% is related to support services like housekeeping, food and maintenance. The remaining 11% is for administrative costs.
* Includes Acute, Complex Care, Long-Term Care, Mental Health and Addictions.
Thanks to the generosity of Niagara Health Foundation donors, $975,000 was raised for the replacement of defibrillators across all sites of Niagara Health. Did you know that defibrillators are the single-most important tool used during a cardiac arrest? That means that donors who supported this initiative are literally helping save lives!
You can support Niagara Health programs and services through a donation to Niagara Health Foundation. Niagara Health Foundation fundraises exclusively for Niagara Health, to support Priority Equipment Needs, Redevelopment Projects and Patient Programs not funded by the government. To learn more about how you can support a healthier Niagara, visit
or call 905-323-FUND.
David Murray and Liz Surtees are proud to be among the many donors who generously contributed to the Defibrillator Campaign.