Protect yourself and get your free flu shot

The free flu vaccine will be available in Ontario starting this week, so that people can better protect themselves against the flu virus and stay healthy.

The vaccine will be available at doctor’s offices, local public health units and community immunization clinics. Anyone five years of age and older can also be vaccinated for free by trained pharmacists at approximately 2,600 pharmacies across the province.

Influenza is a serious respiratory infection that can lead to hospitalization and even death. It’s important to get the flu shot every year to protect yourself, and those around you. Children under five, pregnant women and seniors are especially at risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. The vaccine is very safe and helps to protect against the most common strains of the virus.

People are also reminded to take everyday measures to protect themselves from the flu:

Clean your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, not your hand

Clean and disinfect surfaces often, such as countertops, telephones and keyboards; flu viruses can live on surfaces for up to eight hours

Preventing the flu through immunization is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

QUICK FACTS

In 2015-16, approximately 2,500 participating pharmacies administered more than 869,000 doses of publicly funded influenza vaccine.

The flu vaccine is offered free of charge to anyone over the age of six months who either lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario.

Children and youth between the ages of five and 17 years can get the flu vaccine as an injection or nasal spray at a health care provider’s office, local public health unit or at a participating pharmacy.

Kids under five years of age must get the flu vaccine at a health care provider’s office or participating public health unit.

Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, headache and tiredness. If you or your children develop flu symptoms, contact your primary care provider.

Spiritual care supports patient care at MAHC

In honour of Spiritual and Religious Care Awareness Week October 17-23, 2016, Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) is proud to recognize members of the community who play a role in supporting patient care at the hospitals.

In August, MAHC welcomed Spiritual Care Practitioner Karen Hamra to the care team. Karen became a certified Chaplain in 2015 when she completed her clinical pastoral education through the University Health Network.

Driven to become a Chaplain through her own personal journey in the health care system, Karen recognizes the valuable supportive role that the Chaplain has when people are in need. She is a Chartered Accountant by background with a Masters of Ministry and Spirituality from the University of Toronto and a Diploma in Spiritual Direction from the University of Toronto. Karen also holds a Masters of Education in Human Relations and Psychology from Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“Spiritual and Religious Care Awareness Week is an opportunity to recognize the value of religious services and spiritual care and to recognize those who provide the care,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer. “MAHC is fortunate to have the incredible support of the Muskoka Chaplaincy Association sharing the cost of providing a dedicated Spiritual Care Practitioner at our sites, and is blessed with a strong network of nearly 50 faith leaders and spiritual care visitors who make themselves available to support patients during times of need.”

Research shows that spiritual care is an important part of the recovery process. The multi-faith and non-denominational chaplain supports patients, families and staff during scheduled times at both sites.

Outside of the scheduled hours, a 24/7 chaplain service is provided upon request from within the community. Pastoral care by faith-specific representatives is also available upon request to patients with a particular religious affiliation.

To learn more about spiritual care at MAHC, please visit MAHC’s website.

West Muskoka Food Bank is on the move

The West Muskoka Food Bank is on the move.

The decision came after a council vote on Friday, after food bank organizers signalled that they needed more space.

More from the food bank’s Terry Chute:

“This morning (Sept 16th) the council of the Township of Muskoka Lakes gave final approval of the move of the food bank from the First Muskoka Church to a new location in the Glen Orchard Community Centre located directly across from the Glen Orchard Public Elementary School.

We are sad to say good bye to the First Muskoka Church location and the generosity of the folks there who have provided us with accommodation for the past 5 years. However they have assured us of their continued commitment to our cause and their blessing. We thank them very much for helping us get started.

As our programs grow and client base increases we find ourselves in need of more space. The basement of the community centre is ideal for this. There is lots of room to house all of the food bank in 1 room. In addition there is potential for starting a thrift store and/or a community kitchen in the future. Access is improved with fewer stairs. The location is right across from the school where a number of our client families attend.

Be assured that, although we are no longer in a church building, we remain a faith based organisation committed to welcoming and loving people of all faiths or no faith at all.

We will be moving next Thursday am from 9:00 – 11:00 am. If you have time to help us then or help pack boxes a few days before, please call Marilyn at 705 644 4345. Thank you.”

Breastfeeding supports available to Ontarians

Resources Include Phone Support and Local Services

During World Breastfeeding Week, new mothers and mothers-to-be in Ontario are reminded that there are provincial supports available to help them breastfeed.

“The majority of moms in Ontario want to breastfeed. It’s convenient, healthy and a great way for moms and babies to bond. World Breastfeeding Week is an important time to encourage moms to make use of the many services available in this province to help them continue breastfeeding.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

The World Health Organization recommends infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives. This means that the baby receives no food or drink other than breast milk. But it can take time and practice for both moms and their babies to learn how to breastfeed. That’s why Ontario has invested in support programs across the province, including:

Telephone support: Ontarians can get confidential breastfeeding support, advice and referrals from registered nurses with specialized breastfeeding training 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One-to-one coaching and referrals to local community services are provided. Call toll-free at 1-866-797-0000.

Local supports: Ontarians can find local breastfeeding support service through a searchable online list. This list includes breastfeeding services located in local Community Health Centres, Public Health Units, Aboriginal Health Access Centres, and other community based organizations.

Investing in breastfeeding supports is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

QUICK FACTS

Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies, including: better overall health, protection from illness and infections, healthy brain development, maintaining a healthy body weight and proper jaw and tooth growth.
Breastfeeding also has benefits for mothers including: controlling bleeding after baby’s birth, reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis
The Baby-Friendly Initiative is a globally recognized standard for infant feeding and breastfeeding promotion, and supports exclusive breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact within the first hour of birth.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

World Breastfeeding Week 2016
Learn more about breastfeeding
Ontariobreastfeeds.ca
Healthy Kids Strategy
Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care

MAHC wins award for electronic health record project

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) has earned a 2nd place award for Excellence and Innovation in Project Execution for Cerner Implementation in recognition of MAHC’s Electronic Health Record project.

The award was presented during the Advancing Clinical Excellence Award Gala in April in Québec City as part of the Canada Collaboration Forum event, and includes a $1,000 donation that has been split between the Huntsville Hospital Foundation and the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation.

Cerner’s Advancing Clinical Excellence awards recognize partners that have demonstrated excellence in implementing and adopting health care information technology (IT) that provide quality solutions for documenting patient care and enhancing workflow processes. MAHC’s submission demonstrated how the system has provided benefits to clinicians and patients, enhanced interprofessional collaboration and enhanced processes, and increased efficiencies.

MAHC successfully implemented the Cerner Electronic Health Record system in partnership with the Grey Bruce Information Network in June 2015. The new electronic system involved interfacing nine different electronic applications that are used in nearly every clinical area of the hospital. It was the result of months of behind-the-scenes preparatory work by numerous staff across the organization to design and build the system to meet MAHC’s needs and months of training to hundreds of front-line staff and physicians. As a teaching hospital, nursing students, allied health students, medical students and residents receive a more comprehensive, hands-on learning experience with electronic charting.

“By implementing and adopting this technology, we have created more timely access to patient results, which allows faster clinical decision-making and interventions. We have also improved work processes and standardized documentation to improve patient safety and reduce risk,” says Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased to be recognized for the hard work that has been done to implement this technology.”