A Look Back at 2017


10 – OR Gets Piercing Removal Equipment Thanks to Family CARE Grant Program

Show up with a piercing when you’re scheduled for surgery at the Hospital and you won’t be too popular – at least with the team in the Operating Room at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. That’s because piercings are a real safety issue for patients undergoing surgery. However, thanks to a Family CARE grant last year, staff in the OR now has access to specialized equipment to remove piercings that may remain; critical in emergency situations. Grants are funded thanks to generous donors to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and thanks to funding from the Volunteer Association to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Each year, approximately $60,000 is made available to fund ‘the little things’ that can make a big difference to care.


9 - Research Ethics Boards Align

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Lakehead University have officially strengthened the research ethics review process. A new reciprocal agreement leverages the strengths of each organization’s Research Ethics Board (REB). Previously, applications had to be approved by both REBs. Now, applications to conduct research will be reviewed for approval by the most appropriate REB, which can result in a quicker review and response. For example, a Hospital physician who has a clinical affiliation with Lakehead University requires the approval of just one REB to conduct clinical trials research. A learner at Lakehead University wishing to interview Hospital staff about the impact of student placements will find the single application process more efficient.


8 – Two Popular Events Hit Fundraising Milestones

This year saw two of Thunder Bay’s very popular events hit fundraising milestones. Back in February, the Bearskin Airlines Hope Classic raised over $3M for local breast cancer education, diagnosis, treatment and research! And in June, the Tbaytel Motorcycle Ride for Dad surpassed $1M raised in its history –supporting the Northern Cancer Fund for prostate cancer care! Kudos to event organizers, sponsors and participants in each of these events for their ongoing support and enthusiasm.


7 - Province Supporting New Data Centre to Provide Better Access to Electronic Health Records

Ontario announced that it is investing $1 million in a new regional data centre in Thunder Bay. The new data centre, supported through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), will provide health care providers with better access to patient records, enhancing health care coordination and delivery for patients in the Northwest. The new data centre (which will be located in the 4,500-sq. ft. facility in the nearby Health Services Centre building) will meet current industry standards for reliability, backups and security. The project is expected to create five jobs locally.


6 - Ojibwe lessons creating a more welcoming environment

Boozhoo. Miigwech. A simple greeting. A few familiar words spoken in your own language. They can go a long way to make you feel more comfortable and at ease when you're away from home. That's why our Hospital offers Ojibwe lessons to staff and volunteers. It's part of a commitment to enhance a welcoming environment for indigenous patients and families.   The lessons, delivered by certified Native Language instructor Esther Diabo, provide cultural teachings as well as Ojibwe language and were structured for a health care environment.


5 – Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope Celebrates 25 Years

It was a sight to see in September as over 400 women filled the ballroom at the Victoria Inn to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope. This year’s luncheon had a local focus, with organizers choosing to profile local breast cancer survivors and healthcare professionals. While each speaker had a unique message, two themes emerged; that of hope and an ever-changing landscape in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.  The Tbaytel Luncheon of Hope has been raising funds specifically for breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and research in our community for 25 years; making it one of Thunder Bay’s longest-running events. This year’s event raised $32,688.45, bringing the 25-year total to $394,688.45.


4 - Vascular Surgery and On-Site EVAR Advance Cardiovascular Care in Northwestern Ontario

The implementation of vascular surgery and on-site endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre was a major milestone in the establishment of a full cardiovascular surgery program for Northwestern Ontario. The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Honourable Bill Mauro, MPP, made a special visit to our Hospital to help celebrate the exciting advancement in comprehensive cardiovascular care.  EVAR is a minimally invasive surgery in which a modular stent graph is inserted into the femoral artery and passed up into the weakened part of the aorta. Prior to this development, patients requiring this potentially life-saving procedure had to travel outside of the region to access the service. A great thanks to our donors who supported the funding of the specialized equipment needed to perform EVAR.


3 - Going Digital: New Process for Order Sets at the Hospital will Improve Patient Care

When patients are admitted to hospital, the next steps in their health care journey are identified and recorded. This system, called order sets, ensures everyone involved in the care team is informed and follows the same instructions. To improve the process, the Hospital is saying farewell to paper and is adopting digital order sets. This further improves workflow and patient care, and is part of the hospital’s commitment to adopt standardized processes, tools, templates and resources that support quality care.


2 - Government of Canada Invests $1.85 million to Support Advanced Medical Research and Innovation in Northwestern Ontario

Back in March, the Government of Canada announced that it was investing $1.85 million to enable the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute  to purchase equipment and implement new technologies in the area of probe development and bio-marker exploration (PD&BE). Specifically, the new research equipment will be used in the discovery of new bio-markers and to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatment protocols utilizing isotopes produced at the Health Research Institute’s Cyclotron. This funding will enable the Health Research Institute to establish formal partnerships with industry, pursue opportunities for contract research and clinical trials, and enable a variety of new research and development (R&D) projects. It will also help the Health Research Institute become an international demonstration site able to host visiting scientists and health care professionals from around the world.


1 - Hospital’s Cardiovascular Surgery Program Receives Provincial Support

People in Northwestern Ontario will soon benefit from increased access to important health care services and reduced wait times thanks to Ontario’s support for a comprehensive cardiovascular surgery program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was at our Hospital on Tuesday, July 12th 2017 to announce new construction and renovations to house the new program. It is estimated that the program will cost approximately $32M to implement, with about $10M of that funding to be raised through our community. Once fully operational, the program will provide care closer to home care for approximately 1,000 patients in Northwestern Ontario each year. The Hospital is working in partnership with the University Health Network, who has been instrumental in our efforts to expand and improve our comprehensive cardiovascular care program. Working together, we can ensure access to the highest quality of care, close to home.

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