FAQs:

Safety & Quality Care

Our Commitment to Excellence: Enhancing Safety & Quality in Care

How will the new proposed multi-site regional hospital enhance the quality of patient care?

The proposed multi-site regional hospital is designed to significantly enhance patient care quality by integrating advanced service delivery models, utilizing cutting-edge technology, and fostering expert collaborations. This system aims to make high-quality care both affordable and sustainable for the community.

  • Comprehensive Service Delivery: The new model will transform how services are distributed across multiple sites, ensuring that high-quality care is accessible and efficient.
  • Enhancement of Existing Services: It will maintain and enhance current programs, adapting to future health care demands and enabling continuous improvement of services.
  • Centres of Excellence: By consolidating expertise and resources from two existing sites, the system will establish centres of excellence that specialize in various aspects of care, thereby enhancing the overall quality and patient experience.
  • Technology and Community Integration: The use of advanced technology and stronger partnerships will enable the delivery of health care services beyond traditional hospital settings, reaching patients directly in their communities.
  • Sustainable Health Care Solutions: The focus on sustainability will ensure that the multi-site regional hospital remains robust and responsive to the evolving needs of the population, supporting long-term health outcomes.

 

What are the patient safety risks associated with the new model, and how are they addressed?

The new multi-site regional hospital has been rigorously designed with a focus on enhancing patient safety and minimizing risks. Concerns such as patient transfers have been thoroughly evaluated to ensure the highest standards of care are maintained across all facilities.

  • Expert-Driven Safety Measures: The model was developed with extensive input from user groups consisting of subject matter experts, ensuring that safety protocols are embedded in the system’s design and operation.
  • Safe Patient Transfers: Concerns about the safety of patient transfers have been proactively addressed. Recent changes to the proposed model significantly reduce the need for patient transfers unless they are in a stable and secure condition to ensure their safety during the transition.
  • 24/7 Emergency Services: Each site in the regional hospital will be equipped with a full-service Emergency Department, available 24/7, to handle urgent and critical medical issues, enhancing the responsiveness and effectiveness of emergency care.
  • Consolidated Services for Enhanced Care: The integration of services across the sites allows for more consistent and reliable care. Consolidating services under a regional model improves resource allocation and care continuity, reducing safety risks associated with fragmented service delivery.

 

Services

How are bed allocations determined at each location under the new model, and what is the rationale for these changes?

In the new multi-site regional hospital, the allocation of beds at each site is strategically designed to reflect the specialized focus of care provided, moving away from traditional metrics that prioritize the number of beds to more dynamic and patient-centered care approaches.

  • Shift in Health Care Delivery: The evolution of health care practices over the years has led to reduced hospital stays and an increase in day procedures. The focus is now on efficient treatment and rapid recovery, allowing patients to return home sooner.
  • Specialized Care Focus: Each site will specialize in certain types of care, influencing the number of beds:
      • Bracebridge Site: This facility will primarily offer ambulatory and outpatient care, including day surgery, diagnostic imaging, and medical day clinics. It will have 36 acute care beds, including 4 ICU beds and an obstetrical labour and delivery room, catering to less intensive, short-duration of care.
      • Huntsville Site: Geared towards more intensive inpatient services such as stroke rehabilitation, complex surgeries, and continuing care, this site will have 121 acute care beds, including a 10-bed Level-3 ICU, a 14-bed stroke unit, and 2 obstetrical labour and delivery rooms
  • Enhanced Emergency Care: Both locations will feature expanded 24/7 full-service Emergency Departments with 27 treatment bays, ensuring immediate and comprehensive care is available at all times.

 

How will the distribution of beds and facilities between the Huntsville and Bracebridge sites enhance health care delivery, and why is Huntsville designated for the larger facility?

The new multi-site regional hospital is designed to optimize service delivery without reducing the number of beds, actually increasing them, and assigning facilities based on the specific health care needs and geographic considerations of the larger community MAHC serves.

  • Net Increase in Beds: Contrary to concerns about reducing capacity, the new model will result in a net gain of 35 beds across MAHC. This expansion aligns with our goal to enhance health care provision and meet future demands.
  • Expansion of Facilities: Both sites will see an expansion of facilities, particularly in areas supporting outpatient services and day surgeries, such as operating rooms and procedure rooms. This expansion is intended to boost efficiency and cater to the increasing trend towards outpatient care.
  • Rationale for Larger Facility in Huntsville:
    • Geographic Centrality: Huntsville’s location is more central within the broader catchment area that extends beyond Muskoka, north to Sundridge, south to Severn Bridge, west toward Parry Sound and east to the Algonquin Highlands, making it a strategic choice for inpatient care.
    • Specialized Medical Services: The Huntsville site will continue to house the district stroke centre, necessitating specialized medical facilities and services that support its role in providing critical care and ensuring it remains a hub for acute medical treatments.
    • Comprehensive Stroke Care: The designation as a stroke centre requires the site to maintain specific services that facilitate comprehensive stroke care, which is critical for maintaining certifications and providing equitable access to specialized care in the region.
  • Role of Bracebridge Site:
    • Focus on Day-to-Day Care: The Bracebridge site will focus on delivering high-frequency outpatient services, such as diagnostic imaging and day surgeries, which are essential but less space-intensive than the specialized inpatient services planned for Huntsville.
  • Enhanced Emergency Services:
    • Expanded Facilities: Both the Bracebridge and Huntsville sites will feature expanded full-service 24/7 Emergency Departments to better meet the urgent needs of the community.
    • Increased Accessibility: Approximately 86% of the Muskoka region’s population will be within a 30-minute drive of these full-service emergency departments 

 

What is Alternate Level of Care (ALC) and how does this impact bed allocation? How is MAHC going to care for ALC patients now and in the future?

The proposed model for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) Capital Redevelopment addresses the needs of the ALC population with foresight and compassion. Currently, up to half of the existing beds across both sites are occupied by ALC patients, patients who no longer need intensive hospital treatment but still require ongoing care, with additional individuals at risk of becoming ALC patients. Recognizing the importance of balancing bed capacity, the provincial mandate for new hospitals stipulates a maximum of 20% for ALC patients.

In response to these challenges, the proposed model includes a vital reactivation unit at the Huntsville site. This unit is specifically designed to provide specialized care, enabling both ALC patients and those at risk of becoming ALC patients to maintain or improve their function and abilities. Hospitalization often poses a risk of functional decline, particularly for older patients, with studies indicating a significant decline in function after admission. Immobility during hospital stays can prolong recovery times and decrease the likelihood of returning home.

By prioritizing active and specialized care in the reactivation unit, MAHC aims to ensure that patients are prepared for discharge to their preferred destinations. Whether it be returning home or transitioning to a retirement home, the goal is to prevent physical decline to the point where these discharge options are no longer viable. This proactive approach, informed by the SF7 Toolkit v3 (2023) from the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, underscores MAHC’s commitment to promoting patient well-being and independence throughout their healthcare journey.

Requirements for a Hospital Reactivation Unit:

A Hospital Reactivation Unit is essential for patients transitioning from acute care, facilitating recovery, and preparing them for home or lower care levels. Key elements include a dining room for communal meals, access to a gym or rehabilitation staff for physical therapy, and activity spaces like TV lounges for recreation. Walking areas with rest spaces promote physical activity and rest, while a dedicated recreation coordinator ensures personalized engagement in rehabilitation activities. These types of features collectively support patients’ recovery, independence, and successful reintegration into their communities.

Why the Reactivation Unit is Designated to Huntsville:

Best practice suggests that patients have better outcomes when cared for in a specially designed unit with specialty staff focused on reactivation and rehabilitation. The synergy with the provincially designated stroke and rehabilitation beds makes Huntsville the most suitable location to provide the highest quality of care for these patients. Additionally, Level 3 ICU patients, requiring a longer stay, benefit significantly from a reactivation unit. These programs require the same resources, both staff and space, to care for all patients. Duplication of space or staff requirements would be impractical within both financial and human resource constraints.

Further Defining Alternate Level of Care (ALC):

Alternate Level of Care (ALC) denotes a scenario where a patient occupies an inpatient acute medical-surgical bed in a hospital but no longer necessitates the intensity of resources or services provided in this care setting. “Acute” in this context refers to the immediate and short-term medical attention typically delivered in a hospital setting. Essentially, ALC signifies that the patient has progressed beyond the acute phase of their illness or injury and requires a different level of care that better suits their current needs.

Seven Main Designations within ALC:

In the realm of Alternate Level of Care (ALC), patients are categorized into seven main designations, each tailored to their unique needs and circumstances. These designations provide direction to care providers on the next steps required in a patient’s care journey to ensure they are receiving the care best associated with their needs:

  1. Home and Home with Support: These patients require additional resources to facilitate their transition back home. Typically, services provided through the home care sector, such as Personal Support Worker (PSW), Nursing, or Rehabilitation services, are essential in ensuring a smooth transition.
  2. Palliative Care: For patients in need of medical or comfort care to support end-of-life planning, palliative care offers a compassionate approach. The focus here lies on enhancing quality of life measures, prioritizing comfort and dignity over acute medical interventions.
  3. Rehabilitation: Patients under this designation require specialized care aimed at maximizing their overall physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological, and social functions. Rehabilitation services are further subdivided into various types, including neuro, musculoskeletal, cardiac, geriatric, and others, tailored to individual needs.
  4. Complex Continuing Care (CCC) or Convalescent Care: This category caters to patients with complex medical needs that are not acute in nature. Specialized care is provided to address the unique challenges faced by these individuals, promoting their recovery and well-being.
  5. Mental Health: Patients requiring therapeutic services for addictions, psychological, behavioral, or emotional illnesses are provided with a designated bed for comprehensive mental health care. This approach emphasizes holistic treatment and support for mental well-being.
  6. Supervised/Assisted Living: For patients who can no longer reside independently in their own homes, supervised/assisted living facilities offer a supportive environment tailored to their specific needs and financial situation. Facilities like retirement and group homes ensure appropriate care and support while fostering independence and dignity.
  7. Long Term Care (LTC): Patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities requiring care beyond what is available in the community are provided with designated long-term care beds. Here, both medical and non-medical needs are met, ensuring comprehensive support for individuals with long-term care requirements.

Current Strategies Implemented to Assist ALC Patients:

  1. Behavioral Support Assistant (BSA): These specialists assist patients exhibiting behavioral issues related to their medical situation.
  2. Frailty Scale in Emergency Department: Early assessment of patients identifies high-risk individuals, allowing for timely intervention and appropriate care pathways.
  3. Hospital to Home Program (H2H): MAHC collaborates with the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team (MAOHT) and community partners to facilitate safe and early transitions home for ALC patients. This program has resulted in a notable 48% reduction in ALC patients transitioning to their homes rather than remaining in ALC status.
  4. Transitional Care Unit (TCU) with Hospice Muskoka: MAHC partners with Hospice Muskoka to provide specialized care for ALC patients in need of palliative care. This successful program has resulted in an 81% decrease in ALC transitioning to palliative care from the Bracebridge site.
  5. Seniors Assessment and Support Outreach (SASOT) Team: This community team in South Muskoka assesses, links, and refers eligible patients (65+) to services that enable them to remain at home.

Through active engagement with the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team (MAOHT), MAHC has established collaborative initiatives to support ALC patients and provide alternative care options beyond hospital settings. This ongoing partnership is vital for developing effective programs and services to meet the diverse healthcare needs of our communities.

Highlighting key programs aimed at reducing ALC at MAHC:

Remote Care Monitoring:

Our remote care monitoring program offers virtual daily checks for patients with conditions like Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), COPD, Diabetes, and COVID. Patients input vital signs daily, which are reviewed by local paramedics for early intervention, potentially reducing hospital visits.

Heart Function Clinic:

At our Bracebridge site, the Heart Function Clinic provides follow-up and education for patients with Congestive Heart Failure, ensuring personalized care for optimal heart health.

Surgical Transitions:

Our Surgical Transitions platform offers pre- and post-operative support for surgical patients, including daily assessments to address concerns and avoid unnecessary emergency department visits.

Mental Health Platform:

Our virtual Mental Health Platform allows patients to complete daily assessments monitored by mental health social workers for timely intervention and support.

Ocean eReferral Platform:

Our Ocean eReferral Platform streamlines referrals for diagnostics, specialists, and MAHC clinics, providing real-time updates and eliminating the need for faxed requisitions.

MyChart Patient Portal:

Our secure online MyChart Patient Portal offers personalized access to medical records, empowering patients to manage their health information conveniently.

Here are ways the community and public can show support:

Advocacy for New Programs and Services:

Advocate for the development of new programs, services, and facilities in Muskoka and surrounding areas to meet the needs of our aging population. Continued and sustainable funding is crucial to enhance the quality of care provided.

Advance Care Planning:

Consider advance care planning to ensure that individuals have a plan in place for managing their care if they are unable to do so at home. Discuss future care needs with loved ones and healthcare providers to create a comprehensive plan.

Join MAHC’s Patient, Family, and Caregiver (PFAC) Advisory Group:

Become a member of MAHC’s active advisory group to have a voice in shaping committees, programs, and initiatives. Your input as a community member is invaluable in ensuring patient-centered care. To learn more or apply to join PFAC: Patient and Family Advisory Council – Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (mahc.ca)

 

How will emergency, obstetrics, and other services be distributed and maintained at the Bracebridge and Huntsville sites in the new health care system?

The proposed model for Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) Capital Redevelopment addresses the needs of the ALC population with foresight and compassion. Currently, up to half of the existing beds across both sites are occupied by ALC patients, with additional individuals at risk of becoming ALC patients. Recognizing the importance of balancing bed capacity, the provincial mandate for new hospitals stipulates a maximum of 20% for ALC patients.

In response to these challenges, the proposed model includes a vital reactivation unit at the Huntsville site. This unit is specifically designed to provide specialized care, enabling both ALC patients and those at risk of becoming ALC patients to maintain or improve their function and abilities. Hospitalization often poses a risk of functional decline, particularly for older patients, with studies indicating a significant decline in function after admission. Immobility during hospital stays can prolong recovery times and decrease the likelihood of returning home.

By prioritizing active and specialized care in the reactivation unit, MAHC aims to ensure that patients are prepared for discharge to their preferred destinations. Whether it be returning home or transitioning to a retirement home, the goal is to prevent physical decline to the point where these discharge options are no longer viable. This proactive approach, informed by the SF7 Toolkit v3 (2023) from the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, underscores MAHC’s commitment to promoting patient well-being and independence throughout their healthcare journey.

Requirements for a Hospital Reactivation Unit:

A Hospital Reactivation Unit is essential for patients transitioning from acute care, facilitating recovery, and preparing them for home or lower care levels. Key elements include a dining room for communal meals, access to a gym or rehabilitation staff for physical therapy, and activity spaces like TV lounges for recreation. Walking areas with rest spaces promote physical activity and rest, while a dedicated recreation coordinator ensures personalized engagement in rehabilitation activities. These types of features collectively support patients’ recovery, independence, and successful reintegration into their communities.

Why the Reactivation Unit is Designated to Huntsville:

Best practice suggests that patients have better outcomes when cared for in a specially designed unit with specialty staff focused on reactivation and rehabilitation. The synergy with the provincially designated stroke and rehabilitation beds makes Huntsville the most suitable location to provide the highest quality of care for these patients. Additionally, Level 3 ICU patients, requiring a longer stay, benefit significantly from a reactivation unit. These programs require the same resources, both staff and space, to care for all patients. Duplication of space or staff requirements would be impractical within both financial and human resource constraints.

Further Defining Alternate Level of Care (ALC):

Alternate Level of Care (ALC) denotes a scenario where a patient occupies an inpatient acute medical-surgical bed in a hospital but no longer necessitates the intensity of resources or services provided in this care setting. “Acute” in this context refers to the immediate and short-term medical attention typically delivered in a hospital setting. Essentially, ALC signifies that the patient has progressed beyond the acute phase of their illness or injury and requires a different level of care that better suits their current needs.

Seven Main Designations within ALC:

In the realm of Alternate Level of Care (ALC), patients are categorized into seven main designations, each tailored to their unique needs and circumstances. These designations provide direction to care providers on the next steps required in a patient’s care journey to ensure they are receiving the care best associated with their needs:

  1. Home and Home with Support: These patients require additional resources to facilitate their transition back home. Typically, services provided through the home care sector, such as Personal Support Worker (PSW), Nursing, or Rehabilitation services, are essential in ensuring a smooth transition.
  2. Palliative Care: For patients in need of medical or comfort care to support end-of-life planning, palliative care offers a compassionate approach. The focus here lies on enhancing quality of life measures, prioritizing comfort and dignity over acute medical interventions.
  3. Rehabilitation: Patients under this designation require specialized care aimed at maximizing their overall physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological, and social functions. Rehabilitation services are further subdivided into various types, including neuro, musculoskeletal, cardiac, geriatric, and others, tailored to individual needs.
  4. Complex Continuing Care (CCC) or Convalescent Care: This category caters to patients with complex medical needs that are not acute in nature. Specialized care is provided to address the unique challenges faced by these individuals, promoting their recovery and well-being.
  5. Mental Health: Patients requiring therapeutic services for addictions, psychological, behavioral, or emotional illnesses are provided with a designated bed for comprehensive mental health care. This approach emphasizes holistic treatment and support for mental well-being.
  6. Supervised/Assisted Living: For patients who can no longer reside independently in their own homes, supervised/assisted living facilities offer a supportive environment tailored to their specific needs and financial situation. Facilities like retirement and group homes ensure appropriate care and support while fostering independence and dignity.
  7. Long Term Care (LTC): Patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities requiring care beyond what is available in the community are provided with designated long-term care beds. Here, both medical and non-medical needs are met, ensuring comprehensive support for individuals with long-term care requirements.

Current Strategies Implemented to Assist ALC Patients:

  1. Behavioral Support Assistant (BSA): These specialists assist patients exhibiting behavioral issues related to their medical situation.
  2. Frailty Scale in Emergency Department: Early assessment of patients identifies high-risk individuals, allowing for timely intervention and appropriate care pathways.
  3. Hospital to Home Program (H2H): MAHC collaborates with the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team (MAOHT) and community partners to facilitate safe and early transitions home for ALC patients. This program has resulted in a notable 48% reduction in ALC patients transitioning to their homes rather than remaining in ALC status.
  4. Transitional Care Unit (TCU) with Hospice Muskoka: MAHC partners with Hospice Muskoka to provide specialized care for ALC patients in need of palliative care. This successful program has resulted in an 81% decrease in ALC transitioning to palliative care from the Bracebridge site.
  5. Seniors Assessment and Support Outreach (SASOT) Team: This community team in South Muskoka assesses, links, and refers eligible patients (65+) to services that enable them to remain at home.

Through active engagement with the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team (MAOHT), MAHC has established collaborative initiatives to support ALC patients and provide alternative care options beyond hospital settings. This ongoing partnership is vital for developing effective programs and services to meet the diverse healthcare needs of our communities.

Highlighting key programs aimed at reducing ALC at MAHC:

Remote Care Monitoring:

Our remote care monitoring program offers virtual daily checks for patients with conditions like Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), COPD, Diabetes, and COVID. Patients input vital signs daily, which are reviewed by local paramedics for early intervention, potentially reducing hospital visits.

Heart Function Clinic:

At our Bracebridge site, the Heart Function Clinic provides follow-up and education for patients with Congestive Heart Failure, ensuring personalized care for optimal heart health.

Surgical Transitions:

Our Surgical Transitions platform offers pre- and post-operative support for surgical patients, including daily assessments to address concerns and avoid unnecessary emergency department visits.

Mental Health Platform:

Our virtual Mental Health Platform allows patients to complete daily assessments monitored by mental health social workers for timely intervention and support.

Ocean eReferral Platform:

Our Ocean eReferral Platform streamlines referrals for diagnostics, specialists, and MAHC clinics, providing real-time updates and eliminating the need for faxed requisitions.

MyChart Patient Portal:

Our secure online MyChart Patient Portal offers personalized access to medical records, empowering patients to manage their health information conveniently.

Here are ways the community and public can show support:

Advocacy for New Programs and Services:

Advocate for the development of new programs, services, and facilities in Muskoka and surrounding areas to meet the needs of our aging population. Continued and sustainable funding is crucial to enhance the quality of care provided.

Advance Care Planning:

Consider advance care planning to ensure that individuals have a plan in place for managing their care if they are unable to do so at home. Discuss future care needs with loved ones and healthcare providers to create a comprehensive plan.

Join MAHC’s Patient, Family, and Caregiver (PFAC) Advisory Group:

Become a member of MAHC’s active advisory group to have a voice in shaping committees, programs, and initiatives. Your input as a community member is invaluable in ensuring patient-centered care. To learn more or apply to join PFAC: Patient and Family Advisory Council – Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (mahc.ca)

 

How were decisions made regarding service distribution at each site in the new health care system?

The allocation of services between the Bracebridge and Huntsville sites was determined through a comprehensive and iterative planning process, guided by a diverse range of expert opinions, demographic studies, and strategic regional considerations.

  • Collaborative Planning Process: Decisions on service distribution were meticulously crafted with the involvement of User Groups, which consist of a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to creating an optimal health care model tailored to community needs.
  • Data-Driven Decisions and Scientifically Based Decisions: The planning incorporated complex layers of input, including demographic projections, health needs assessments, service volume forecasts, and geographical data to ensure services are strategically placed to serve the region effectively.
  • Geographical Considerations: The overall catchment area’s scope—stretching north to Sundridge, south to Severn Bridge, west toward Parry Sound and east to the Algonquin Highlands—was a crucial factor in deciding where to locate specific services to ensure accessibility and efficiency.
  • Specialized Service Requirements: The longstanding mandate of the Huntsville site as a District Stroke Centre by the Ministry of Health influenced its designation as a hub for stroke care, which requires specific adjacent services to maintain its status and provide equitable stroke care in relation to other centres in Barrie and North Bay.
  • Strategic Service Placement: The decision to focus surgical services at the Bracebridge site leverages existing regional program provider relationships, allowing for the development of a specialized surgical facility that enhances the system’s capacity to deliver high-quality care.

 

What is a Level 3 ICU and what are the benefits of adding one at MAHC?

Incorporating a Level 3 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at MAHC’s Huntsville site will significantly enhance critical care capabilities, providing the highest level of medical support to severely ill patients, reducing the need for transfers, and strengthening regional healthcare services.

  • Advanced Critical Care: A Level 3 ICU represents the highest level of intensive care available and is equipped to provide comprehensive care for patients with severe and life-threatening illnesses. This includes advanced respiratory support and multi-organ system management.
  • Regional Accessibility: Currently, the nearest Level 3 ICUs are located in Orillia and North Bay. Introducing such a facility in Huntsville will drastically reduce the distance critically ill patients need to travel for advanced care, ensuring timely and more accessible treatment.
  • Reduced Patient Transfers: With a Level 3 ICU in place, the necessity to transfer critically ill patients out of the region for specialized care will decrease, allowing patients to stay closer to home and their support networks, which is crucial for recovery and well-being.
  • Enhancing Regional Healthcare Capacity: The addition of this ICU will position MAHC as a key provincial resource for high-acuity patient care, not only serving the local community but also supporting broader provincial healthcare needs.
  • Support for Critical Care Staff Recruitment: Operating a Level 3 ICU requires highly specialized healthcare professionals. Having such a facility will aid in attracting and retaining skilled ICU specialists, including doctors and nurses, enhancing the hospital’s reputation as a leader in critical care.
  • Endorsement by Health Care Authorities: The initiative to add a Level 3 ICU is supported by the Critical Care Lead at Critical Care Services of Ontario, affirming its necessity and benefit to the healthcare system within and beyond Muskoka.

 

How were service locations decided for the Huntsville and Bracebridge sites, particularly for stroke and MRI services?

The stroke centre in Huntsville has been designated by the Ministry of Health for nearly 20 years. This ensures equitable access to stroke care among designated centers in Barrie and North Bay. The MRI services, also located in Huntsville, are co-located with the stroke services to support comprehensive care

  • Ministry Mandate: The Ministry of Health has mandated the Huntsville site as the hub for stroke services for nearly two decades.
  • Equitable Access: This strategic decision ensures that stroke care is consistently accessible and of high quality for individuals across the region.
  • Co-location Benefits: By co-locating stroke services with essential adjacent services like MRI, we enhance efficiency and effectiveness in delivering comprehensive care to patients.
  • Regional Impact: Maintaining this designation upholds a standard of equitable access to stroke care across designated centres in Barrie and North Bay, positively impacting the health outcomes of our community.
    • Long-Term Strategic Placement:
      • Huntsville as a Stroke Centre: The Huntsville site has been the designated District Stroke Centre for nearly two decades, mandated by the Ministry of Health. This designation requires Huntsville to host specific critical services, including advanced MRI facilities, to maintain its status and ensure that stroke care is consistent and accessible in alignment with other regional centres.
      • Complementary Services at Bracebridge: Conversely, the Bracebridge site is focused on building strong surgical capabilities, taking advantage of regional healthcare partnerships. This site is optimized for procedures that complement the acute care offered at Huntsville, rather than duplicating services.

 

Why is Huntsville getting the larger hospital?

  • Focus on Complex Care: Huntsville will specialize in providing long-term and more complex medical treatments, which require a larger facility to accommodate the specialized equipment and staff needed.
  • Range of Services: The larger site at Huntsville will support a broader spectrum of medical services, from acute care to specialized treatments, addressing more serious health conditions that necessitate extended stays.
  • Increased Ancillary Services: With a larger hospital, Huntsville will see an expansion in ancillary services crucial for supporting complex medical treatments and ensuring comprehensive patient care. Examples of such services include advanced imaging facilities, expanded laboratory services, larger outdoor and recreation space, and enhanced rehabilitation centres. The expansion of these services will likely result in a significant increase in the hospital’s square footage to accommodate the additional equipment and facilities.
  • Resource Optimization: The decision aligns with a regional strategy to optimize health care resources, ensuring that facilities are appropriately scaled to meet community needs effectively.

 

Will hospital services undergo changes prior to the construction of the new facilities?

Changes to hospital services before the new facilities are built will primarily involve strategic planning and incremental adjustments to ensure continuous improvement and readiness for the transition to the new health care model.

    • Long-Term Operational Planning: Over the next decade, detailed operational planning will be conducted to seamlessly integrate services into the new hospital sites once they are constructed. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the transition will be smooth and well-coordinated.
    • Maintaining Current Services: There are currently no plans to significantly alter existing hospital programs and services. The focus remains on preserving the high standards of care that the community relies on.
    • Adjustments to Staffing and Operations: Minor adjustments in staffing and operational practices may be necessary to align with evolving health care demands and to continue providing high-quality care. These adjustments will be thoughtfully implemented to enhance service delivery without disrupting patient care.
    • Expanding Community-Based Services: In anticipation of the new facilities, ongoing dialogues and planning efforts are focused on expanding and improving services beyond the physical confines of the hospitals. This includes strengthening community partnerships and developing programs that can be delivered in community settings, enhancing accessibility and continuity of care.
    • Continuous Quality Improvement: Throughout this transitional period, the emphasis will be on continuous improvement, leveraging feedback and innovative practices to refine services and prepare for a future where healthcare is more integrated and community-focused.

 

Transfers/Transportation

What transportation services will be implemented to facilitate movement between sites for outpatients, families, visitors, and staff?

As part of the regional health care model, a robust plan for managing patient transfers is being developed to ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and above all, patient safety across both intra-region and out-of-region movements.

  • Comprehensive Transfer Strategy: Recognizing the critical nature of patient transfers, the system is designed to streamline processes and integrate services between sites. Once the model is finalized, a detailed plan will be implemented, covering all aspects of patient transfers, including logistical and financial considerations.
  • Cost Management and Efficiency: The expansion in bed capacity at Bracebridge and the continued availability of obstetrical services will significantly reduce the necessity for acute patient transfers, thereby controlling operational costs and enhancing patient care continuity. However, all stroke and ALC patients will continue to be transferred to Huntsville, maintaining the necessary level of specialized care.
  • Safety Protocols for Transfers: The safety of patients during transfers is paramount. The policy mandates that no patient will be transferred unless they are stable and safe for transport. This includes stringent criteria for transfer eligibility to ensure that transfers are only done when absolutely necessary and medically justified.
  • Infrastructure and Support Systems: The addition of a Level 3 ICU at the Huntsville site is a strategic move to decrease the need for transferring critically ill patients to facilities outside the region. This, coupled with increased acute care capacities at Bracebridge, will specifically reduce the frequency of inter-facility transfers for acute patients.
  • Collaboration with Local Emergency Services: Ongoing partnerships with local emergency medical services (EMS) and the integration of a planned transfer vehicle are part of the strategy to enhance the responsiveness and efficiency of the transfer system. Engagement with third-party providers for non-urgent transfers is also being expanded to ensure comprehensive coverage and support.

 

Recruitment

How will the new multi-site regional hospital enhance its appeal to attract new physicians?

The proposed multi-site regional hospital is strategically designed to attract and retain top medical talent by offering state-of-the-art facilities, diverse practice opportunities, and strong educational partnerships that foster professional growth and excellence.

  • State-of-the-Art Facilities: Both the Huntsville and Bracebridge sites will be equipped with the latest medical technology and facilities, including advanced operating and procedural rooms. This modern infrastructure is designed to support the complex needs of varied medical specialties and appeal to both new and experienced physicians.
  • Diverse Practice Opportunities: Physicians will have the flexibility to engage in a practice that best suits their skills and interests, whether it be inpatient care with a focus on acute conditions or ambulatory care that emphasizes outpatient services. This diversity allows physicians to work at the top of their license and gain satisfaction from their practice environment.
  • Centres of Excellence: The multi-site regional hospital will include specialized centres of excellence, offering physicians the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge medical practices and treatments. This environment fosters professional development and positions the system as a leader in medical innovation.
  • Educational Collaborations: In partnership with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), the system is aligned with medical education, providing opportunities for physicians to be involved in training the next generation of medical professionals. This collaboration not only helps in retaining talent but also in cultivating a committed and skilled workforce.
  • Regional and Specialty Appeal: Feedback from regional specialty groups confirms that the new multi-site regional hospital is poised to become a highly attractive workplace for medical practitioners looking for dynamic and rewarding career opportunities.

 

How will the new multi-site regional hospital attract and retain staff, and what strategies are in place to address current staffing gaps?

The new multi-site regional hospital is strategically designed to attract a diverse range of health care professionals by offering advanced facilities, diverse working environments, and proactive staffing strategies that ensure both immediate and long-term workforce stability.

  • Attractive Work Environments: Both the Huntsville and Bracebridge facilities will be equipped with the latest medical technologies and designed as centres of excellence, offering staff the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment in either inpatient or ambulatory care settings. This modern infrastructure supports a high level of professional practice and is attractive to potential new hires.
  • Diverse Career Opportunities: The multi-site regional hospital provides a variety of career paths to suit different professional interests and lifestyles. Employees can choose between dynamic inpatient roles or flexible ambulatory positions, allowing them to find the perfect fit for their career goals and personal life.
  • Staffing Models and Growth Opportunities: Innovative staffing models are being developed to specifically cater to the unique focuses of each facility, enhancing job satisfaction and efficiency. Furthermore, the anticipated addition of more than 200 new roles means significant opportunities for employment and advancement within the hospital.
  • Ongoing Recruitment and Staff Development: To address current staffing needs and prepare for future demands, our recruitment teams are implementing creative and aggressive strategies to attract the best talent. This includes partnerships with educational institutions and leveraging cutting-edge recruitment technologies.
  • Commitment to Full Capacity Staffing: Leadership is committed to maintaining a full complement of skilled staff, ensuring that recruitment keeps pace with service expansion and community needs. This proactive approach is aimed at preventing and filling any staffing gaps promptly, ensuring that patient care standards are consistently met.