It was a good year for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, full of ups and some downs.
© Herald file photo
PAPHR CEO Cecile Hunt looked back on some of the challenges and successes the health region had in 2013 and mentioned a few things the health region is looking forward to in 2014.
On Monday, PAPHR CEO Cecile Hunt looked back on the past year and highlighted what the health region is looking forward to in the new year.
“In 2013, we were very pleased to open the Parkland Integrated Health Centre in Shellbrook,” Hunt said. “That is a brand new facility that is providing acute care, long-term care and community services to the community of Shellbrook and surrounding area. That certainly was a very important step forward in the region this year.”
There was also an important step forward in the mental health and addictions services, she said.
“We were also very happy to open the new Family Treatment Centre and the Child and Youth Mental Health inpatient unit,” Hunt said. “Those are two new programs. The children and youth have moved over from the adult programs and have a brand new home in the same building as the Family Treatment Centre.
“That is a very positive outcome for both our mental health and addictions services for the entire region,” she added. “The Family Treatment Program is a provincial initiative and so we provide care to citizens and patients from across the province.”
On the infrastructure side, those were two very positive initiatives the health region was pleased to receive provincial support for, Hunt said.
There were many other successes for the heath region, especially in surgery, she said.
“We met and have been meeting our goal of patients not waiting more than three months for surgery,” Hunt said. “Certainly the wait times, that has been a very important initiative, and meeting the needs of our surgical patients, not only in our region but those who are referred from outside our region.
“We’ve gotten some significant support from the province and we recognize that it is because of that support, as well as our physicians and our staff really being focused on this,” she added. “The credit goes to our staff, our physicians as well as the provincial support.”
The implementation of the LEAN Management system has also given PAPHR more successes, she said.
“We have looked at Rapid Improvement Workshops (RPIWs) in the operating room, as an example, around turnovers,” Hunt said.
Other RPIWs investigated things such as how long the turn over is from when a bed is vacated to when a new patient can be put in it and reducing the wait times for assessment in the emergency room.
“All of our Rapid Improvement Workshops have given us some pretty clear direction on where we need to continue to look for improvements,” Hunt said.
The RPIWs have had a huge impact on the health region as a whole.
“I think what we have all gotten out of RPIW is the need to work together as a team, “Hunt said. “I think that has really helped us focus on getting some of the best solutions forward is through teamwork, it is through thinking outside of the box and bringing some focus to our challenges.”
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) have been in a problem in the health region, but Hunt feels they have made some progress this year.
“PAPHR is part of a provincial strategy around HIV,” Hunt said. “That has given us again, as a community, provided us with some additional resources to provide some very focused intervention around HIV and other STIs.
“We, as a region, have had opportunities to work with other providers and I think that has also been part of the success story.”
There have also been some challenges the health region faced through the year, she said.
“While we have had some successes in recruiting rural family physicians, certainly challenges remain,” Hunt said. “We recognize there will be some ongoing turnover and we need to be prepared to address those.
“We recognize without an adequate number of family physicians in our rural communities primary care access will continue to be our problem,” Hunt added. “While we talk about family physicians we also know that recruitment of other specialized individuals, such as nurse practitioners and a variety of other staff, continue to be a target for us. We need to stay focused on recruiting not only family physicians, nurse practitioners, but a host of other specialists.”
Nurses in the rural areas is an area the health region will need to focus on in the future, Hunt said.
There are a lot of areas Hunt is looking forward to continuing work on in 2014, including the opening of the new Pineview Terrace, a long-term care facility in the city.
“That is going to replace the 34 long-term care beds that are currently in Pineview and will give us an additional 26 long-term care beds -- a total of 60 brand new beds for our community of Prince Albert and surrounding areas is going to be a very important development when it opens later in 2014,” Hunt said. “We would hope by May or June that we will be able to plan to transfer our existing residents and prepare for new admissions.”
There are also development plans for a collaborative emergency centre in Spiritwood.
“That was announced in the Speech of the Throne in the fall and we are working with our clinicians in Spiritwood community and municipal partners as well as the staff at the Spiritwood site to prepare a plan that would see us have a phased strategy to that implementation,” Hunt said.
The plan would phase in primary care, followed by daytime hours and nighttime coverage and finally assessing the inpatient bed capacity needs.
“I think we also look forward to looking at the capacity at the Victoria Hospital,” Hunt said. “We know that there are challenges there and that the lack of space is complicated by individuals who are waiting for long term care in acute care environment.”
She hopes the opening of the new Pineview Terrace will bring some solutions to that problem, but they are also working closely with the province for other solutions.
“The region is also, as part of a provincial strategy, looking at a patient first and home first strategy to try to get patients back home into their own communities if they need assessment for long-term care,” Hunt said. “We are really trying to get individuals in a supportive environment in their own homes as a first step. We look forward to that being implemented and waiting to evaluate its effectiveness.”
Other issue they hope to deal with next year is the attendance as a region, she said.
“We have some continuing challenges around our attendance as a region and we have some very early successes with our wellness initiative, but we do recognize we need to do more to assure financial sustainability and we will be in early January implementing another time approval process,” Hunt said. “We are really trying to hone in on why does the region have overtime, where are the pockets of concern and what are our solutions for that.”
She is looking toward the future with a positive attitude and said she hopes they can make more improvements in the future.
“We recognize we have a lot of work to do in 2014 but we had lots of successes in 2013 and we are going to build on those,” Hunt said. “Where challenges exist we are really going to focus on how we can do things differently. I think the LEAN management system for us has provided us with another tool to look at our areas of concern and seek opportunities for improvement.”