PAPHR looking at improved wait times, suicide prevention

Jodi Schellenberg
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Emergency wait times and suicide prevention are just two of the priorities the health region have for the upcoming year.

Prince Albert Parkland Health Region CEO Cecile Hunt

During the most recent Prince Albert Parkland Regional Heath Authority meeting, three priorities for the 2014/2015 fiscal year were identified.

“One centres around the emergency room and patient flow in acute care,” said Cecile Hunt, CEO of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. “That is a pretty specific goal -- we want 75 per cent of urgent patient … to be assessed by the physician within one hour.

“The second priority is around increasing the number of family physicians working with a primary health care team and to support them in the provision of comprehensive primary care to their patients,” Hunt added. “Our third priority is to ensure that all sector of our health region, all programs, are using a suicide prevention framework.”

She explained the three priorities all contribute to either the provincial outcomes for 2017 or the current provincial priority to have patients admitted to an acute care bed within five hours.

“We are trying to align with the provincial priority of the emergency room and patient flow,” Hunt said. “We have also had in the past and continue to work on a primary care, both in our urban and rural centres.

“Primary care is very tied to emergency room flow and patient flow,” she added. “If patients often don’t have a primary care provider, they often feel that the only place they seek services is in an emergency room.”

The health region wants to work with the family physicians in both urban and rural centres to create a comprehensive package of health services in primary care.

In addition, the third priority surrounding suicide prevention is also important to patients, families and communities because it is also tied to improving the quality of care.

“Also we know that the province is looking to improve outcomes to mental health and addictions patients,” Hunt said. “Making sure all of our programs use the suicide prevention framework will improve the care that all provide to their patients.”

Their priorities tie in with some of the improvements the health region has already been making through the rapid improvement workshops around the emergency room, lab, diagnostic imaging and how patients flow in acute care.

Hunt said although they tie in, the emergency room is impacted by primary care, long-term care access and a whole continuum of health care services and many of the concerns patients have about wait times and other inefficiencies have to be looked at through this lens.

“We see these three priorities as perhaps not being totally aligned but are all going to support the quality of care our patients receive,” Hunt said.

The health region is also working on a hospital renewal, which may be connected to the work they are planning for this year.

“The hospital renewal is going to impacted by some of this work,” Hunt said. “What we improve today will help us in the design in the future.”

In addition, PAPHR is also planning two pilot projects, which have not yet been finalized.

“We are improving the primary health care team,” Hunt said. “These folks -- be it mental health counsellors or diabetes educators -- are individuals who will work with physicians in two clinics to improve an integrated primary care strategy.

“The two clinics have not yet been finalized, but it is important to work with our family physicians, both in rural and urban Saskatchewan.”

Organizations: Prince Albert

Geographic location: Parkland, Saskatchewan

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