A joint message from the Centre Board Chair and President & CEO
Connecting Our Promise to Exemplary Care
Every time we interact with patients facing complex health challenges, their courage and hard work inspires us!
This past year, we refreshed our strategic priorities to build on our strengths and explore new opportunities that will help us continue to achieve our vision of “exemplary care inspired by innovation and exceptional performance” and deliver on our brand promise through 2020. Our strategic priority on providing Exemplary Care recognizes the essential link between our promise to patients and delivery of person-centred care.
The second strategic priority focuses on the development of an Integrated Campus of Care. We’re delighted that our new hospital development project continues to achieve significant milestones. This year, the request for proposal to three prequalified teams was released. Each of the teams submitted full proposals on the design, build, financing and maintenance of our new hospital facility. West Park and Infrastructure Ontario evaluated the submissions and will proceed to identify a preferred proponent this summer. The Centre looks forward to achieving financial close and breaking ground later this year.
Bold Partnerships, one of our new strategic priorities, recognizes that our ability to deliver exemplary care relies heavily on collaborations that leverage innovation, expertise and technology. In that regard, we are honoured that the Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation awarded research funding totalling $371,925 to three West Park projects under the Industry Innovation Partnership Program (I2P2). West Park clinicians and researchers are partnering with three private sector organizations to evaluate new technologies designed to improve care, as well as the experience and outcomes for our patients with dementia and cognitive impairment. (Scroll down to see a separate research spotlight story on these projects)
Our fourth strategic priority speaks to Operational Excellence, taking the lens beyond financial stewardship to ensure that we are striving for excellence in every aspect of the organization’s operations. With regards to financial stewardship, we finished the year in another surplus position despite significant financial limitations and growing demands for services. We are dedicated to ensuring our financial capacity to thrive, both now and in the future, through strategic investments and managing our resources carefully.
The last strategic priority, A Great Place To Be, recognizes the importance of ensuring West Park is a rewarding workplace environment for our employees, medical staff and volunteers. Our ability to deliver on all of our strategic priorities would not be possible without their dedication to excellence, and unwavering commitment to the people we serve.
At West Park, we are truly privileged to provide specialized services and programs that make a meaningful difference and help patients reclaim their lives.
Warren Law, Chair, Board of Directors
Anne-Marie Malek President and CEO
Providing exemplary care
Kim Verwaayen is getting her Life Back
Kim Verwaayen says her turnaround has gone so well, it’s almost unbelievable. Almost.
But seeing her today, just a few weeks into her inpatient respiratory rehabilitation, the 48 year old’s demeanor and energy speak volumes about her remarkable physical and emotional state. It’s a far cry from where she was just six months ago.
Late last year, diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and just 54 per cent of her lung function, the Women’s Studies professor at The University of Western Ontario was fatigued and embarrassed from coughing fits, often so severe they induced vomiting. Teaching, even socializing, seemed impossible and caused great amounts of anxiety.
“I used to be a vibrant, energetic and life-loving person,” Verwaayen said. “Before I came to West Park I would say I would give almost anything to get even a little bit of that person back.”
Verwaayen was referred to West Park, and remembers very clearly the day she arrived from London. “My father drove me in, and as we circled around campus to find parking, we saw these ‘Get Your Life Back’ signs, and when we saw the third one, we looked at each other and said out loud ‘Wouldn’t that be amazing’ and cried together.”
Verwaayen’s rehabilitation has been amazing, but not without hard work. “(The clinicians) work us hard so we can meet our expectations. And because everything is monitored closely I feel protected and safe to push myself.”
Teaching Verwaayen and other patients how to manage their conditions is also the key to recovery.
“Learning how to breathe, strengthen our muscles is simple but genius,” says Verwaayen. Each day she and other respiratory rehabilitation inpatients attend a group breathing exercise class, an exercise class and an education class to learn about nutrition, breathing aids and anxiety among other topics.
“They say it takes 21-30 days to establish a habit, so with West Park I want to be able to go home, keep up my exercises, interact with people and breathe well,” Verwaayen says.
The idea of going home is top of mind for Verwaayen. “For the first time I feel excited and hopeful,” she says. “Before West Park I couldn’t finish a three-hour lecture without coughing or sometimes vomiting. I just hope to have the same quality of life I have at West Park.”
The learnings and tools she’s acquired at West Park have given her a new lease on life. “I don’t have exactly the same life as before my illness, but I have the best life possible,” Verwaayen says.
“West Park is a miracle place. I wish everyone who is ill could experience what happens at West Park.”
A joint message from the Chief of Staff and the Chief Nursing Executive
Advancing Excellence Through Continuous Improvement
Over the last year, we focused on continuous improvements across the hospital to ensure we are providing exemplary care.
We have been in high gear over the last year, preparing for a thorough review by Accreditation Canada which we completed this June. The organization has set a goal to achieve our previous Exemplary Standing. The evaluation involves a rigorous, on-site inspection every four years to measure performance on more than 2,000 criteria including the quality of care, patient safety, infection prevention and control, medication management and governance. Clinical practice leads and best practice guidelines champions have updated over 70 priority policies and medical directives to ensure changes were embedded into clinical care practice. All members of our interdisciplinary team demonstrated their dedication to strive for excellence in every aspect of person-centered care across West Park throughout the accreditation process.
This year, we completed our seventh Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) that measures the hospital against targets we establish. We exceeded targets on four of five indicators. A best possible medication discharge plan was created for 96 per cent of patients, eight per cent higher than our baseline target. We were also pleased to see that 91 per cent of discharge summaries were sent to primary care physicians within two days of discharge, significantly outperforming the target of 74 per cent. A total of 95 per cent of patients completed the pulmonary rehabilitation program after receiving the discharge bundle, exceeding the target of 66 per cent by a wide margin. The length of stay efficiency indicator for patients with hip fracture in the high-intensity rehabilitation program also outperformed target.
One QIP indicator fell short. Only 50 per cent of complex care patients rated staff positively compared to the 70 per cent target. While we are disappointed, the goal of self-evaluation is to identify areas that need improvement and take action. We launched an initiative to engage patients, staff and families to identify contributing factors, opportunities for improvement and ideas for change. A follow-up survey at mid-year will confirm progress and we will carry this indicator forward to next year’s QIP. Across the hospital, we are actively hiring advanced practice nurses and engaging staff and patient experience advisors to inform recruitment practices and process improvements.
We are proud that West Park has maintained its designation as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario for the past 12 years. The designation recognizes organizations that are committed to evidence-based practice and implementation and evaluation of best practice guidelines.
We continue our firm commitment to teaching/learning excellence in support of student education and mentoring. Students from a variety of medicine and health professions programs advance their knowledge, skills and experience during their clinical placements. The Centre benefits from increased staff retention and recruitment and optimized patient and system outcomes.
With the Chief Nursing Executive role expanded to include interprofessional practice and clinical education leadership, we look forward to continued collaboration to advance improvements in patient safety and quality of care by engaging physicians, staff, patients and caregivers.
Dr. Nora Cullen, Chief of Staff
Wynne De Jong, Chief Nursing Executive
Building an Integrated Campus of Care
Three-Teams, Three Bids to Build West Park’s New Hospital
West Park is realizing its dream for a new, contemporary hospital that will enable us to deliver the best in rehabilitative care for the next generation. In July 2017, West Park released its much anticipated Request for Proposals (RFP) to design, build, finance and maintain its new approximately 730,000 square foot hospital. During the RFP Open Period, West Park staff caught a glimpse of what the three prequalified bidders — Ellis Don Infrastructure Healthcare, Plenary PCL Partnership and West Park Healthcare Partnership (Walsh Canada) — could offer in terms of design of the new hospital and features for improving patient care.
“After years of planning and having our requirements on paper, it’s fascinating to see how the bidding teams interpret our plans and bring them to life,” says Shelley Ditty, Vice-President of Campus Development and Support Services.
Each team had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with West Park’s project and hone their proposals before submitting their official bids in February 2018. Together with Infrastructure Ontario, West Park staff began evaluating the submissions based on design and technical requirements, facilities management, and the financial cost of building the new hospital. The hospital is targeting to announce the winning bidder in August 2018. Construction for the new hospital is anticipated from 2018 to 2022.
West Park is embarking on a two-step transformational redevelopment plan to build an integrated campus of care. The Hospital Development consists of the construction of West Park’s new hospital that will accommodate more rehabilitation and complex continuing care beds, expanded outpatient services, community living and outreach programs. A geriatric day hospital and satellite haemodialysis for inpatients will be major new services. The new hospital will also boast an impressive array of new features to improve accessibility, efficiency, energy consumption and environmental performance, and the patient, family and staff experience.
The Non-Hospital Development is the second capital project that will encompass construction of facilities that provide complementary community-based, health-related services and housing specifically designed for seniors and those with disabilities. With a view to extend West Park’s continuum of care and complement the hospital’s programs, five acres of campus land is being leased to Amico Properties Inc. to build a nurturing community with housing and related services promoting independent living. Tenant recruitment is now underway, and revenues will contribute to covering the portion of the cost of the new hospital not funded by government. Construction for the Non-Hospital Development is anticipated to overlap with the new hospital.
Together, the Hospital and Non-Hospital Development capital projects will bring together rehabilitative, complex continuing, primary and long-term care and independent living opportunities on one single site. Our new integrated campus of care will provide Ontario patients with a unique rehabilitative environment to help them get their lives back.
Collaboration drives health technology research
As the number of new healthcare technologies continues to grow, West Park is pursuing a growing number of research projects that have the potential to improve patient care and quality of life.
“Research and innovation have always been important drivers to improve quality of care, but with the recent explosion of new medical technologies, we have many more opportunities to create innovative solutions,” says Jan Walker, vice president of Strategy, Innovation and CIO at West Park. “In the past, manufacturers were more focused on selling solutions. Today, the relationship has shifted to more of a partnership model, where we work together to develop and test new ideas.”
Here are three projects that highlight how West Park is collaborating with healthcare innovators to study new technologies.
Next-generation medication dispenser
Medication adherence at home continues to be problematic, especially for older adults and people with cognitive impairment. To address this issue, West Park researchers are leading a Canada-wide study to evaluate the Karie home medication dispenser. Developed by AceAge Inc., the dispenser resembles a large mobile phone attached to a cassette loaded with multi-dose blister packs of medications. The unit schedules and then reminds patients to take their medication by chiming and lighting up, delivering the right dose at the right time.
A smarter hospital bed
West Park is working with other Ontario hospitals, to test the Ably hospital bed. Developed by Ably Medical AS of Norway, the intelligent bed incorporates machine learning to learn, mobilize and collaborate with patients at risk of falls and pressure ulcers.
West Park’s role with this project involves using an additional innovation, the MVN BIOMECH suit made by Xsens of the Netherlands, to evaluate the Ably bed for its ability to reduce musculoskeletal disorders among healthcare workers who lift and transfer patients. West Park nurses will wear kinematic suits embedded with tiny, 3D motion tracking sensors. Researchers will compare biometric changes in the nurses’ centre of mass and support base when lifting and transferring patients with the Ably bed and with a standard hospital bed.
MOTiview Exercise System
The MOTiview system is being tested at West Park Long-Term Care Centre. It is a motivational tool that stimulates elderly people and people with dementia to increase their physical activity. It does that by combining a video display unit that shows video landscapes with a user-adapted exercise bike.
Providing Exemplary Care
Pino Galati Got His Life Back
On Christmas Eve 2014, Pino Galati suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.
After a short stay in an acute care hospital, Pino came to West Park's Neurological Rehabilitation Service.
Working with his West Park team, Pino wanted to walk on his own, be able to dress himself again, and resume the activities he loved, like playing soccer and dancing. He also wanted to regain his independence by driving again.
Thanks to his team at West Park, his family, and his determination, Pino got his life back. He even volunteers now at West Park, helping people in the same situation as he was in 2014.
Providing Exemplary Care
Therese Estacion Got Her Life Back
Therese Estacion’s outlook is remarkable.
Less than two years after a rare bacterial infection led to the amputation of both her legs below the knee and some fingers, the 35 year-old Toronto teacher proclaims with absolute confidence and will, ‘This is my new body!’
But the journey to this positive frame of mind was arduous and long. It began after a bacterial infection led to her winding up in a Trail, B.C. hospital. She doesn’t remember much before she fell into a seven-day coma, but Estacion knows her boyfriend and family were told she would not survive the night.
To her family’s elation, she did survive, emerged from the coma and was transferred to hospitals in the GTA. Although her body was still intact, the medication the doctors administered to save her life caused necrosis in her extremities. Despite hoping that the necrotic tissues would heal with time, it became more and more apparent that amputations were necessary.
She arrived at West Park in October, 2016 and after three weeks of rehabilitation returned to acute care to have her legs amputated. Following the surgery, she returned to West Park for two months of post-amputation therapy. Later, in January 2017, she had parts of her hands amputated and was discharged at the end of February.
Rehabilitation at West Park was life-altering for Estacion. Her clinical team were instrumental in providing the tools for her to achieve her goals – a return to teaching, hiking, yoga, cooking. The physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists were pivotal in her recovery, but Estacion takes special care to thank particular services for her optimistic outlook – Spiritual and Religious Care and Recreation Therapy.
“I had moments of utter despair and grief, emotionally and spiritually during my rehabilitation,” Estacion says. “But (Spiritual & Religious Care Provider) Stephen Hudecki and Recreation Therapy connected with me. They helped me grieve the loss of a fully functioning body and find my way back to myself.”
Estacion stresses West Park provides a complete rehabilitation – body, mind and spirit. “I felt a real kinship with my team. Physically they helped me get stronger, adapt and learn skills to help become independent again. Emotionally and spiritually they enabled me to pursue normalcy again.”
Normalcy for Estacion and many other patients means resuming driving, meeting friends and family without being dependent on them.
Estacion’s plate is full. In addition to her robust family and social life, she’s pursuing her desires to travel, advocate for accessibility through her Instagram account @access_unity, working on a poetry manuscript, and planning to continue her 10-year teaching career hoping to move from her role as a Grade 6 teacher to that of a guidance counselor.
Estacion may be in pursuit of normalcy again in her life, but her version of normalcy is extraordinary as she gets her life back.
West Park Foundation
A year of rapid growth for West Park Foundation
The rapid growth of two new signature events has fueled yet another successful year for West Park Foundation.
Both the Tournament of Stars presented by Sun Life Financial, held March 23-24 at the University of Toronto and Uncork Untap Unwind, held November 9 at the popular Drake Hotel, realized a sharp increase in participation, sponsorship and revenue in just their second year.
The growth of these two events, along with the success of the annual Chairs’ Invitational Golf Tournament, will be a key contributor to the Foundation meeting its goals as, in addition to raising funds, they also raise awareness of West Park among key audiences.
In addition, over the past year the Foundation continued to grow the Get Your Life Back Campaign – increasing the number of donors and gifts year over year – as we ramp up in advance of the West Park breaking ground on the new hospital this fall.
Beginning last fall, visitors to the Centre were greeted by large banners and elevator wraps featuring patients and caregivers to help raise awareness of West Park’s critical mission and generate excitement about the capital campaign. As construction gets underway this fall, we will add that signage to the fencing around the site to further increase visibility.
In October, the Foundation received accreditation under Imagine Canada’s national Standards Program. Only 231 nonprofit organizations in the country have been accredited under the program, which sets standards in five fundamental areas: board governance; financial accountability and transparency; fundraising; staff management; and volunteer involvement.
“Meeting the requirements of the Imagine Canada program is an important milestone for the Foundation as we embark on our ambitious $80 million campaign to support the capital costs of the new hospital,” says Joanne Cole, CEO of the Foundation. “By building a strong donor base, and with the assurance we can provide to potential donors with the Imagine Canada designation, the Foundation is well prepared to meet the challenges of the largest fundraising endeavor in our history.”