Northumberland Hills Hospital Continues to Develop Palliative-Care Program

In Local

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
In addition to the six (soon to be 10) beds at Ed’s House Northumberland Hospice Care Centre, Northumberland Hills Hospital continues its work to provide the best care possible for the patients in its six-bed Palliative Care Unit.

This work was among the items covered in the Senior Leadership Report at the December NHH board meeting.

President and Chief Executive Officer Susan Walsh said a multi-year palliative care strategy has been completed at NHH over the past year, in consultation with community partners and providers. This team includes the hospital’s physician leads (Dr. Kate Everdell and Dr. Francesco Mule) as well as front-line staff and Patient and Family Advisory Council representatives and volunteers.

Thanks to funding support provided through NHH’s relationship with the Durham Regional Cancer Centre, palliative-care education was provided to upwards of 30 point-of-care staff in the 2022-2023 fiscal year, Walsh said. Now NHH has learned that there is further opportunity to access funding through DRCC to expand this process – and additional funding sources are also being pursued.

“With 80% of NHH’s nursing staff novice to the profession and patients benefiting from palliative care long before end of life, this education will answer an express need identified by staff within the Palliative Care Unit and throughout the organization.

Walsh spoke of a recent town hall with staff, where Chief Nursing Executive Kate Zimmerman said end-of-life patients and their family members will continue to receive care at NHH, not only in the Palliative Care Unit on the main floor but also in acute and post-acute inpatient units throughout the hospital, “wherever patient need and staffing complement dictates is most appropriate.”

Other items of interest in Walsh’s report:
New obstetrician-gynecologist Sr. Emmanuel Udoeyop has joined NHH’s growing Obstetrics-Gynecology division (which also includes Dr. Asiya Hameed and department head Dr. Nassar Abu Awad).

Walsh noted comments by Chief of Staff Dr. Mukesh Bhargava on the new recruit’s “impressive wealth of knowledge that will allow us to continue expanding and developing the specialized scope of practice offered by our talented OB-GYN team.”

Dr. Udoeyop brings more than 25 years of experience in the field, with a special interest in urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgeries, a specialty he introduced as a consulting OB-GYN with Lakeridge Health in Oshawa (where he acted as Lead Physician and Trainer for MIGS).

He has worked in OB-GYN departments both across Canada and internationally. A former lecturer and consultant with the College of Medicine, University of Jos in Nigeria, he is currently a clinical assistant professor in Obstetrics-Gynecology in the Queen’s University Department of Family Medicine program.

NHH has introduced its new Clinical Scholars program, with Penny Baird, Rebecca Short and Bailey Bevan. This initiative was launched by the Ministry of Health to support new graduate nurses in their nursing practice and integrate into the clinical area in a role specifically for support at the bedside with skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

Since the program began in September, its three members have supported more than 300 interactions, “which has included countless hours of nursing skills, assessments, medication-related activities, patient deterioration and care prioritization.”

Masking requirements continue throughout NHH’s clinical and patient-care areas, including the Community Mental Health office. While it remains optional in common areas and non-patient-care areas, “we remain a very mask-friendly organization and encourage all who choose to wear a mask throughout their visit to please do so a an added layer of protection for themselves and those they are visiting.”

Free masks continue to be available at entrances. And visitors are reminded that treats from home are not permitted in inpatient rooms at this time – in fact, no eating or drinking is permitted by visitors in patient rooms just now due to the risk infection it could pose.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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