Well Aware – Summer 2016

Posted on

The North Bay Regional Health Centre is pleased to provide you with our quarterly e-newsletter update! NBRHC Well Aware is designed to keep you up to date on changes to our services, new initiatives and news that impacts our communities.

2015-2016 Annual Report

Check out our NBRHC Annual Report compiled by the Communications Department! Our annual report contains a wide range of interesting stories that highlight our achievements and successes in the fiscal year 2015-2016, as well as our statements of financial position and operations, and a list of statistics on the services we offer. 

Visit the Annual Report Website

North Bay benefitting from first ever Respirologist

Patients in North Bay, and all of Northern Ontario, are benefitting from the city’s first ever Respirologist. Dr. Irfan Khan joined the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) Service of Internal Medicine in November 2015.

NBRHC Chief of Staff Dr. Donald Fung explains that with Dr. Khan’s arrival in North Bay, the health centre now has a dedicated bronchoscopy clinic that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illnesses. “A bronchoscopy is a procedure used to diagnose and treat specific lung conditions,” Dr. Fung explains. “Having a Respirologist here allows us to offer this procedure more regularly than we could before.”

Dr Khan
Dr. Khan, North Bay’s first ever Respirologist

Dr. Khan says each week he performs at least one bronchoscopy, and some weeks even two or three. NBRHC President and CEO Paul Heinrich says because this procedure involves sedation, those travelling for the procedure would have to be accompanied out of town with a companion to drive them. “Providing this procedure in North Bay enables our patients to access health services in our community without the additional burden of having to travel,” Heinrich says.

The need for Respirology is so great in Northern Ontario that Dr. Khan has started to see patients one day a week via telemedicine. “I had one patient drive 8.5 hours to come see me,” he recalls. “That’s when I felt the need to start doing telemedicine.”

In addition to the bronchosopies, Dr. Khan has taken over the day to day operations of the Health Centre’s Breathing Clinic. The Breathing Clinic supports patients with chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with early diagnosis and intervention, and specializes in providing the tools for these patients to manage their care to help reduce the need to be admitted to the hospital. “Dr. Khan has taken a leadership role in the Breathing Clinic, and brought to it a wealth of knowledge and expertise,” says Dr. Fung. “Dr. Khan further shares his professional expertise by interpreting all pulmonary function testing and lung function evaluations performed at NBRHC.” Dr. Khan also has his office located at 1221 Algonquin where he sees his patients with other types of lung related conditions.

Dr. Khan’s past medical training includes Respirology residency in India, and then practiced independently for 4 years in Kuwait before coming to Canada.  He then completed an additional year of Clinical Fellowship in Hospitalist Training at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and subsequently joined the Residency Program in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, followed by a fellowship in Adult Respirology at the University of Toronto.

Patient Involvement in Quality Improvements

McBride with Care Team
McBride with Care Team

When Laurie McBride came to the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) in January 2016 she had a goal in mind–she wanted to stand again.

The 59 year-old New Liskeard resident has been living with Multiple Sclerosis for 15 years. A fall a few months earlier left her with a broken hip, which resulted in surgery.

McBride explains that laying flat on her back for three months while recovering from the surgery greatly affected her core strength. “My ability to sit up independently, my ability to roll over, comb my hair, brush my teeth–all those things were gone,” she says. “I couldn’t even pick up a small cup of coffee to drink it.”

To work at getting back her core strength, McBride was transferred to the inpatient rehabilitation program at NBRHC.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit

The Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit at NBRHC consists of 29 designated Rehabilitation beds. Manager Patty Byers says a team approach is used so that in addition to nursing, therapy services are conveniently located on the unit and consist of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, recreation therapy, speech language pathology and social work. “The goal of the Rehabilitation Program is to assist the patient to achieve their optimal level of independence through a collaborative multidisciplinary team process in preparation for discharge,” Byers says.

McBride says when she arrived at the hospital, she wasn’t sure what rehabilitation, or even success, was going to look like for her. “I knew I wanted to get back to where I was before I fell,” she says. For her, that included sitting up independently and, hopefully, standing up. “I had no idea how long it would take or what it would entail. All I knew was I needed to gain my independence back.”

Almost right away McBride had a difficult decision to make—her doctors weren’t sure of the extent of damage to her bones from her osteoporosis. There was concern that returning to standing following her three month recovery from the previous surgery might prove to be too much, and she risked re-fracturing her bones by simply bearing weight on them.

“I had to ask myself: was it worth the risk of re-injuring myself and facing another recovery of three or four months in bed just to stand?”

Patient Involvement in Quality Improvements

McBride and her care team pressed on. Her days consisted of physiotherapy sessions and what McBride describes as ‘stalking the halls’.

“What I used to do out of sheer boredom is in between my physio appointments I would get on my scooter and ride around the hospital; I would go to the cafeteria, go upstairs, just ride around everywhere really.”

It was one of these times that McBride was ‘stalking the halls’ and she happened upon what is known in the Health Centre as a ‘huddle’. “I came around the corner and there was a bunch of people standing together around a white board,” she remembers.

Byers explains huddles are regular, 15 minute unit activities held across the organization that lead to quality improvement. “Huddles provide an opportunity for staff to identify, prioritize and action daily improvements linked to organizational priorities.” Byers, who was leading that day’s huddle, invited McBride to participate and lead the remainder of the huddle.

McBride says one of the problem solving conversations she was involved with that day was actually something she had personal experience with while a patient at NBRHC. Most mornings her physiotherapy sessions were scheduled for 8:30 am. McBride says there were a few times her Personal Support Worker (PSW) was coming to her room to get her ready at 8:15 am. “I move very slowly, so 15 minutes wasn’t enough for either of us,” McBride explains.

Byers explains that following the conversation at the huddle Mike Scott, a Registered Nurse (RN) on the team saw an opportunity to share a more effective tool he created to help schedule the morning needs of the patients. 

Through the huddle, McBride heard all sides of the problem which helped give her perspective. “I got to see the background and I understood it was a bigger problem than I was seeing at the bedside. I realized everyone was struggling to be on time for a number of reasons.”

The end result for McBride was that when the new tool was implemented, her PSW came at 7:30 am to get her ready. She says that small change made a big difference for her day and her ability to participate in her rehab sessions. “I was ready and able to eat breakfast and feel more prepared compared to when I was rushing and gulping down something fast to eat and get to my appointment as quick as I can.”

Byers says that was the first time they have involved a patient in the team’s Huddle, but hope to incorporate more patients and families in the future. “Laurie’s involvement was impactful for all of us. We do surveys and have other ways of listening to our patients, but it was great for us to have feedback from a patient in real time,” she says.

McBride says being involved in the huddle was a great experience for her. “I always have something to say about my care, and being involved in the huddle reinforced that because I felt like as a patient, I had a say on the issues that came up and how they affect the patients on the unit.”

Celebrating successes

As McBride made progress with her rehabilitation, her Care Team found a bed that was able to elevate her into a standing position slowly and gradually bear weight on her fragile bones. “It was quite exciting to look at the world from up there again!” she says. She did that twice.

From there, they decided to try having her stand on her own legs, with three of her Care Team members supporting her. “It was amazing. I was only supposed to do it once a day but I usually tried to squeeze in three times a day,” McBride recalls.

“The care I received from all the members of my Care Team while I was a patient was amazing. What I love most is they listen to what you say – how you say it, and what lies behind it. They aren’t afraid to ask you questions.”

McBride says the PSW’s played a big role in helping to make her stay comfortable. “Having somebody take care of your basic needs, with a sense of humour as gently and efficiently as they did for me is very important. What ever little bit of dignity I had left they took very good care of it,’ she laughs.

“When I stood up on the lift board they were all there to see it; when I stood up on my own they were all there to see it. Even the staff who weren’t working with me that day came to see. They all knew it was my goal – so it became their goal.”

Sharing her Story

Having successfully met her goal of returning to her pre-fall abilities, and actually succeeding in standing once again, McBride decided to be discharged and continue her physiotherapy from her home in New Liskeard through the support of the Community Care Access Centre.

Then in March, Byers invited McBride to attend one of the Health Centre’s Report Outs. “Report Outs are monthly opportunities for staff to celebrate learning, successes and quality improvements from the unit level with the organization. I knew this was a story we had to share,” Byers says.

McBride made the nearly two hour drive to come and share her personal success story, and to talk about the impact participating in the huddle had on her experience as a patient.

Most of Laurie’s care team members were in attendance when she spoke. “I was excited to see them there and that they were that interested in what I had to say. The support from them continued – it didn’t end the day I was discharged. That’s really special.”

2016 Asclepius Awards

In June, the North Bay Regional Health Centre celebrated our 10th annual Physician Recognition Event and 4th annual Asclepius Awards. The awards provided the opportunity to recognize the accomplishments attained by our physicians who give themselves for the betterment of others in our hospital and the community.

Congratulations to all physicians and to the following 2016 award recipients:


Dr. Paul Preston for the Community Partner Award, which honours a physician who, during his/her career, has shown initiative, leadership and involvement in projects that embody the spirit of genuine partnership and benefit the overall community.

Dr. Joseph Madden for the Career Excellence Award, which recognizes a physician who has demonstrated sustained excellence in delivery of clinical care in its broadest sense over the course of their career.

Dr. Kevin Gagné for the Innovation Award, which honours a physician who during his/her career has demonstrated a visionary approach to problem-solving and performance improvement by leading, developing or implementing.

Dr. Michael Arthurs for the Jean Rochefort Teaching Award, which honours a physician who, during his/her career has exemplified excellence in teaching future physicians and inspires each of them to learn and grow in their chosen field of medicine.

Dr. Bernard Goldfarb for the Crystal Heart Award for Philanthropy, which recognizes a physician who supports the health care of their community through philanthropy.

To watch the videos of the award recipients or to find out more about the Asclepius Awards visit the Asclepius Awards website.

You can Help Shape Health Care in our Community


During the month of July, the Board of Directors, together with Senior Leadership of the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBHRC) are looking to the community for help in shaping the Health Centre’s next strategic plan.

You can help shape health care in our community. We’re asking our patients, families and community members to participate in a short online survey.

Over 250 people were consulted and their feedback helped shape the survey. Your input will help determine our Health Centre’s priorities and build a strategic plan for the next three years.

The strategic planning exercise not only determines where we are going, and what is needed to make progress, but also how we will know if we are successful. A strategic plan will continue to help NBRHC better serve the needs of our community and district.

It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and the survey closes August 3, 2016. Complete the survey by July 22 for your chance to win two tickets to Summer in the Park: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SP-Community

Annual Breast Screening Event Sees 98 Women in One Day

On May 4, the Health Centre’s Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) hosted its annual Mammothon Breast Screening Challenge.

Mammothon is a one day breast screening challenge to encourage as many women as possible to get up-to-date on their breast screening by booking and completing a mammogram. The regional campaign helps address common barriers women experience towards regular cancer screening including fear, embarrassment, limited time, and lack of awareness.

This year 98 women were screened at the Health Centre in one day!

Darla Esch, one of the 98 women screened at Mammothon with NBRHC Medical Radiation Technologist Marilyn Bailey.

Sue Lebeau, Director of Quality and Clinical Support says the convenience and unintimidating nature of the event is a major draw for women: “We know that many women over the age of 50 are still putting off their mammogram. The Mammothon initiative works to eliminate women’s concerns and offers extended hours and walk in appointments to improve access for busy women.”

In Ontario, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in females. The OBSP recommends that women between the ages of 50 to 74 get screened for breast cancer every two years. The goal of breast screening is to detect breast cancer at an early stage before symptoms appear, when it can be most effectively treated.

Women who were unable to attend Mammothon are encouraged to book a mammogram at another convenient time. For more information and to book an appointment call 705-495-7930.

Health Centre receives official French Language Services Designation

The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) has been legally designated as a provider of health care services in both official languages.

The Health Centre’s request for partial designation as a French-language service provider has been granted under the French Language Services Act. The Health Centre recognized their receipt of this designation in May through a flag raising ceremony of the Franco-Ontarian flag.

NBRHC Flag Raising Ceremony
(L to R): Anne Proulx-Séguin, Planning and Community Engagement Officer for Sudbury Nipissing, Réseau du mieux-être francophone du Nord de l’Ontario; Michael Lowe, Chair, NBRHC Board of Directors; Helene Philbin-Wilkinson, Director of Mental Health & the Law; Lou Gagné, NBRHC Patient/Family Representative; Francois Roberge, NBRHC Board of Directors; Lise Anne Boissonneault, Outreach and French Language Services Officer, North East LHIN; Paul Heinrich, NBRHC President & CEO.

“Today’s flag raising symbolizes our commitment to providing services and care to our francophone patients and their families,” says Paul Heinrich, NBRHC President and CEO. “I am proud to celebrate this important milestone in delivering high quality, patient-centered care.”

The partial designation means the Health Centre is legally required to offer some health services in French. Improving access, coordination and sustainability of health services in French for Francophones, helps the Health Centre attain its goals of ensuring quality care and improving the patient experience.

“The North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) commends NBRHC for its untiring dedication to the designation process. Efforts to offer services in French are very important in meeting the health care needs of our region,” says Lise Anne Boissonneault, Outreach and French Language Services Officer, North East LHIN. “Sometimes people find relaying their health concerns difficult. This communication can be even more difficult when people have to express their thoughts in a language that is not their mother tongue.”

The Health Centre is a district referral centre and the specialized mental health service provider serving all of northeast Ontario. In North Bay, approximately 15 per cent of the population identifies French as their first official language spoken, while across northeastern Ontario approximately 23 per cent of residents are Francophone.

Home outside of the hospital


Madeline was afraid and anxious about leaving the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) after living in the hospital for decades. Hospitalized in her early 20s, the hospital environment was all Madeline ever knew until she was transitioned to a community setting last year.

The once reserved and withdrawn Madeline quickly blossomed at Percy Place, a unique community home which provides 24 hour care for individuals living with serious mental illness. She now participates happily in house activities and socializes with other members of the home.

Madeline’s story is just one of the stories shared in “going home”. This unique video provides a glimpse into the lives of four individuals who have successfully found a home in community after residing for extensive periods of time in hospital.

In partnership with the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN), the Nipissing Mental Health Housing & Support Services (NMHHSS) and People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health (PEP), the Health Centre has been collaborating to increase community capacity and supportive housing options for people with lived mental health experiences.

Laurie Wardell, NBRHC Director of Mental Health and Addictions explains the Health Centre was being used as a housing provider for many of our patients. “We over admitted and kept people in hospital for far longer than they needed to be,” she says. “We knew that we had people in our beds that would thrive when placed in the right home with the right community supports.”

Over the past two years, 15 former patients of the NBRHC have successfully moved out of the hospital to either transitional or permanent housing. This change has made it possible for the patients to live a more fulfilling and independent life.

The success stories in “going home” speak volumes that with the right care model and support, as well as strong partnerships, the quality of life for these individuals greatly improves in all aspects of living outside of the hospital’s four walls.

To learn more watch the video below.

North Bay

50 College Drive,
P.O. Box 2500
North Bay, ON
P1B 5A4
Tel: 705-474-8600

feature buttons


680 Kirkwood Drive,
Sudbury, ON
P3E 1X3
Tel: 705-675-9193
Fax: 705-675-6817

feature buttons

Floor Plans

Let us guide you to where you need to go.

Visitors Guide

feature buttons