Leslie O’Reilly was recently appointed the new Chair of Eastern Health’s Board of Trustees; he will be making decisions about the future of healthcare in the province for the next three years. We asked Mr. O’Reilly about what changes patients and employees of Eastern Health can expect in the coming year.  

Leadership says they will be announcing their new plan later this year, based on feedback received from the public as well as employees, physicians, and volunteers within Eastern Health. The organization has also planned a Change Day in January of 2017; they have asked employees to make a pledge for one small change that can make healthcare safer and better for Eastern Health’s patients, clients, residents and colleagues.

“We believe that one small change by each employee can make a big difference in the care we provide.”

Looking to Make Progress on Mental Health Issues

“One area in particular we are working toward making progress on in 2017 is mental health. Our top priority is to provide the best possible quality care to our patients, residents, and clients,” a representative of the Board Explained.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day (January 25th), Eastern Health will be offering webinars for employees to promote awareness and understanding about mental health in the workplace.

New Pilot Program Improving Care Plans for the Elderly

Eastern Health will also be focusing on improving care for seniors in the coming year. In early January, they announced the Acute Care for the Elderly Unit at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital, a pilot program.

This approach will see frail patients aged 65 years and over receive tailored, comprehensive interventions to better meet their health care needs.

Patients admitted to 7 West (internal medicine unit) at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital will now meet with one of Eastern Health’s specialists in seniors’ care to have a comprehensive geriatric assessment and care plan developed.

The program aims to create a more a senior-friendly environment, patient-centered care, enhanced discharge planning, frequent medical review and early exercise and rehabilitation.

Following an evaluation period of about one year, Eastern Health will determine whether ACE units will be expanded to other inpatient units in the region.

“Choosing Wisely NL”  Aims to Reduce Patient Wait Time and Confusion

In the coming year, Eastern Health will also be supporting Choosing Wisely NL, which arose out of research done in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University. It will help clinicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests and treatments, with the aim of staff making more effective choices to curb two things: patient confusion and wait times. Eastern Health will be partnering with a number of organizations on Choosing Wisely NL.

Changes to No Show Policy

Eastern Health will also strive to improve its service by launching a new No Show Policy. “No shows” have a significant impact on both the organization’s resources and its wait lists. Statistics for 2015–16 indicate that an average of 11% of patients either did not show up for their appointments – or did not cancel with sufficient notice. This equates to 176,000 missed appointments.

To help lower that number, patients who miss an appointment – or who don’t cancel with sufficient notice (i.e. 48 hours) – will be required to obtain another referral letter from their physician in order to receive a new appointment.