December 2016

While you wouldn’t be able tell from the weather outside, we are in fact into December. As the holiday season approaches, many people – especially the little ones in our lives – are hopeful that all their good deeds performed throughout the year don’t go unnoticed. I am thrilled to report that for a select group of our local health care teams, acknowledgement of their exceptional work came in November at an event hosted by Health Quality Ontario.

Our Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins gave special recognition to standout health care providers across the province through the annual Minister’s Medal awards program. The Minister’s Medal aims to showcase health system champions who place the patient at the centre of care and achieve success while promoting value and quality. In addition to honouring one team-based program and one individual, a handful of Honor Roll members were also recognized. This year, three teams from the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN were named to the Minister’s Medal Honour Roll.

We are extremely proud to be working with these talented and dedicated teams and wanted to devote this space to giving them the profile they deserve.

Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Teams The Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team model started in 2013 as a collaboration between St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Police Services. The initiative partners a police officer with a trained mental health crisis worker and differs from typical crisis services in that the team is dispatched and responds to 911 calls as first responders. The Mobile Teams respond to individuals in crisis presenting with symptoms of mental illness, behavioural disturbance or substance-use problems. Outcomes from over 4,000 contacts (2015-2016) across all Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN regions include a significant diversion of individuals from the emergency room compared to police only response, connecting more individuals in crisis to community-based services for follow up and improving police to hospital transfer times.

This model helps to provide individuals with timely access to care in appropriate settings, addresses inequities related to social determinants of health, and reduces the stigma and criminalization of individuals experiencing a mental health-related crisis. The program also demonstrates significant system value by redirecting individuals away from the criminal justice system, providing a better patient experience, and making more efficient use of health and social system resources.

HNHB Behavioural Supports Ontario Hospital Clinical Leader Program
As part of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) strategy, the innovative BSO Clinical Leader role was introduced to hospitals across the LHIN. Hospitals can be an unsettling place for many patients with cognitive impairment who are unwell. Some of these patients may display ‘responsive’ behaviours to their environment –such as yelling, agitation, hitting, or wandering that can be difficult for caregivers and health care providers to manage. BSO Clinical Leaders work collaboratively with patients with responsive behaviours, their families, and hospital staff to facilitate timely discharge for these patients to more appropriate care settings. BSO Clinical Leaders are responsible for collaborating with patients and families to understand the patient’s social history, their likes and dislikes, and their habits. Patient information is used by the BSO Clinical Leaders to develop tailored interventions and a care plan for the patient that also helps educate family members, caregivers, and health care providers.

Building capacity among staff and identifying improvement initiatives are also key components of the program. The BSO Clinical Leader role has had an impact on patient experience and system outcomes. In 2015-16, two BSO Clinical Leaders were able to reduce acute length of stay for patients with responsive behaviours, as well as successfully divert patients from having to enter behavioural assessment units or long-term care homes, enabling them to go back to the community instead. With the addition of a third BSO Clinical Leader, more improvements are anticipated in 2016-17.

Screen for Life Mobile Cancer Screening Coach
In 2013, Cancer Care Ontario, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, introduced a Screen for Life Mobile Cancer Screening Coach in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN. The vehicle offers cancer risk assessment, smoking cessation support, mammography, pap screening, and provision of kits for colorectal screening. Using system data, the coach is deployed to areas where there are low rates of cancer screening and poorer health outcomes across a range of diseases including cancer. In addition to providing increased access to cancer screening services close to home, a major objective of the program is to increase uptake of preventative health behaviours to improve overall general health and well-being.

More than 1,100 individuals received screening and education services on the coaches in the 2015-16 fiscal year. Over that same span, education was provided to approximately 2,000 individuals through engagement activities, including group education sessions, one-on-one education opportunities, community events and coach tours.


On behalf of the HNHB LHIN, I want to congratulate the members of these three teams, as well as the Minister’s Medal winners, the other Honour Roll members. You can learn more about the Minister’s Medal and all of this year’s recipients and Honour Roll members HERE.

I hope you enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!

If you or your organization would like to be featured in a future blog or share a patient story in one of our Voices in the Community videos you can reach us through our office, or if you’re on social media via our Twitter handle -@HNHB_LHINgage. Your feedback and questions are always welcome.