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A publication for Staff and Physicians of IH

Dr. Halpenny talks about our organization as he sees it from his day-to-day perspective.

What does quality mean to you? Read this month‟s responses.

In a new pilot program, postpartum packs will be provided to new mothers to ensure they have in-need supplies on hand post-delivery.

The skills of remote care nurse Jan Karrer are put to the highest test and a GP from Fraser Valley has perfect timing.

Training front-line nurses to act as a “link” between infection control principles and day-to-day health-care practices.

VPs Susan Brown and Martin McMahon share their thoughts on engagement.

Shining a spotlight on the many communities that make up where we live, work, and play.

Snapshots of our staff in action over the last month.

The @InteriorHealth newsletter is a monthly publication created by the Communications Department of Interior Health. Past issues of @InteriorHealth can be found on our website under About Us/Media Centre/Publications & Newsletters. If you have story ideas for future issues, please e-mail: – deadline for submissions to the April 2013 issue of the @InteriorHealth newsletter is March 22. Editors: Amanda Fisher & Breanna Pickett IH Communications Contributors: Lisa Braman, Lesley Coates, Susan Duncan, Karl Hardt, Megan Kavanagh, Erin Toews, Kara Visinski


Dr. Halpenny visits the South Cariboo Health Centre in 100 Mile House during a recent CEO/Board Chair tour through the area.

as anyone else noticed the sunshine deficiency in the B.C. Interior the first few months of the year? Fortunately, I was able to get away in early February for a golf vacation and a good dose of vitamin D. I know many of you also take a winter holiday during this time, or over the upcoming spring break, so enjoy. Vacation is an important part of work-life balance. On the subject of work, it has been another action-packed month with a number of meetings and a valuable CEO/Board Chair visit to 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.

At Interior Health, we want to set new standards of excellence in the delivery of health services in B.C. and to also promote healthy lifestyles and provide needed health services in a timely, caring, and efficient manner. To achieve this, we are guided by the following strategic goals: Goal 1 Improve Health and Wellness Goal 2 Deliver High Quality Care Goal 3 Ensure Sustainable Health Care by Improving Innovation, Productivity, and Efficiency Goal 4 Cultivate an Engaged Workforce and Healthy Workplace The articles featured in the @IH newsletter are great examples of how we‟re achieving our goals … and realizing our vision and mission.

In mid-February, I was in Vancouver with my CEO counterparts for our monthly Leadership Council. I also participated in the STOP HIV/AIDS Steering Committee meeting with Ministry officials and other health authority leaders. This committee is looking at an implementation plan related to the Nov. 30, 2012 Ministry of Health announcement of $19.9 million in annual funding to health authorities for the provincial expansion of the STOP HIV/AIDS program. STOP HIV/AIDS is a successful program that reduces HIV transmission through expanded HIV testing and patient engagement in prevention and treatment. We hope to see it start rolling out early this spring. Back in Kelowna, I was at the Health Authority Medical Advisory Committee (HAMAC) meeting on Feb. 21. This is a monthly meeting that includes physician leadership and medical representatives from throughout the health authority. Its focus is: advising on the provision of medical care in our sites; monitoring quality and effectiveness of care; working through any issues brought forward by medical staff; and planning for adequate medical staff resources as well as continuing education needs.

approval in mid-March. On the engagement front, SET reviewed its impact plan and continues to make progress. A reminder that the Gallup employee engagement re-survey will run from June 5 to July 3 and an awareness campaign will soon kick off. We also had presentations on several important initiatives underway across the region. These included: highlights to date on the Diabetes Strategy; progress related to our Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Management Strategy; and a good summary of the projects and activities we have undertaken in our Lean Program. An important action item at the meeting was finalizing IH‟s list of community liaisons and their related responsibilities. I am glad to see greater clarity with regard to these role because the community liaisons are the primary point of connection with local elected officials and community organizations. They reach out to these groups to provide opportunities for dialogue and information sharing so we can strengthen relationships and build trust through mutual understanding. Visit the InsideNet for a complete contact list and an overview document. I ended the month with Board Chair Norman Embree in the IH West area. We visited 100 Mile House and Williams Lake and were able to tour sites, meet with staff and physicians, connect with the local elected officials, and thank our foundations, auxiliaries, and volunteers for their ongoing contributions to health care. In Williams Lake, I also had the opportunity to present at the Regional Hospital District meeting and take questions from the Board as well as members of the public. En route home, I stopped in Kamloops to meet with leaders at Thompson Rivers University to discuss areas where we might collaborate.

On Feb. 25 and 26, I chaired our monthly Senior Executive Team (SET) face-to-face meeting where we had a full agenda ranging All of these interactions are part of our from budget discussions to employee engagement updates to presentations from community engagement efforts and are critically important to our long-term success. several of our staff members. While this has been a month that kept me We are still working through the details of on the road a lot, it‟s been a valuable time our budget management plan, but have to work with internal and external partners finalized the 10-year Capital Plan which on issues that will positively influence the now goes to the IH Board of Directors for health of our citizens.



count @

What does “quality” mean to you? Feel free to share examples! In keeping with our commitment to make engagement part of our every day, each month we are posing a new topic for discussion that‟s linked to the 12 Gallup engagement questions. Your Opinions Count @ IH is a way to keep engagement top of mind, and to let us know what it means to you. Here are the excerpts from what we heard in response to February‟s topic: 

“Quality means that every work day I try to focus on the impact of my actions to our customers and clients. I try to remember it could be my mom, my spouse, my brother or my child relying on the work we do as a community and I strive to go above and beyond to make sure I provide the best possible care for every person who walks through our door.”

“Performing work that meets customer‟s needs without defects, while constantly identifying ways to improve our service and acting to make that happen.”

“To me quality means caring – not just doing the job well, but doing it one hundred and ten percent well. Going the extra mile for the people that we care for because they are unable to do it for themselves gives them a reason to get well or have a better life with a better attitude …”

Visit the Engagement web page on the InsideNet to view the complete list of responses. All other discussion topics and responses are also available to view since Your Opinions Count @ IH started in January 2012. The March topic for discussion is…

What do you think the meaning is behind the Gallup Survey question:

Do you have a best friend at work?

Please send your feedback to and we‟ll share excerpts in the next @IH, along with a new topic for discussion.


eginning this month, postpartum packs will be provided to new mothers on maternity units at Royal Inland, Kelowna General, and Kootenay Boundary hospitals as part of a pilot program to ensure new mothers have in-need supplies on hand post-delivery. The creation of these postpartum packs ensures essential supplies are being offered to new mothers in the most efficient and consistent method possible. “We found that nurses on maternity units are spending a lot of time trying to find and deliver appropriate supplies for moms and babies,” explains Ruth Johnson, Project Lead and Network Director, Perinatal & Child Health Services. “We also found a great deal of inconsistency between sites. Supplies are being provided at varying amounts and,

New starter postpartum supply packs (above) contain supplies required for the duration of most 24– to 48-hour hospital stays, including: 10 diapers; one pack of regular sanitary pads (14 total); one pair of disposable panties; and one plastic “peri bottle” for cleaning/washing the perineum post-delivery. RIH RN Katrina Hala with a sample pack of postpartum supplies (right).

in some cases, extra supplies are being sent home with mothers.” “We all want what‟s best for the mothers and babies that we serve,” says Ruth. “These starter packs are prepared in advance, freeing up staff time to focus on patient care. It also allows us to standardize practice, ensuring we are being equitable in every region while avoiding waste.” The postpartum pack supplies are intended to get moms and babies started while in hospital and are meant to cover the duration of most 24- to 48-hour hospital stays. Moms should have a supply of diapers and their own personal care needs ready when they return home. The pilot project will be evaluated after three months; based on this evaluation, the prepackaged postpartum packs may be implemented at other sites throughout Interior Health.

PATIENT STORY Remote Nursing Skills Put to Highest Test GP Has Perfect Timing


emote Nurse Jan Karrer was four hours into her first shift at the Blue River Health Centre in more than a year when she heard a commotion outside that put her right in the middle of an intense life and death emergency.

Regularly based at the Edgewood Health Centre in KootenayBoundary, Jan was still familiarizing herself with the clinic, situated three hours north of Kamloops, when she heard wild honking outside in the parking lot. “I ran to see what it was about and there lying on the tailgate of a pickup truck was a man who was bleeding profusely.” She got the two men with him to carry him inside where she was able to determine that an old surgical site of a femoral graft had blown, apparently while he was shovelling snow. “Dealing with unexpected emergencies is part of being a remote certified nurse, but this situation had extra complications,” says Jan.

Remote RN Jan Karrer is credited with saving a life while working at the Blue River Health Centre in early January.

Despite the obstacles, a physician who arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later was so impressed with how she coped with the crisis that he wrote her a note of thanks for her great work. Dr. John Hamilton says Jan began CPR, started an intravenous line, and organized a support team from the people available.

“She performed at a really high level and this man would not have been alive if not for her persistence and hard work.” “It was a very stressful situation and not a situation that an RN would normally find herself in, but she did everything right. She performed at a really high level and this man would not have been alive if not for her persistence and hard work.” Jan, who has been an RN for almost 40 years and a remote certified nurse for 12, recalls that she just began with the basics. “I just did my ABCs. People who were there were very, very helpful. I realized I was in a bad way when I assessed the patient. There was so much blood everywhere and he needed an airway. I got the ambulance attendant to bag him and another man knew first aid so I just guided him on how fast to do CPR.” She also had a trauma doctor on the telephone from Kamloops providing long-distance guidance. Whiteout snow conditions complicated the situation because air transport could not fly into Blue River and the patient was too unstable to move in a regular ambulance without intubation.

As Jan and her little team worked to keep the man alive with their limited resources, she began to wonder about next steps. Unbeknownst to her, a community resident had raced to Mike Wiegele Heli-ski Operations outside Blue River where physicians are brought in on a weekly basis to provide care to clients, staff, and the community. Dr. Hamilton, a GP from the Fraser Valley, had signed on for the week of Jan. 6-11, expecting ski injuries or seasonal illnesses, not a full-blown emergency in the community. But, “it‟s good to be able to help out where you can.” “When he walked in the door, it was like an angel of mercy had arrived,” says Jan. The physician had been told it was a ruptured appendix, but he knew immediately from the sight of the blood and the state of the patient, it was far more severe. He could tell how hard the team had been working to keep the man alive, but it looked as though his role would be to call time of death. He asked the team to stop working about five minutes after his arrival, and then he spotted a slight flicker in the eyelid and a chin tremor. He took off his gloves and with his bare hand was able to detect a weak pulse that otherwise was unnoticeable. “It was a surprising medical moment to see this person had a pulse,” he says. “I intubated him to secure his airway and Jan started a second large bore IV. He now had two IV sites and we bundled him up for transport.” Dr. John Hamilton, a GP from Fraser Valley, was enjoying a ski experience at Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing near Blue River when he was called to the health centre for a hair-raising medical emergency. (Photo Credit: Certain Images)

Then physician, patient, and driver set off toward Clearwater in treacherous snowy conditions.

Patient Ed Szeminski is still feeling pretty weak after his near-death experience, but he’s happy to be alive and even managed a smile as he talked about the team who saved him.

About two hours into the trip, an Advanced Critical Life Support team met them between Little Fort and Clearwater and transported the patient the rest of the way to Royal Inland Hospital. He was admitted to the ICU and two days later had surgery for his ruptured femoral graft site. “This is a person who in the face of certain death was given an opportunity to survive because of the heroic efforts and, yes, they were heroic, of this nurse and the team she organized,” says Dr. Hamilton. For her part, Jan says Dr. Hamilton played a crucial role. “I don‟t know what I would have done without him.” Their patient Ed Szeminski knows what would have happened without them. He wouldn‟t be recovering in hospital, looking forward to possibly going home to Blue River one day. “All I can say to the doctor and nurse and the people who helped them is thank you very much for caring so much for me and helping me out in that situation. They are awesome people and I will never forget what they did for me.”


here is only one way to put theory into practice – by creating a link between the two. Enter the Link Nurse Program.

Envisioned by Infection Prevention & Control (IPAC), the Link Nurse Program trains front-line nurses to act as a “link” between infection control principles and day-to-day health-care practices. “The IPAC link nurses receive quarterly education in infection control. They also intimately understand the „real world‟ of the workplace, beyond theory,” says Kim Leslie, Infection Prevention & Control Practitioner. “They are able to bring the principles of infection control into the real world. They problem solve and navigate between principle and practice.”

RIH ICU Link Nurse Josh Sharp and Infection Prevention & Control Practitioner Kim Leslie.

For example, Link Nurses have been invaluable in reinforcing “clean and tidy” as the standard since IH adopted a zero tolerance for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) acquired in facilities. An October session at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) looked at clutter and CDI, which are intimately linked since c-diff spores need to be ingested and the most likely source is a cluttered environment. Thanks to the hard work of front-line teams, the goal to eliminate health care-acquired cases of CDI can be realized. The Link Nurse Program started as a pilot project at RIH in 2010 and is now heading into its third year. Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) is next in line for implementation. Their first intake was held in November 2012 and 24 front-line nurses participated in the infection, prevention, and control training.

Feedback from this session was extremely positive, with participants commenting:

“Information was shared through the disease scenarios that gave me good tools to access at work.” “The information I learned about disease transmission and the nurse‟s role in prevention was very valuable.” Preparations are underway for another education session at both sites in March, in which link nurses will learn how to access electronic resources including the Infection Prevention & Control Manual on the IH public website.

Twenty-four front-line nurses participated in specialized infection prevention and control training during the first intake for the KGH IPAC Link Nurse Program.

The success of this initiative is a result of the support of KGH and RIH Administration, the corporate Infection, Prevention & Control team, the hard work of the Infection Control Practitioners at these sites and, of course, participants themselves through their willingness to learn and act as mentors to their colleagues. If you are interested in becoming a link nurse contact Janice Deheer, Corporate Director, Infection Prevention & Control.

s Embracing the Challenge to

Stay Engaged Written By: Lisa Braman, Communications

For my benefit, she orders the curry medium rather than her preferred hot at a local Indian restaurant. Hearing she has a love for spicy food, I thought sharing a meal would be a good way to get to know our VP of Acute Services, Susan Brown. Diving into our first dish, Susan shares her views on engagement. “It isn‟t easy, and it‟s certainly not easy in an organization of 18,000 people, but then anything worth doing usually isn‟t.” And there‟s the crux of who she is – a woman who embraces challenge and does so with passion. “Absolutely, passion is a necessary thing for me – and others too, I think. Whether it‟s something I‟m really interested in or I‟m listening to someone talk about what‟s important to them, it‟s the passion that grabs me every time.” Like the curry that‟s developing more heat as I work through it, Susan slowly starts to reveal more about herself, although she readily admits, “I‟m not the best at sharing details of my personal life.”

When I reach for yet more water, Susan brings the conversation back to engagement. “You know, when it comes to engagement, often it‟s our actions that speak louder than words.” For Susan, those actions include being present and accessible. It also means working together with people and removing barriers to accomplish what‟s needed at any given time. “Bringing a team together to tackle a project results in a far better outcome,” she says. At the end of our meal, I‟m sweaty, flushed, and looking for antacids. Susan remains steadfastly unfazed. It‟s reflective of her nature, and necessary for her role that includes responsibility for acute sites, the Professional Practice Office, the Surgical Services Network, Tertiary Mental Health, and the Renal and Cardiac programs. I ask Susan for one last comment and she replies, “If I‟m to leave you with one piece of advice on staying engaged, it‟s to go ahead and push the envelope, you‟ll probably feel better for it.”

At this point I‟m sure my face is beet red from the heat, but just then Susan comments on how mild the spice is. She would. She‟s the teenage field hockey player who insisted on wearing a grey skirt with her school uniform when the rules dictated it was to be black. Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, Susan is the youngest of three and the only girl. In her youth she admits to being a little rebellious and a tomboy. She spent hours building go-carts with her brother in the family‟s garage and racing down the drive. Today the tomboy is gone on the outside, but inside she still has the need for speed. “Since moving to the Southern Interior my family has embraced winter sports. Geoff and Neil, my husband and son, snowboard, but I ski. I like going fast.”

Susan Brown shares a laugh with Mal Griffin, Corporate Director, Service Innovation and Chief Information Officer.

Martin McMahon’s kids, Alisha (now 16) and Cameron (now 11), help their father cross the finish line during one of his 12 marathons. Written By: Karl Hardt, Communications

To become a leader in any field takes drive, but if you‟re talking transportation Martin McMahon would rather run.


of knowing more about your peers than just their job qualifications and duties. His team is now incorporating a “lunch around the world” into meetings.

Martin is past president of the BC Healthcare Leaders' Association and a board member of the Western IH‟s Vice President of Allied Health & Healthcare Improvement Network. Planning and Strategic Services has He has previously served the Canadian For these lunches the team picks a run 12 marathons and countless Patient Safety Institute as British country, each member brings a dish shorter running events in an amateur Columbia's provincial representative. from that country, and the group will but competitive running career that talk about different aspects of that started when he was a teen in For Martin, each role and each new country‟s culture. Scotland. experience in health care comes back to one core element – the people we It‟s an engaging way of broadening While running is in most ways a serve. perspectives and looking at things solitary pursuit, Martin sees parallels differently. between his passion for running and “I joined this business to be involved engagement. in patient care. That‟s the beauty of “The work we do can be extremely this work – all the people who are here challenging and you can‟t get work “Running is like engagement in that have chosen to be here for patient done effectively if you don‟t work well you get out what you put in. These care.” as a team and understand the people are not things you can do without you are working with.” passion and commitment.” As a member of the Senior Executive Team, Martin sees his role as With three kids, a mini farm with Martin started his health-care career supporting others in achieving their chickens and goats, running and other as an occupational therapist in goals in providing care to patients and sports, and time strumming on his Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1987 and he families. guitar, work-life balance for Martin has 25 years of experience in front-line may seem more like a juggling act. care and management. He feels his work in the health-care system in Great Britain and his work as However, he enjoys all aspects of life Prior to taking on his current role, a front-line clinician bring an important in the B.C. Interior. Martin served as IH's Chief Planning & perspective to the SET table. Improvement Officer and Chief “We‟re a very busy family, but what Operating Officer for the Thompson In terms of his portfolio and team, you sow is what you reap. We‟re very, Cariboo Shuswap and for the North Martin recognizes the importance very fortunate.”

Williams Lake Lifestyle

Williams Lake Anne Kitto Submitted by:

At a glance Population: Approx. 10,700 Health Services: Cariboo Memorial Hospital is a Level 2 community hospital serving Williams Lake and surrounding communities. There are also a host of community and residential programs and services. Economy: Manufacturing, mining, forestry, eco-tourism

Williams Lake is located in the heart of the Cariboo Chilcotin. As the largest and fastest growing city in the area, it serves as a business, industrial, and service hub for outlying communities. The surrounding pristine wilderness provides an unlimited playground, while the convenience of city living is just outside your door.

Recreation and culture

Home to the famous Williams Lake Stampede, rodeo enthusiasts and community members come together for a fun-filled family event every summer. Outdoor recreation enthusiasts are drawn to the area's natural amenities. World-class mountain bike trails, miles of hiking and skiing terrain, and hundreds of lakes fit for kayaking, rafting, boating, fishing, and camping make Williams Lake one of B.C.'s last true wilderness escapes.

In our own words...

“Williams Lake is a perfect community for family living. The outdoor activities are excellent (skiing, camping, fishing, mountain biking….I could go on!) and so close. We love the sense of community and work wise, the inter-portfolio collaboration here is second to none.” – Delee Whitwell, Community Integration Care Coordinator

Fort Steele Submitted by: Cliff Cross

Kokanee Lake Submitted by: Ronnie Crowe

Wilgress Lake Submitted by: Dr. Eddie Naude

Monashee Mountains Submitted by: Adrian Cleary

Where We Live & Work ... A Spotlight on Our Communities Our employees regularly share photos of the spectacular scenery that surrounds them wherever they are in the IH region. Majestic mountain ranges, pristine pine-fringed lakes, blossom-filled orchards, abundant vineyards, and thick forests alive with wildlife are just some of the beautiful things that make up these places we call home. Covering over 215,000 square kilometres, Interior Health is diverse in nature and composed of vibrant urban centres and unique rural communities. This @IH feature shines a spotlight on many of these places ‌ and perhaps will entice you to add them to your travel wish list. This month we feature photos near Cranbrook, Grand Forks, Okanagan, and Nelson.

Submit your photos of the beautiful places that make up IH:

snapshots from the region ... Kathy Hiebert, Admin Support Receptionist at the Summerland Health Centre, was recognized by her colleagues during Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week (Feb. 10-16) for her commitment, passion, and enthusiasm. Kathy is also the head volunteer for the Penticton Options for Sexual Health Clinic (Opt) and recently completed an eight week on-line program for Opt volunteers focusing on peer birth control counseling and skills necessary to communicate with clients about their sexual health. Pictured below, Kathy unpacks 25 boxes of condoms for distribution at health centres across the South Okanagan, an important part of the sexual health program.

TELUS Community Ambassador Volunteer Linda Hayes (above left) presents RN Cathy Roberts, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Cardiac Services, with the 129th heart pillow donated since open heart surgery started at KGH in December 2012. These pillows are given to open-heart surgery patients to hug, which supports their chest incision and aids in healing and recovery.

The IH Rural Emergency Medicine Simulation Program facilitators held their annual Simulation Forum in February. Dr. Jeff Plant, Simulation Medical Director, brings this team together annually to review highlights, lessons learned, and advanced educational components that enhance the program. Pictured here are the Simulation Program facilitators. Back (L-R): Lynn Gerien, Dr. Ran Golden, Shelly Koochin, Kevin Jarva, Dr. Todd Ring, Dr. Keith Hepburn. Middle (L-R): Colleen Luttman, Colleen Brayman, Dr. Jeff Plant. Front (L-R): Helen Clugston, “Junior,� Dr. Tara Gill, Roger deWeerd.

RN Sky Snook (left) and Physiotherapist Arlana Taylor give Wilf Nash, 86, the Berg Balance Test to check his risk of a fall. Wilf, a Vernon resident, is among the first clients registered in the newly announced Home First program, which provides extra supports to help frail seniors remain in their own home.

On Feb. 24, Kelly Scott’s Kelowna curling foursome took the bronze medal at the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kingston Ontario. Interior Health’s Jeanna Schraeder (centre right) is a member of Team Scott and works as an Information Development Coordinator in Kelowna. Congratulations Jeanna! (Photo Credit: Andrew Klaver and CCA)

The HR Operations team in IH West show their support for Pink Shirt Day by demonstrating the importance of standing together to change behaviour and stop bullying. (L-R) Vincent Yew, Galadriel Jolly, Nicole Lindsay, Ryann Larson, Bernice Doedel, Trisha Shetler, Lisa Jensen, and Jas Heer.

March 2013 - Interior Health  

Edition 130