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See P. 6



beyond Palliative team offers best end-of-life care See P. 30

See P. 16

BRINGING IT HOME RCC helps with transitional care

Adventure of a lifetime

See P. 25



See P. 20

The Village Grocer is a one-of-a-kind approach to food and the surrounding experience!

What began many years ago as a mom and pop butcher shop has evolved in the breadth of our offerings, the venue in which we entertain our customers and the “family” of folk who look after you here. Our approach to food has been noted with acclaim within our industry as being truly unique. In a nutshell, one could say that we are home to artisans, as we take the time to make many, many of the items that we offer, and it’s a common theme among our expats that their new surroundings are great, yet the one thing that they miss is...The Village Grocer! What makes this so is our unyielding adherence to the principle of quality ingredients, freshly done, and made with time-honoured methods that bring the best out in what we do. Add to this mix a sense of adventure with the world of food, and a sense of taste and style, with the complimentary aspect of bringing food to the table. Not only do we bake from scratch, just like at home, but we make so many signature down-home products, from bacon to ham, that harken back to bygone days of real quality. Now add to all this a real and continuing commitment to “community” and all that it “ ...making life a little bit easier with fresh food entails, and a real eagerness done the old fashioned way, that’s what we do” to make all of your meals as - Evan MacDonald Owner of The Village Grocer enjoyable as they can be. So whether you are planning a party for many, an evening with a few, or a meal for one, you will find yourself in good helpful hands in our little store that grew. 4476 16th Avenue, Unionville Ontario (905) 940-0655



28 Gala brings South Asian community together to support cardiac care.




4M  SH NEWS What’s new at the hospital and in the community.

6A  LONGSIDE COMES TO LIFE Canada’s first in-hospital midwifery unit opens.

8 C  OMMUNITY EVENTS Incredible fundraisers hosted by hospital supporters.

20 A  DVENTURE OF A LIFETIME Everest team scales the heights of compassion.

16 S  TAYING ON TRACK Markham’s own Phylicia George recently became a dual-season Olympian. We catch up with the bobsledding hurdler for tips on health and fitness, and discover what it means to rep Canada all year round.

10 U  PCOMING EVENTS Events and fundraisers to add to your calendar.

22 T  HE POWER OF YOUR GENEROSITY A glimpse of the incredible impact donations have made.

12 M  SH HEROES Recognizing the heroic accomplishments of our staff and friends.

25 H  OME AWAY FROM HOME New facility ‘reactivates’ long-term care patients.

28 S  IGNATURE EVENTS The Festival of Colours, presented by RBC and the SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women.

30 A  SOFT PLACE TO LAND How palliative care offers comfort and dignity for patients and families.

32 F  INANCIALLY SPEAKING Your children are your legacy.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation








beyond Palliative team offers best end-of-life care

See P. 30

See P. 16

BRINGING IT HOME RCC helps with post-hospital transition

Adventure of a lifetime

See P. 25






ART DIRECTOR Angela Iori SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Suzana Esteves CONTRIBUTORS Vawn Himmelsbach, Rachel Naud, Dawn Ritchie, Maggie Welt EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Sarah Moore DIRECTOR, CONTENT & ENGAGEMENT Levon Stevenson PROJECT MANAGERS Anne Cuiry Suntharalingam, Melanie Anderson PHOTOGRAPHER Brian Hamilton MARKHAM STOUFFVILLE HOSPITAL, EDITORIAL ADVISORS Lisa Joyce, Suzette Strong VICE PRESIDENT SALES, STAR METROLAND MEDIA Carolyn Sadler PUBLISHER Star Metroland Media PRINT & INSERTING SALES MANAGER, STAR METROLAND MEDIA Robert Wildbore ADVERTISING SALES Melanie Anderson, Star Metroland Media, Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville.™ is published twice a year by Star Metroland Media Content Solutions, in partnership with the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the publisher. The material in this publication is intended for general information purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the material, it does not constitute advice or carry the specific endorsement of either Star Metroland Media or Markham Stouffville Hospital. Readers are encouraged to consult their doctor to discuss their health concerns.

Dear Friends, We often hear from people how much the hospital has grown and changed over the years. When we opened our doors in 1990 to the Markham community, sometimes the team only saw one or two patients the entire night in the Emergency Department. Fast forward to today and it’s not unusual for our Emergency team to see almost 300 patients a day. Now, every year more than 330,000 patients come through the doors of our three sites for treatment and rely on Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH). We have adapted, grown and responded to the ever-changing landscape of community healthcare and its rapidly growing and aging population. The only thing that is constant is change and change often leads to trying something new. In this magazine, you will read about a few firsts that we are incredibly proud of — the first-ever in-hospital Alongside Midwifery Unit in Canada and our move to the first Reactivation Care Centre of its kind — offering specialized care for those transitioning out of hospital. We understand the importance of being innovative and open to change to provide the best possible care in our community. We have embraced technology in the recent launch of the hospital’s new website: We are excited about this change — a refreshed look with new functionality and the enhanced ability to provide up-to-date information to you. Although change is the new constant, and healthcare is influenced by innovation and technology, it is still a high touch industry that relies on human interaction. It’s about people and this is one thing we believe MSH does exceptionally well. We blend the latest cutting edge technology with compassionate care. That’s what our patients expect of us. And it is you, our grateful patients and generous community, who have enabled us to provide extraordinary care close to home. Governments cannot fund all hospital equipment and priority needs. Your giving will leave a lasting impact on our friends, families and neighbours who turn to our community hospital in their time of need — and for that we cannot thank you enough.

Suzette Strong CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Jo-anne Marr President & CEO, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018




WE’RE SOCIAL! We love hearing from our community. Tell us about your experience and why you love MSH. @MSHospital

New leadership at the top MSH has a new Chief of Staff. Dr. Caroline Geenen, a neurologist, joins the senior leadership of the hospital as it continues to deliver on its goal of providing world-class patient care. Dr. Geenen has been with the hospital for 22 years — the last seven as Chief of Medicine — and brings a strong focus on physician relationships and physician accountability to the position. While Chief of Medicine, she participated in numerous quality improvement projects, led the recruitment of a number of physicians and brought new specialities, including geriatrics, to the hospital. As a strong patient advocate and collaborative leader, she brings great depth of experience to this exciting and challenging role.

She is the first female Chief of Staff in the history of MSH. It’s believed she is bringing a fresh and unique perspective and approach to the role. “Dr. Geenen brings a wealth of

BRINGING THE HOSPITAL HOME There’s a new clinic located inside MSH, but its focus is by no means contained within its walls. This clinic is all about community where care services are brought to the patient. The Community Medicine Clinic (CMC), opened in February, was established to support patients better, grow partnerships between primary care physicians and community care providers. The CMC is part of the larger Hospital to Home program, which provides patients with care services in their home, from an interdisciplinary team of professionals with the strategic objective to help prevent


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

re-admissions into the Emergency Department and the hospital. The CMC will be working in partnership with York Region Paramedics Services and Home and Community Services. This new clinic, which is located in a temporary space in Clinic 4, is an important addition to the hospital’s commitment to keeping the community healthy.

experience, both clinical and within medical administration,” says Jo-anne Marr, President and CEO. “And I look forward to working closely with her on our organizational priorities, including focusing on engaging with all of our highly-skilled and passionate physicians.” She succeeds Dr. David Austin, who served as Chief of Staff for 11 years at MSH and will continue to care for patients in the capacity of emergency physician. Dr. Geenen says that she is keen to embrace the role and its possibilities. “I’m really excited about MSH’s future and the great momentum of the organization,” says Dr. Geenen. “I have seen this hospital grow and change tremendously over the past two decades and am eager to lead my fellow physicians in shaping the future of healthcare in our community.” (L-R) Munira Thayani, Interim Manager, Care Transitions, Cheryl Osborne, Director, Care Transitions and Dr. Roshan Shafai.

“The goal of this program is to improve patient access to healthcare services, providing a seamless transition for our patients to return to the comfort of their own homes and timely access to medical specialists including an internal medicine specialist, nurse practitioner and nurse navigator,” says Munira Thayani, Interim Manager, Care Transitions.



Handle with care Precious things come in small packages. And those packages need to be handled with care. In that spirit, MSH has begun using a new neonatal transport system for babies — the first of its kind in Ontario — called the Airborne Voyager Transport System. The state-of-the-art equipment monitors the baby’s vital signs, regulates temperature, and provides oxygen and intravenous medicine, as required. It was developed in partnership with McMaster Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, SickKids and London Health Sciences Children’s Hospital to meet new transportation requirements and standardize the level-three transport system across Ontario. That

MSH staff with York Region Paramedic Services

means it can be used to transport the littlest patients in the back of an ambulance or by air. This isolette meets all the requisite specifications and is compliant with the Ontario Provincial and Ambulance and Emergency Response Standards. At MSH, extensive isolette training has been completed. York Region Paramedic Services and Voyageur will continue

to collaborate and provide education to their respective paramedics as required. With its unveiling, MSH becomes the first level two Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to receive the new system. Thanks to the generosity of hospital donors and the important work done by the MSH Foundation, five patients have benefitted from the new isolette since its launch in February.

All charged up

Professional Practice team with SimMan.

It is important that our patients and visitors are able to stay in touch with family and loved ones. We’ve made this much easier than before. New phone charging stations are now available in locations throughout the hospital — notably the cafeteria and the main lobby. This enhanced offering will be free of charge for patients and visitors thanks to the important work done by the MSH Foundation.

This is no dummy! MSH recently introduced a true model employee. Well, almost. The hospital now has a new adult patient simulator mannequin, which will support the interprofessional team members during new-hire orientation and skills refresher days. It will also be used during mock code blues (cardiac arrest). The mannequin, an untethered and wireless medium-fidelity simulator, will enable users to run simulated-patient scenarios in

the simulation lab or on units. The simulation mannequin is used during orientation, in which new staff learn about the processes for deteriorating patients. “The exercises provide incredible learning experiences,” says Mary Bayliss, Director, Interprofessional Practice & Education. “The simulator mannequin is really valuable in creating close to real-life patient care situations from which our staff and physicians can hone their skills.” Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018



Dr. Helena Jaczek, then Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (right) visited MSH to announce the Ontario government’s support of the AMU. Pictured here with Cheryl Osborne, Director, Childbirth and Children’s Services (left) and Carol Cameron, Executive Director, AMU.

Canada’s first-ever in-hospital midwifery unit opens at MSH BY VAWN HIMMELSBACH


t’s been years in the making, but the Alongside Midwifery Unit (AMU) at MSH — the first of its kind in Canada — will be ready to open its doors to patients soon. Midwives have been an integral part of the childbirth care team at MSH since 1994, when midwifery was first legislated as a health profession in Ontario. Midwives work collaboratively with the obstetrics team to provide women with a choice in their childbirth experience. Now, with an AMU that is, like its name suggests, alongside the obstetrical unit, midwives will staff, run and govern their own unit. All 22


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

midwives who currently practice at MSH are moving across the hall, which will not only provide more birthing options for women, but will also cut costs and aid with the recruitment and retention of midwives. “We want women to be involved in their care and we want their families to feel welcome,” says Carol Cameron, Executive Director of the AMU and a registered midwife, who has been with MSH since the start of its midwifery practice. Women already have the choice to give birth at home, at a birth centre or in a hospital. But the idea behind the AMU is to provide another alternative.

At a birth centre, women cannot choose an epidural for pain relief or oxytocin for an induction. At the AMU, however, midwives are authorized to monitor epidurals and manage oxytocin. “Midwives are experts at normal birth,” says Carol. “The vast majority of women expect a normal birth, but some experience birth interventions. Studies in Canada and internationally found that women who receive midwifery care are less likely to need interventions.” The midwifery model of care embraces best practices while facilitating normal births for low-risk, healthy women. The option of a home birth will continue to be offered to all


appropriate midwifery clients — in addition to the 1,000-plus births per year planned to take place at the AMU. “It’s called a midwifery unit because it’s staffed, run and governed by midwives,” says Carol. “We’re selfregulatory, we’re autonomous, and we’re very well integrated at MSH.” The proximity of obstetrical services will expand the services available for midwifery patients and reduce the need for transfer of care if complications arise. This innovative model for maternal care provides accessible, efficient and cost-effective care while providing women with a much-needed option related to their childbirth experience. Being “alongside” the obstetrical unit has its advantages. Patients have access to other supports on the same floor if needed during labour and birth, including diagnostic services and medical treatment such as obstetrical, neonatal and anaesthetic care. “While we do what we do best, which is look after women who are fairly low risk and their expected outcome is a fairly normal birth, there could be complications, so we have a quick and easy way to get women to an obstetrician or operating room,” says Carol. “We’re literally 50 feet away — it takes 22 seconds to get into the obstetrical unit.” About 12 per cent of women are transferred during labour due to complications, she says, in which case the obstetrician will become their main care provider while the midwife plays a supportive role. In the AMU, however, the midwife is the lead professional. “We have our own policies specific to midwives that reflect our scope; we have our own standards of care based on provincial, national and international standards for midwives. We’re responsible for patient safety and good quality and good outcomes,” says Carol. “The midwives and the hospital are very invested in that.” With the AMU, midwives can care for more women in the community — from the current level of 600 per year to 1,100 — with the same number of midwives. This is done without increasing costs; in fact, midwifery services save a significant amount of money. “The cost to deliver is so much lower, roughly about half,” says Carol. Serving more clients while saving

money is possible through the AMU’s support structure, where an on-site midwife hospitalist is available 24/7 to field phone calls, provide consultations, induce labours and support women with long labours; she can also start care once a client arrives at the AMU, calling in the community midwife only when she’s needed during labour (and allowing the community midwife to take on more clients). “Midwife hospitalists are senior midwives with a lot of experience and leadership,” says Carol. “Community midwives still have the relationship with the client, and the client has a known midwife at their birth, but that midwife is well supported by the hospitalist.”

Jo-anne Marr, President & CEO, MSH.

THE AMU AT A GLANCE The partnership between midwives and obstetricians improves access to the right care close to home and the coordination of care in the community. It also allows patients to be partners in their own health care by providing education, information and options. The AMU is located in its own designated unit, alongside the obstetrical unit, and is led, governed and staffed by midwives. MSH has a multi-year agreement for funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, while additional funds are provided by the hospital.


This ensures timely access to care and professional support to midwife colleagues, as well as oversight of student experiences. It also allows a new midwife to learn from a more experienced midwife, aiding with recruitment and retention. While the AMU is situated alongside the obstetrical unit, the birthing rooms don’t look anything like a typical hospital room. Instead of a clinical environment, the AMU birthing rooms offer alternatives typically found at a birthing centre — where the bed is not the focal point of the room. The AMU has six specially equipped birthing rooms outfitted with upright birthing stools, hanging slings on ceiling tracks and tubs suitable for water births, allowing women to adopt upright positions. The rooms will also have double-sided Murphy beds for rest after giving birth. “It gives women an alternative option,” says Cameron. “I’m a big proponent of home births — not everybody wants that, but they don’t necessarily want to go into a clinical setting either.” Freestanding clinics are an option, but if there are any complications during the birthing process, or if the woman chooses to have an epidural, she must be transferred to hospital — which isn’t an issue in the AMU. It’s expected that 80 per cent of women will go home within six hours after giving birth, and their midwife will follow up with them providing care for mom and baby in the woman’s own home. To help with starting up a brand new unit, MSH and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provided funding for equipment, furnishings and one-time costs. “The Ministry has helped us out considerably by bridging the gap,” says Carol. “You can’t double your births overnight, so the Ministry is helping to fund the difference so we can provide this model.” In partnership with McMaster University, MSH is conducting a multiyear evaluation of the costs, benefits and outcomes of the AMU. “If clients and midwives and other users are satisfied with the way this works,” says Carol, “we’re confident that other hospitals are going to want to replicate this.” n Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018






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12 Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation





1. FIGHT LIKE A SURVIVOR SELF DEFENCE CLASS Wendy and Kim from MSH’s Breast Health Centre give Paul, Kyra, Marina and Evan a plaque of appreciation. 2. 16TH ANNUAL CANADIANS OF PAKISTANI ORIGIN ANNUAL GALA Suzette and Jo-anne accept $250,000 on behalf of MSH. 3. CF MARKVILLE COAT CHECK FUNDRAISING PROGRAM Nancy and Daryl of CF Markville present a cheque of $5,000 to Allan.


4. LEMONADE SALE AT BOX GROVE CONNECTED’S PLAZA PALOOZA Ayush, Adam and Sujan present Suzette with their lemonade sale money jar. 5. HOPE WITH ART FUNDRAISING ART EASEL PROGRAM Allan presents a gift of recognition to Don Ross of ManorHill Fine Art for raising over $6,000. 6. FÊTE CHINOISE BY PALETTERA Jennifer & Deborah from Palettera/Fête Chinoise committee present $52,000 to Madeline, Suzette and Dr. Simon Yang. 7. STOUFFVILLE PHARMASAVE CHARITY BBQ Allan graciously accepts $5,136 from the Stouffville Pharmasave team. 8. ONE DECADE IN A CENTURY NEW HORIZON GALA Members of Canada – HK New Horizon Lions Club with Dr. Sundeep Toor and MSHF’s Anita. Photo Credit: Peter Liang


9. AMICI SPA GALA Allan, Sue, grateful patient speaker and the DiMartino men – Andrew and Cory. 10.  ECCO SHOES CANADA HOLIDAY CONTRIBUTION Allan presents a recognition plaque to Vivian and Jordan of ECCO Shoes Canada. 11. MARKHAM’S GOT TALENT Joelle and her family present Madeline with a cheque for $2,025. 12. SHOPPERS DRUG MART GROWING WOMEN’S HEALTH CAMPAIGN Pharmacy owners present $24,021 to Suzette. 13. SUPERSTAR REALTY GALA Mary of JCY Group, Leo & Lyann of Superstars Realty receive an appreciation plaque from Dr. Yang and Allan for raising $20,000.


#MSHCOMMUNITY Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018




These upcoming fundraising events truly demonstrate the incredible support system that is our community. Whether you organize, support or attend an event — thank you for believing in the extraordinary work done at MSH.

HOST A FUNDRAISING EVENT! No event is too big or small. EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS! Find out more at or contact Amy at or 905-472-7373 ext. 6647


JUL. 6-8

MARKHAM RIBFEST Downtown Markham Parking Lot Enjoy delicious food from top ribbers, local food trucks and more! With a kids zone and live entertainment daily, you don’t want to miss this event. For details visit

AUG. 24-26

RIDE FOR MENTAL HEALTH Markham to Montreal Neil Mitchell and the “Heavy Rollers” cycling team will travel 750 km for mental health wellness at MSH. For details contact Amy at 905-472-7373 ext. 6647 or


8TH ANNUAL MSH LEADERS NIGHT AT THE RACES Woodbine Racetrack Enjoy a lovely dinner, cocktails, an amazing track-side view, auction, raffle and networking opportunities. Contact Amy at 905-472-7373 ext. 6647 or or visit


ANGUS GLEN FALL RACE Angus Glen Golf Club This fall event has a race for everyone. Participate in the 5K, 10K, 10 Miler, or Kids 1K. Check for early bird rates!

19TH ANNUAL ALEX CHIU GOLF TOURNAMENT Angus Glen Golf Club Alex Chiu, Ward 8 Councillor for the City of Markham, hosts this annual tournament.

SEPT. 17-23

TIM HORTONS SMILE COOKIE CAMPAIGN Markham & Stouffville Tim Hortons Restaurants Purchase a Smile Cookie for only $1 (plus tax) at participating Markham and Stouffville locations and support children’s care at MSH!

MON. AUG. 13

34TH ANNUAL MSH FOUNDATION GOLF TOURNAMENT York Downs Golf & Country Club Enjoy a day of golf, auctions and great food. Sponsorship opportunities available, contact Allan at 905-472-7395 or or visit golf.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

SUN. NOV. 11

29TH ANNUAL CIBC CELEBRATION OF HOPE LUNCHEON Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites Conference Centre and Spa Grab your girlfriends and join us for a day of shopping, entertainment and lunch benefiting cancer care at MSH. Contact Catherine at 905-472-7373 ext. 6606 or or visit

Let’s make tomorrow healthier and brighter.


Maintaining the health and wellness of the communities we live and work in, is essential to shaping a better tomorrow. That’s why we are proud to support Markham Stouffville Hospital. Learn more at

CIBC Cube Design & “Banking that fits your life.” are trademarks of CIBC.


Recognizing the heroic day-to-day accomplishments of our people





In high school, she was a ‘candy striper’ at her local hospital and always felt a strong connection to helping others. When she walked through the doors at MSH seven years ago to begin volunteering, Brenda Young had a powerful feeling. “It was like returning home,” she says. She was stepping into a hospital once again with a strong desire to help. And help she does. Brenda volunteers at the Plastics Clinic every Wednesday, and at the Fracture Clinic on Thursdays — often arriving with home-baked treats for everyone. Much of her time is spent managing patient charts, and doing whatever it takes to keep things “moving smoothly.” As a Markham resident for more than four decades, Brenda had long wished the community would get a hospital of its own. “I had seen how traumatic it was for families when patients had to travel out of the community for hospital stays or emergency treatment,” she says. So, she was thrilled when MSH opened its doors in 1990. Since then, each of her eight grandchildren were born at


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

the hospital, and many other family members and friends have been treated here. The connection makes her volunteerism that much more valuable. “I love being with patients, and giving them a little extra.” Sometimes that means holding their hand, getting a nervous child to smile, answering general questions and other times it’s just being there to listen. My priority is the comfort of the patient.” And that, she says, is incredibly fulfilling. “You can’t put a price on helping people,” says Brenda, who fondly recalls a patient who returned from

overseas travel with a token of their appreciation for her kindness. She couldn’t believe they had thought of her while they were away, and she will forever treasure the gift — a lovely, little jewelry box. Brenda also loves to help MSH’s doctors and nurses, who really make her feel like part of the team. And she knows her time is appreciated when the staff tell her they don’t know what they’d do without her. She takes this compliment with much gratitude. “The staff and volunteers here have my utmost respect,” she says. “I see the tireless dedication that is given. I am very proud to be part of MSH.” n







Dr. Mateya Trinkaus would love to talk to you about her patients and the exciting developments in cancer treatment — that’s if she wasn’t so busy actually treating those patients. For Dr. Trinkaus — who joined MSH in 2011, having completed her residency at the University of Toronto, and additional sub-specialty training in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia — her work is truly a labour of love. She is proud of what MSH’s Cancer Clinic is able to provide for its community. “As a smaller centre, we can offer individuals a unique touch at a time when they and their families need it most,” says Dr. Trinkaus. MSH’s small and dedicated oncology team provides patients with a holistic treatment approach addressing the many aspects that come with treating cancer, which often includes getting to know patients’ families, too. And patients tend to appreciate the relatively intimate size of the clinic. “Everyone knows their name, their hopes and fears and they see the same doctor at each appointment.” Many patients, she adds, “are reluctant to go elsewhere for further treatment.” Why oncology? Dr. Trinkaus says cancer patients are a vulnerable population, who are “extra special, and wonderful to treat.” And, after all, everyone has had their life touched by cancer at some point. This drives her passion for not only treating the disease, but also “changing the trajectory of cancer.” Dr. Trinkaus says that a large part of her job is helping patients achieve their goals and find meaning in their lives, while delivering the best available treatments with the fewest side effects. “This can’t be done alone,” she says. “I work with a strong group of caring nurses, allied health professionals, the diagnostic imaging and lab departments at MSH — and we especially rely on the community to continue supporting our growing Cancer Clinic.” While she hopes she can help cure many of her patients, when this is not possible, she strives to ensure her patients have a good quality of life for as long as possible. As cancer care improves, Dr. Trinkaus says her job is becoming all the more challenging. “It is getting harder to predict prognoses as patients are living longer. To deliver the best treatments closer to home and keep up with our patient needs, our Cancer Clinic continues to grow at a rapid pace.” n Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018






Ethylene Ricafort has been registering patients and booking their appointments at MSH for nearly 22 years. That’s more than two decades of pure kindness. Patients lucky enough to meet her at the desk when they walk in for an appointment, or hear her warm voice on the other end of the phone, seldom forget her. Ethylene knows that the people she is scheduling appointments for are often under a lot of stress, so she and her team, “try to help as much as we can.” Her typical day is a juggling act. “A big part of it is trying to get people squeezed in for appointments,”


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

she says. “Especially the walk-ins.” Ethylene organizes patient scheduling and books diagnostic and oncology appointments. She knows patients are often worried, so she endeavours to be calm and helpful. “We like to go above and beyond, despite knowing we can’t accommodate everyone.” Ethylene loves her team, many of whom have worked together for years. “MSH is a great place to work,” she says. “Even when the work is stressful we try to have fun together.” They tend to know and care about each other’s lives and families, which she came to appreciate in a whole new way 10 years ago when

she was diagnosed with cancer. That experience also showed Ethylene a whole new side of MSH – from the patient’s perspective. She had long considered herself lucky to have such a great job, and as a patient she felt fortunate to receive such great treatment. “I really appreciated the level of care.” Ethylene finds her work satisfying because she knows she’s helping people, but it certainly doesn’t hurt when patients stop by to show or express their gratitude. She adds, “It is always appreciated.” n






Fifteen years ago, Jacquie Dunne asked to work at MSH on a student placement. Happily, she’s still here today. Jacquie, a Registered Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), particularly loves the culture at MSH, which notably includes the whole staff being on a first-name basis. She says lots of patients and visitors have commented to her about the positive mood that permeates the hospital over the years, and she takes great pride in that. Jacquie, who began her work as a post-partum nurse, is proud of what she can offer in the NICU. “It’s the best place in the hospital to be,” she says. “There are highs and lows, but I have the chance to turn the hospital experience around for our families.” She recalls one particular family that spent three weeks in the NICU over Christmas because their baby had meningitis. Jacquie and her team asked Santa to visit with presents for the whole family. They truly appreciated it, as did the whole team in the NICU: they were able to give a little something extra to a family that needed a smile. Jacquie now has two young boys of her own, and says being a mom has entirely changed her nursing. Having kids has brought her to a new level of compassion in her job, along with a keen awareness. “I know now that there isn’t one solution for everyone, and that nothing is black and white.” Her beloved family and her years of experience have also taught her that she has to be 100 per cent while at the hospital, and then leave work at work. This balance, she says, gives her the energy to face each day and the new challenges it brings. So what does spending an entire career (to date) at MSH feel like? “I still feel lucky to be here,” she says. “I couldn’t picture being anywhere else.” n Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018



STAYING ON TRACK Olympian Phylicia George shares tips on health and exercise, and what it means to represent her hometown of Markham. BY SEAN DEASY


easons change. And for the weekend warriors among us, that means participating in our seasonal sport of choice. For Phylicia George of Markham, changing seasons means competing at different sports, too. But she happens to do it at the highest level on the planet for world-class athletes: The Olympics. Phylicia became a dual-season Olympian at PyeongChang 2018, making her Winter Olympic debut as a bobsledder, having competed in track


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

at the summer games in London 2012 and Rio 2016. She and teammate Kaillie Humphries brought home the bronze medal in the two-women bobsleigh. Phylicia’s breakthrough year was 2011 when she broke the 13-second barrier for the first time in the 100-metre hurdles. She also finished second at the Canadian Championships, qualifying her for the IAAF World Championships where she made the final. But becoming an Olympian – and

competing well there – was the stuff of dreams. “Going to my first Olympics was a dream come true, but not only going to the Olympics; making a final was a great accomplishment. I think any time I get the opportunity to represent my country, it’s an amazing feeling.” Why the jump to winter competition? The chance to further represent her home and country, says Phylicia. “I think very few people have the opportunity to say that they are a


Summer Olympian and a Winter Olympian,” she says. “I’m always someone who wants to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it and I’m really happy that I did. Going to an Olympics, and winning a medal and bringing it home for Canada. That was just a surreal experience.”


Having her community behind her helps inspire Phylicia, who’s family considers MSH their hospital. A strong believer in the adage, ‘It takes a village,’ she feels fortunate and grateful for all the people who have contributed to her successful career. And a big part of that, she says, is the support of her hometown. “I know that I’ve been very fortunate, growing up in Markham,” she says. “Not everybody can say that they’re from somewhere that has great facilities, and that they got a really great education. Those are all things that allowed me to chase after my dreams. And be the best that I can be.”


As a dual-season athlete, Phylicia trains year-round. But there are huge distinctions in how she approaches training for each sport. The beginning of the year is about conditioning, she says, and setting up a foundation for the rest of the year. When she’s training for bobsleigh, the focus is on one maximum effort: being as powerful and as explosive as possible. “I had to change the way I lifted, because I had to put on a lot of weight,” says Phylicia. “It’s totally different from training for track and field, where the weights are about being strong, but not necessarily about being as strong as possible.” What fitness tips does she share with nonOlympians? The holistic approach.

“I think running is a great exercise in general, because it works your whole body,” she says. “A lot of people think about targeting a specific spot, but I think the best way to approach fitness, is to focus on your whole body. You can’t just do sit ups, if you’re trying to get a great stomach. It’s that, plus squatting, and running. All those things combined together will help.”


Diet and nutrition are obviously essential for all of us. That gets ratcheted up for a high-performance athlete such as Phylicia. “I’m pretty strict about my nutrition. In general, I just try to eat clean. When I say ‘clean,’ I try to eat real food,” she says. “Staying away from processed foods. So I tend to eat lots of veggies. My plate is generally, maybe half veggies, and then protein, and then carbs. I try to have my plate as colourful as possible – that’s generally a good mixture of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.” Does she have any guilty pleasures when it comes to food? “I have a really big sweet tooth; I’m addicted to Skittles. So when I’m in season, I have to go cold turkey. I


don’t allow myself any candy at all. If I’m home and there’s candy, it’s a temptation. So I make sure I don’t even bring it into the house.” Ultimately, she says eating clean is about establishing variety and maintaining a balanced diet. “I think, as we’ve evolved as humans, we were eating varied diets. And now we get stuck in this, ‘Oh, you’re supposed to have rice every day.’ And that’s not great. So I’ll go to the grocery store, and explore new vegetables, for instance. So, I feel like I’m getting lots of variety.”


Two of the most important life lessons Phylicia has learned, especially as a competitor, is be true to who she is and to appreciate her own strengths and goals. And as a female athlete, she says it’s crucial to pursue her goals unapologetically. “There’s nothing wrong with having a goal, and being aggressive about it,” she says. “Throughout my whole career, I’ve had people tell me, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ So I’ve always set my goals very high, and just because somebody else doesn’t think you can do it, doesn’t mean that it’s not possible.” Phylicia will continue to raise the bar for herself this year – even expanding her track repertoire to include the 100-metre sprint as well as hurdles – as she competes at the Canadian Championships in Ottawa in July, and the NACAC Senior Championships in Toronto, in August. All with an eye to preparing for the 2019 World Championships, and then 2020 Summer Olympics. And, beyond that? “Definitely the possibility of going back out to bobsleigh,” she says. If it sounds like a lot of hard work – it is. “Reaching your goals always comes with hard work,” says Phylicia. “But it’s always worth it in the end.” n Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018


Proudly Supporting Our Community. Congratulations to the recent WINNER of this 2018 RAV4 ! Thanks

to all who entered the raffle supporting Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

Some of the services we offer for our guests: PROFESSIONAL

Collision Centre


FREE estimates on any bodywork, whether your vehicle has been in a collision or you would just like to cleanup any dents and scratches.

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Accredited Test & Repair Facility

1288 Millard Street, Stouffville Sales: (905) 642-6688 or (416) 921-1288 Service: (905) 642-9558

Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018




Everest trek team fuelled by spirit of giving back BY VAWN HIMMELSBACH


hough it’s home to some of the highest peaks, Nepal is also one of the poorest countries in the world — and it lacks universal healthcare. Most hospitals are located in larger towns and cities, but demand exceeds supply; Kathmandu has only one doctor for every 850 people. In rural areas, there’s often no access to healthcare. Many Nepalese are dealing with illnesses and disease related to poverty, which would otherwise be preventable. That’s one of the reasons why a team of physicians and healthcare providers


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

from MSH donated their time, visited local hospitals, participated in one-onone meetings with administrators and hosted presentations to physicians — all before embarking on a two-week trek to Everest Base Camp. “It’s such a great cause for the hospital,” says Dr. Mitesh Mehta, who led the clinical portion of the trip. “To throw in the fact you can actually teach the medical teams in Nepal and learn from one another, it’s all around a win-win for MSH and for the people of Nepal.” The MSH Trek Team consisted of 25 physicians, staff and supporters. Each participant committed to a personal fundraising goal of at least $10,000, collecting donations before, during and after the trip. This adventure celebrates the 65th anniversary of the successful ascent of Mount Everest — the highest mountain in the world at 29,028 feet — by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Organized and documented by Canadian Adventure Productions,

the MSH Trek Team was accompanied by Hillary’s son, Peter. This isn’t the first time MSH has raised money through a once-in-alifetime challenge. In 2011, a team of 18 participants from MSH raised $550,000 for child and adolescent mental health and climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. This time around, the donations will be used to fund a new operating room (OR) with state-of-the-art equipment. The team hopes to raise at least $750,000 to build a specialized hybrid OR to increase capacity for surgical procedures and decrease wait times at MSH. The visits, which included two teaching hospitals, were organized by Dr. Subash Pyakurel, founder and CEO of Health Concern. This Kathmandu-based consulting firm helps patients understand their options for healthcare in a country that has no universal healthcare and a high level of poverty. As a land-locked, mountainous country, Nepal has unique healthcare challenges. And with few or no roads in rural areas — along with monsoon rains in the summer that make them impassable — people might have to walk for days to get appropriate healthcare. Health issues include tuberculosis, poliomyelitis and osteomyelitis — all


diseases related to poverty. “One of the big things they want to improve and eradicate is uterine prolapse among the local population,” says Dr. Mehta, who delivered a presentation on pancreatic pathology at Thribuvan University Teaching Hospital in Nepal to an audience of radiology staff and residents. Other issues include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, dyspepsia, hypertension, gynecological issues, acid reflux and multi-system trauma. “In the mountains there’s lots of physical issues with joints and spine, and then also of course common infections,” he says. For gastroenterologist Dr. Iain Murray, trekking to Everest Base Camp was a bucket-list item. As part of a visit to National Academy of Medical

Nepal Mountain Mobile Hospital and Phaplu Hospital — bringing with them donated medical supplies gathered by the MSH community. Phaplu Hospital was built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1975 to provide medical services to the densely populated Solukhumbu District of Nepal; today, it’s one of the top 10 healthcare facilities in Nepal. One of the most memorable interactions for the MSH trek team, however, was visiting one of the world’s highest hospitals, in Kunde — built and supported by the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation. “They have experienced no maternal deaths in over 20 years by providing antenatal care. They have a strong family planning program and childhood vaccination program — they have had no outbreaks of communicable disease for the past number of years,”

Members of the trek team visit Dhulikhel Hospital – an independent, not for profit, nongovernment healthcare facility.

Science Bir Hospital, one of Nepal’s oldest and busiest public hospitals located in the heart of Kathmandu, Dr. Murray participated in rounds and gave a Western perspective on diverticular disease. Emergency physician Dr. Roberta Hood, midwife Tiffany Haidon, and hospital administrators Barb Steed and Clint Atendido toured the Emergency Department, with multiple opportunities to collaborate on enhancing nursing care. And family physician Dr. Eileen Lougheed and nurse practitioner Stephen Ng toured


says Barb Steed, Executive VicePresident of Patient Services and Chief Practice Officer, MSH. The MSH team saw first-hand the strides that Nepal’s physicians are making — and the challenges they face. “Coming here you appreciate how, no matter where you live, having the support of a community behind your efforts to provide the best possible care is so important,” says Barb. Public, private and community hospitals all rely on community support. Shyam Sundar, for example, donated land to fund a private hospital after his four-year-old son was struck and killed by a jeep on his way home from school — and had no access to a nearby hospital. The not-for-profit hospital, now the Siddhi Memorial Hospital for Women and Children, has 75 beds, including operating rooms, children’s wards and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. And while it receives donations from foreign embassies, including Canada, as well as non-governmental organizations and volun-tourists, it’s still a struggle to keep the lights on (and Sundar, for his part, works without a salary). “Our team was able to further appreciate what we do have and the care we are able to provide,” says Dr. Mehta. “We recognize the support we receive from our generous donors allows us to provide excellent care. We were also thoroughly impressed by the level of care the Nepalese can provide given their limited resources and their commitment and desire to improve.” Support the team, watch video highlights and read the official MSH Trek Everest blog at: n

(L-R) Dr. Roberta Hood, Barb Steed and Tiffany Haidon volunteer at Thribuvan University Teaching Hospital.

Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018



THE POWER OF YOUR A glimpse of how donations impact the hospital and our community.







MSH: THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY MSH is at the heart of our vibrant community— and is central to the future of our thriving neighbourhoods. Your generous support makes a lasting impact on the lives of the thousands of patients and their families who rely on their community hospital each and every day.



Statistics reflective of year ending March 31, 2017.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation
























$7.4M RAISED IN 2017-2018








Includes Sim Lab Mannequin & Set Up







EMERGENCY & DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING Includes Quiet Room Renovation and Rapid Infuser

$154K Includes Interventional Radiology Suite

*As at March 31, 2018 over $4M given to MSH. Please visit to see our full audited financial statements. Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018


At Markham Stouffville Hospital, women have a choice of care providers for their prenatal, delivery and postnatal care:

Obstetrician Midwife Family Physician Talk to your doctor for a referral. Learn more about your options at

Interact with us /MarkhamStouffvilleHospital

@MSHospital @MSHospital


(905) 472-6988




PARKING VALIDATED Health Services Building, 379 Church St, Suite 102, Markham, ON L6B 0T1



HOME away from HOME

New multi-hospital facility to ‘reactivate’ patients with long-term care needs BY VAWN HIMMELSBACH


ometimes patients aren’t quite ready to return home, and it’s not in their best interest to stay in hospital for months on end. That’s where the new Reactivation Care Centre (RCC) plays an important role in the healthcare system. Patients receive restorative therapies and potentially return to their baseline level of functioning, enabling them to return home with community supports. The RCC is a unique concept for alternate level of care (ALC) patients — and unique in that it hosts five hospitals in one building, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). MSH is one of those hospitals, sharing the newly renovated space with Humber River Hospital, North York General Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre and Mackenzie Health. Located at the former Humber River Hospital Finch site in North

York, the RCC operates as five separate hospitals, each with its own unit, and each staffed and operated as an extension of their home hospital. Not all patients bounce back after surgery or other medical procedures; they may require specialized or longterm care,” says Bonnie Jean-Baptiste, Patient Care Manager of Medicine, Transitional Care with MSH. “Staying in hospital for extended periods of time can make patients more susceptible to illness and less likely to access social supports.” The transfer of ALC patients on April 29 to the MSH RCC site accommodated patients who no longer need acute care, and require a longer time to improve their independence and quality of life. This new unit offers specialized care in a restorative setting, while freeing up bed capacity at the Markham site for acute patients who require the intensive services of a hospital. Like many hospitals across the

Bonnie Jean-Baptiste, Patient Care Manager of Medicine and Transitional Care, MSH.

country, the five that make up the RCC are grappling with the issue of overcrowding. The average acute-care occupancy rate for the first 10 months of 2017 ranged from 96 per cent to 118 per cent, according to figures from the hospitals. Across the board, the rates were higher than the 85 per cent threshold that many experts describe as the ideal for preventing the spread of infection and accommodating unexpected surges of patients, according to Bonnie. The RCC is part of the provincial government’s latest effort to free up acute-care beds, reduce Emergency Department wait times and keep admitted patients out of ‘unconventional’ spaces such as hallways, auditoriums, lounges and offices. Then, Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced in October that, as part of this effort, the RCC will add 150 new hospital beds to the Central LHIN. Of those 150 Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018




RCC at a glance The new Reactivation Care Centre (RCC) actually has quite a history. Humber River Hospital’s Finch property was previously an acute-care hospital from its opening in 1970 until 2015, when it became an urgent-care site and medical imaging clinic — effectively serving as an Emergency Department. Since patients were treated and sent home, much of the building sat vacant. The MSH Reactivation Care Centre team offers specialized care to those transitioning out of hospital.

new beds, 24 belong to MSH. “We hope that with some reactivation we might be able to restore patients to a level where they can go home, and it would address some of the issues that happen with a long hospitalization such as deconditioning,” says Bonnie. “It will allow us to have the right patient in the right bed getting the right care, instead of patients backlogged in emergency. And we will have more capacity in hospital, opening up beds for surgery and medicine.” The RCC acts as a hub of specialized care, including activation therapies, for those transitioning out of hospital, in a setting that focuses on the needs of the patient and supports the transition home or to an alternate care facility, such as a retirement home or long-term care home. Activation therapies optimize patients’ strengths and abilities, allowing them to resume more normal routines and restore their independence. Currently, MSH has recreational therapists on staff that are shared among departments. The MSH RCC site, on the other hand, has a lead nurse practitioner, part-time occupational therapist, full-time physiotherapist and full-time recreational therapist, along with a team of doctors and nurses. This team develops reactivation programs for patients, incorporating input from their families. A team of clinical experts from MSH developed specific criteria to determine which patients are transferred to the new facility and which patients should remain in hospital, such as those who require acute care.

“It’s called the RCC because the care the patient will receive is focused on reactivating them to get back into the community, so there’s a rich allied care model,” says Cheryl Osborne, Director, Care Transitions at MSH. Oftentimes people bring their loved ones to the hospital because they don’t know how to manage their needs at home — but it’s not a long-term solution. “There aren’t enough long-term beds available, families need more supports so their loved ones can get back into the community and be safely cared for at home. This process is going to allow us to do that better,” says Cheryl. “We’ve seen great results in patients who’ve had that kind of therapy.” The MSH RCC site helps patients and their families create a reactivation plan, complete with expected discharge date. “We have a discharge planner who is also a social worker, and she works with families to find the most appropriate destination for their loved ones,” says Bonnie. “She’s also available for emotional or family issues that might arise.” Because the RCC is a new concept, it’s expected to evolve over time. “We had a good launching point because of the people we’ve hired, but we’re not at our final destination,” says Cheryl. “This is very innovative, there’s no precedent for it, there’s no other place where five hospitals have come together like this,” she says. “Patients will be happier and have better outcomes. If their goal is to be more independent or go home, we’re going to be able to help reactive them.”

When it was decided to turn that vacant space into a reactivation care centre that could house five separate hospitals, the building underwent extensive renovations. Cutting-edge features were incorporated into the design, such as UV lights in patient bathrooms — the first time the technology has been used in an Ontario hospital for infection prevention and control. LED lights replaced fluorescent bulbs, brightening the hallways and increasing energy efficiency. This is the first time in Ontario that so many hospitals will house patients under one roof. Each participating hospital occupies its own unit of the RCC, treating its own patients with clinical staff from that same hospital. The RCC is focused on reactivation within a restorative setting; amenities include top-ofthe-line beds, free television, free Wi-Fi in the lobby and enhanced programming to support patients, including an activity room. n Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018



Festival of Colours


(L-R) Bill Bachra, Event Co-Chair, Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation, with Shahid Amlani and Alisha Lakhani, members of the Nanji Family, Lead Donor, Frank Scarpitti, Mayor, City of Markham, Nita Shastri, Event Co-Chair.

This event truly backs up its billing: The Festival of Colours, presented by RBC. On a recent spring night, vibrant attire and saris filled the Hilton Toronto/Markham Suites as 500 guests came together to enjoy a joyous celebration of Indian culture, highlighted by delicious cuisine and dancing. Guests also took part in the festivities — which included a raffle and door-prize giveaways — all in the spirit of transforming cardiac care at MSH. Through the generosity of Lead Donor the Nanji Family, and great partnerships with leaders of (L-R) Ujjaini Sircar, Community Manager, RBC and Michelle Cowan, Regional VP, RBC, Markham.

Karen Johnson, Emcee and CBC Weather Specialist.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation




Run for Women

Shadow Entertainment

the South Asian community, the Festival of Colours was an incredible success. Dr. Ajai Pasricha of MSH helped kick off the fundraising with a live equipment appeal that raised more than $150,000 in support of the purchase of a new echocardiography system complete with stress echo and transesophageal echo capabilities. CBC Weather Specialist Karen Johnson hosted the event and was joined by City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Jack Heath and several other prominent city councilors. Traditional Indian dishes were served family style followed by a live Jalebi dessert station in the foyer. And an energetic performance by the Folk’n Guys inspired guests to hit the dance floor. Folk N Guys

(Front L-R) Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation, Shan Chandrasekar, President & CEO, Asian Television Network, Jaya Chandrasekar, Suria Naidoo, Prakesh Naidoo, VP Sales, Asian Television Network, (Back L-R) Bill Bachra, Event Co-Chair and Pradeep Sood, Past Event Chair.

(L-R) Jo-anne Marr, President & CEO, MSH, Genaia Darragh, District Manager, Shoppers Drug Mart, Hamat Bhana, Markham Pharmacist Owner, Tracey Dell, VP Operations, Shoppers Drug Mart, Suzette Strong, CEO, MSH Foundation.

On a chilly Sunday morning in late April close to 2,000 participants, including nearly 10 department teams from MSH, took to the streets in Unionville to support a vital cause. The annual “SHOPPERS LOVE. YOU. Run for Women Unionville” featured women, family members, colleagues and friends completing 10K and 5K walk/runs. In Markham, for the third consecutive year, Shoppers Drug Mart has chosen to direct funds to benefit women’s mental health care at MSH. The Canadian retail pharmacy chain and its local stores and staff are true champions of putting women’s health first. Research indicates that women are one and a half times more likely to struggle with mood or anxiety disorders than men. MSH patient Esther Herbert shared her journey of bipolar wellness on stage and encouraged the crowd to be great friends and listeners. “There are hurting people all around us — you might be a hurting person here today. I want to challenge you to be the person someone can talk to, confide in and trust. It will make such a difference in their life and you will be amazed what it will do for you. We need each other — we cannot do life alone!” Proceeds from the day’s events will help MSH — a leader in mental health treatment in York Region — to develop a women’s mental health program that addresses the unique obstacles that women in our increasingly diverse community face on the path to mental health wellness. With thanks to the leadership from Shoppers Drug Mart and the participants’ Meredith Shaw, Emcee and Radio generosity, $150,000 Host, 104.5 CHUM FM (middle) with was raised toward that Shoppers Drug Mart volunteers. worthy goal. n Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018




a soft place to land Focusing on emotional, psycho-social support for patients and their families BY DAWN RITCHIE


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation


roviding comfort and dignity for patients and families who are living with a life-threatening illness is the primary directive of palliative care, says Wendy Punchard, Patient Care Manager at MSH. “Our approach to palliative care is that death is a normal part of the life process and we’re really here to support the patient, relieve suffering and provide quality of life and comfort.” Paul Ma was struck by the kindness his family was shown in the Palliative Unit when his mother, Eleanor was admitted in 2017. “The staff were fabulous,” he says. “The physiotherapy team was very good. We had a lot of questions about things we’d observed. They give really good answers. Nothing too discouraging or too technical. Nothing way above our head. They were good at explaining it in layman’s terms.”

“The nurses do a lot of teaching,” explains Wendy. “What to expect. What will happen in the days ahead and next hours. Helping the family to realize that that’s okay. We focus on the emotional, psycho-social support for the patient and family. Family may want to feed the patient, for instance, but there’s a point when the patient may not be able to swallow. Nurses are there to help families through this.” “My mother had trouble with food,” says Paul. “They were accommodating. Anyone who could come, would help ease the work of the nurses. Feed her, cut food into small pieces.” MSH’s palliative care staff work as a multidisciplinary team. Palliative physicians, registered and practical nurses, occupational and physiotherapists, speech pathologists, social workers, dietitians, patientflow coordinators, personal support


workers, pharmacists and allied health professionals all serve the department as one cohesive interprofessional group. “It’s a special team,” says Wendy. “They are amazing and have so much knowledge and experience when caring for patients at a crucial point in their lives. Everyone has their own specialty. There are people in and out of the room all the time. Even housekeeping plays a role and sometimes that can be a bit of extra company.” Tanya Dube, a social worker who attends to both the Oncology Clinic and the Palliative Unit, is a strong believer in focusing first on what the patient wants. “I like to get their perspective on what’s happening to them,” she says. “Not rhyme off a list of how things should unfold. I want to see where they’re at. What’s important to them to focus on.” Maybe that means being more mobile, leaving the hospital for a special event, or creating a legacy letter for their family.” “Many patients express a deep wish to go home,” explains Wendy. “Just because you are admitted to the Palliative Unit does not mean you must stay. Today patients can stay in hospital, go home where they are most comfortable, or come back at the last moment if they prefer, we work around their needs and personal wishes.” Wendy recalls a gravely ill patient who desperately wanted to go home to her farm to die. Through coordinated efforts and resources, she was able to be transferred home and passed away in her own bed with her cherished horse watching over her through the window. “Getting people back into their home where they can die peacefully, surrounded by family may have a special meaning at the end of one’s life,” says Wendy. “Home is where most people have the highest quality of life. But there’s only a small window of time when you can get that patient home.” To facilitate this, the hospital has partnered with outpatient networks like the Home and Community Care Network and the Hospice Palliative Care Team, a group of physicians and advanced nurse practitioners who see patients at home. Evergreen Hospice is another local in-home support system manned by trained volunteers and

Eleanor Ma passed away at MSH on April 10, 2017. Her son, Paul is appreciative of the care provided to her by the hospital’s palliative care team.


end-of-life many are most concerned about family members,” says Tanya. “Patients just want to know their family will be okay.” MSH’s Child Life Specialist, Julie Atkinson, is available to support children and takes them up to the playroom in paediatrics where the children can make crafts. “The kids lay on the floor on a pillow and outline their arms and fingers on a long strip. Then colour it in to create-a-hug for the patient to wear when the child isn’t there,” Tanya says. “The patients love it. It’s very meaningful for them.” To create a more welcoming environment for family visits the unit’s quiet room is being upgraded to reflect more of a home setting with new furniture and soothing illuminated stained glass on the ceiling. The MSH Foundation is working with a generous donor to enable the hospital to create a space that feels more like home. Paul, too, felt so strongly about his family’s experience in palliative, that he requested in lieu of flowers at his mother’s services, tribute gifts be made in donations to MSH. “This is our home hospital,” says Paul. “I think it’s important for everyone to give back. I truly hope and wish that families who are going through the same difficult experience are given the same level of comfort and care that was provided to my family.” Sadly, Paul’s family endured another tragedy recently. His wife, Alice, passed away late in March. Her journey’s end, he says, was also softened by MSH. “We had a very positive experience with Dr. Jeanne Huo, who came to our home to explain in great detail what our son and I could do to help Alice through the ‘end-of-journey’ at home.” Along with Central Local Health Integration Network, says Paul, they had a different, and positive, experience of home-based palliative care. “I had to call the MSH help line more than once, and Dr. Huo always returned my calls with answers,” says Paul. “And the fact that we were able to spend 24 hours a day with Alice until her passing on March 26, and friends could come to visit her all the way to the night of her passing was very comforting.” n

We’re really here to… relieve suffering and provide quality of life and comfort. professional staff who provide social and emotional support at the bedside. “They also run a cancer support group, as well as caregiver and bereavement groups,” says Tanya. For those who choose to stay in hospital, extraordinary efforts are made to make the room as comfortable as possible. Family is encouraged to bring in personal things. Cultural and religious beliefs are respected. And pets and children are always welcome for visits. Even weddings have been arranged in the chapel so that an ill parent could be present at their child’s wedding. “It’s very meaningful and emotional for the family member to be a part of the ceremony,” says Tanya. Children play a very special role in visitations and many children’s birthday parties have been thrown on the unit with cake, decorations, photos and all. “When patients are facing

Healthy.Together. Spring/Summer 2018


Financially Speaking

YOUR CHILDREN ARE YOUR LEGACY How to leave them your wisdom as well as your wealth


ne of the most important conversations you will ever have with your children starts with the topic of an ending – yours, to be precise. You may have always had money talks with your kids – about their allowances, their borrowing to buy indulgences, and your admonishments if they don’t pay off their debts fast enough. But having a “legacy talk” can take the conversation to a much more meaningful level for you both. Believe it or not, this talk can even be enjoyable. After all, your children are your real legacy, not your money. It’s important to inform them about your financial bequests and its implications. Here are some insights that may help you through the thickets of this challenging conversation.


If possible, have your first legacy talk when you’re healthy. Talk to your children one at a time. Tell them that you don’t plan to pass away for many years; when you do, they will inherit something – but they still need to earn their own money and invest it wisely. Have an honest chat about: • Your will, and how to understand it;

• Your and your child’s histories with money; • H ow your and your child’s attitudes toward money were formed, and how they’ve changed;

• How an inheritance could help them realize their dreams; • What division of assets seems fair to them; • Who they would plan to leave their wealth to; • The importance of creating their will, and sharing it with you; • T he role you play, or played, in your parents’ end-of-life care, and what they would do differently; and

• Their last wishes.

Record details; your answers and your children’s, and review them every year. You may discover they have had misconceptions, or that they know a fair bit about earning and managing money. The talk may take one hour or three. Why should young adults with no dependents create a will? 1) If they are an executor, they should designate the person who will assume their role in case they pass away unexpectedly. 2) W  hen people get into the habit of updating their will early, they avoid the emotional block that can form later in life. They could be more likely to consider wise estate moves down the road, such as donating to their favourite charities (Markham Stouffville Hospital, perhaps) while they are still alive to: a. Witness the power of their gift, and b. Save their estates from possible tax.


Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation


• Choose your moment wisely. Consider ordering their favourite take-out as an ice-breaker.

• Impart the same wisdom to your daughters as your sons. • The talk is hard to do the first time, but gets easier afterwards. • Use The talk to springboard into helping your children

understand how to manage money (yours and their own). Best of luck to you in your legacy talks. It’s likely your kids will get a lot of wisdom out of them – and wisdom is worth more than any inheritance.

By Mark O’Reilly, CPA, CA, CFP®, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager, Private Client Group O’Reilly Wealth Solutions of Raymond James Ltd.

This article was inspired in part by the book Willing Wisdom by Thomas William Deans, Ph.D. Mark O’Reilly is a Financial Advisor with Raymond James Ltd. Information provided is not a solicitation and although obtained from sources considered reliable, is not guaranteed. The view and opinions contained in the article are those of Mark O’Reilly, not Raymond James Ltd. Raymond James Ltd. member of Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

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Profile for Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation

Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville. - Spring/Summer 2018  

- Hometown Olympic Hero Phylicia George shares her health tips - Canada's first Alongside Midwifery Unit is born - Palliative team offers be...

Healthy.Together.Markham.Stouffville. - Spring/Summer 2018  

- Hometown Olympic Hero Phylicia George shares her health tips - Canada's first Alongside Midwifery Unit is born - Palliative team offers be...


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