September 28, 2015
RVH hosts Icelandic delegates
Hospital and health care officials from Iceland spent the afternoon at Renfrew Victoria Hospital on September 23, 2015, during one of their stops on a tour of select hospitals in Eastern Ontario and Toronto.
The group of delegates was comprised of hospital CEOs and representatives from various health care organizations in Iceland.
Dr. Robert Cushman, former CEO of the Champlain LHIN, arranged to have the visitors meet Randy Penney, CEO of the Renfrew Victoria Hospital and St. Francis Memorial Hospital, and Mike Nolan, Director/Chief of the Renfrew County’s Paramedic Service.
One of the reasons Dr. Cushman brought the group to Renfrew was to hear about the innovative approaches to the challenges of providing outstanding care in a rural setting.
“The work that this group has done here is exemplary,” he said of RVH’s full range of services and integration with larger centres.
Penney shared that the success the town has had in attracting new physicians to the area has been due to the construction of new office buildings and renovation projects happening within the hospital. The hospital is quick to identify the demand for services and expand accordingly to meet the growing needs of the community.
Each venture receives full support from the RVH Board of Directors, a group of community volunteers, he noted.
“We try our best to provide access to services in our community” he said.
Nolan told the group about a newly developed model of paramedicine which, coincidentally, has deep connections to his visit to Iceland 15 years ago: “You have similar challenges—a large rural area—but I noticed there was a strong volunteer base and a very strong sense of community.”
“We work closely with the family health team to identify frail and vulnerable by providing home visits. What we do during downtime is another extension of the health care system,” Nolan said. “Not only are we providing the care, but we are their advocates.”
Often it is something simple like fixing a railing or improving the lighting in the home that can keep these people in their home and out of the hospital emergency rooms. People are also connected with the appropriate health care agencies or community service as needed.
Taking a proactive approach has reduced the use of the emergency system (calls to 911) by almost 80 percent, he stated.
“They have broken the vicious circle,” Dr. Cushman reiterated.
“You see how innovative, imaginative and high performing this group can be,” he concluded before a guided tour of all hospital departments, the Professional Building and the Renfrew Ambulance Communications Centre.
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