2018 Minister's Medal Winners

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is proud to showcase the winners of the 2018 Minister’s Medal in the Team, Individual, and Patient, Family and Caregiver categories:

Team Winner: Putting Patients at the Heart (PPATH): A Seamless Journey for Cardiac Surgery Patients - Mississauga Halton LHIN

  • PPATH is a patient co-designed initiative with Trillium Health Partners and Saint Elizabeth Health that redesigned the journey for cardiac surgery patients from hospital to home.
  • This  bundled care program uses integrated funding and a cross-sectoral team approach to deliver efficient, high-quality care across traditional ‘silos’ and better meet the needs of patients.
  • PPATH is now the standard of care at this regional cardiac surgical centre, which has the second highest cardiac volumes in Ontario.
  • PPATH enrolled 1,889 patients and realized improvements in quality, access, and sustainability.

Team Winner: Putting Patients at the Heart (PPATH): A Seamless Journey for Cardiac Surgery Patients - Mississauga Halton LHIN

Individual Winner: Carmen Blais, Matawa Health Cooperative, North West LHIN

  • Carmen Blais, who has worked for over 30 years in health care, has consistently demonstrated her genuine passion and dedication to using innovation and collaboration to address significant health disparities and improve health outcomes for the North West LHIN’s Indigenous people and communities.
  • Currently, Carmen is the Community Engagement Lead with the Matawa Tribal Council and works to identify gaps and challenges in accessing health services.
  • Carmen has collaborated and fostered strong partnerships with patients, families, community organizations, First Nations communities, and government ministries.
  • Carmen created a traditional healing garden at the hospital in response to engagement with Indigenous communities and spearheaded an Indigenous Career experience program to provide Indigenous students with a better understanding of career paths in health care.

Individual Winner: Carmen Blais, Matawa Health Cooperative, North West LHIN

Patient, Family and Caregiver Winner: Alana Smith, Rose Cottage Visiting Volunteers, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN

  • Alana Smith has been a volunteer at Rose Cottage Visiting Volunteers, an organization that supports patients who have palliative care needs, for the past 18 years.
  • Alana created the Legacy program at Rose Cottage Visiting Volunteers in 2010. The program empowers patients and families to create “legacy booklets” that record a patient’s memories and photos.
  • Alana has helped patients and families compile 18 legacy booklets and continues to lead the program, integrating the program throughout the organization, and supports and trains all of its volunteers.
Patient, Family and Caregiver Winner: Alana Smith, Rose Cottage Visiting Volunteers, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN


2018 Minister’s Medal Honour Roll Recipients

The following applications demonstrated outstanding performance across the Medal criteria. These applications made it to the final stages of the review process and are recognized as honour roll recipients:

Team Honour Roll:

Individual Honour Roll:

Patient, Family and Caregiver Honour Roll:


Winners

Winner of Team Award:

Putting Patients at the Heart (PPATH): A Seamless Journey for Cardiac Surgery Patients - Mississauga Halton LHIN

The aim of the Putting Patients at the Heart (PPATH) program is to redesign the journey for cardiac surgery patients from hospital to home.

Trillium Health Partners and SE Health, formerly Saint Elizabeth Health Care, partnered with patients and families to recreate the patient journey by seamlessly coordinating services around the needs of the patient through standardized post-operative care pathways, providing one team, a 24/7 telephone line, community care, and a shared health record.

The initiative has worked to eliminate silos of care and focus on what matters most to patients and has resulted in better continuity of care and increased patient satisfaction, while also lowering costs.

PPATH is now the standard of care at this regional cardiac surgical centre which has the second highest cardiac volumes in Ontario.

The initiative is the result of meaningful patient engagement through patient co-design activities, courageous leadership, and strong team work across the hospital and community sectors, from senior executives to frontline staff, all working collaboratively to build a trusted partnership. For example, 96% of the patients in the program have said it helped them feel confident about their ability to care for their own health.

PPATH has enrolled 1,889 patients and realized improvements in quality, access, and sustainability.

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Winner of the Individual Champion Award:

Carmen Blais - North West LHIN

Carmen Blais is currently a Community Engagement Lead, Health Co-op with the Matawa Tribal Council. She works with Chiefs, elders, and youth to facilitate engagement sessions in the nine Matawa communities to discuss gaps and challenges in accessing health services.

Carmen has over 30 years’ experience working in health care, and has consistently demonstrated her genuine passion and dedication to using innovation and collaboration to address significant health disparities and improve health outcomes for Indigenous people and communities in the North West LHIN.

As an Indigenous Engagement Lead and Patient Advocate at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Carmen expanded the hospital’s Indigenous Advisory Committee to include additional Indigenous members of the community.

As an Aboriginal Health Promotion Planner, Carmen worked with the First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario to develop a work plan to provide public education, outreach, and information programs to increase awareness of cancer risk factors and the benefits of cancer screening. Carmen has also worked with the Ontario Breast Screening Program and Cancer Care Ontario to provide Breast Screening services for the Treaty #9 and Robinson Superior Communities.

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Winner of Patient, Family, Caregiver Award:

Alana Smith - Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN

Alana Smith has been a volunteer for the past 18 years at Rose Cottage Visiting Volunteers, an organization that supports patients who have palliative care needs. Alana started out as a volunteer visiting with patients who are life limiting or have palliative care needs. Since then, she has spearheaded a program that has had a lasting impact on the organization and for patients and families.

Alana championed the organization’s Legacy Program, which aims to capture a dying person’s legacy through the creation of a legacy book that families can cherish and remember for years to come. This program has had a lasting impact and Alana continues to lead and grow the program, from training new volunteers and making sure the program continues to be a rewarding experience for everyone involved, to finding new ways to integrate the program throughout the organization.

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Honour Roll Recipients

Team Category:

Brantford Mental Health Crisis Support System- Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN

The Brantford Mental Health Crisis Support System is a collaborative initiative through which the Brantford Police Service, St. Leonard’s Community Services, and HealthIM have addressed the rising number of mental health crisis situations encountered by the police.

The project, initiated in 2017, enables the Brantford community to better leverage services in the community to support vulnerable persons in their home environments. By coordinating services of the Brantford Police Service and St. Leonard’s Community Services, persons in need of support are identified before a crisis situation arises and they are connected to support services in the community that can reduce the likelihood of future crisis situations and interactions with the police.

The project utilizes HealthIM’s technology, the interRAI Brief Mental Health Screener, to support front-line officers’ decision-making on referring persons in crisis to St. Leonard’s Community Services, thereby diverting non-emergent cases from the hospital.

Results achieved include reducing the rate of police apprehensions of persons with a serious mental disorder to 33%, from a prior rate of 90%. The average time officers spent waiting with an apprehended individual at the hospital has also decreased from 4h 22m (2015) to 1h 53 min (2017/18).

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Trinity Village – DOCit -Waterloo Wellington LHIN

Trinity Village, a long-term care facility, and VitalHub, a health care technology company, formed a partnership to develop DOCit – a mobile application used by front-line workers to improve communication, scheduling, documentation, reporting practices, and quality of care.

The innovative software system features unique resident profiles and allows the user to report observations and utilize clinical assessment tools to monitor residents who are exhibiting unusual or concerning behaviours.

The purpose of DOCit is to address challenges in assessing residents with multiple issues, provide real-time accountability, and improve standardization, by using data on patterns of care to improve how staff workload is distributed and funding allocations are made.

The DOCit team achieved success in the form of improved user experience (comparing manual forms completion to the DOCit digital application), time savings, and enhanced data accuracy.

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Improving Transitions in Care: Northland Pointe LTHC and Niagara Health’s Emergency Departments - Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN

The Improving Transitions in Care initiative is a project developed by Northland Pointe Long-Term Care Home with the goal of strengthening resident-centred care during transfers between long-term care homes and hospital emergency departments in the Niagara region.

The main purpose of the project was to develop an innovative solution to ensure seamless transitions in care by building relationships based on shared objectives among residents and providers.

The project improves the quality of the resident-care experience while also achieving operational efficiency without incurring additional costs. The project also has a strong emphasis on building relationships between senior and frontline staff within two different care settings.

Results achieved to date include a steady decline in the number of resident transfers from Northland Pointe to the Emergency Department and a decline in the number of resident transfers from the Emergency Department to Northland Pointe in the same day. The project has also eliminated the number of residents who had re-occurring transfers from the Emergency Department after being sent home from the Emergency Department within a 24hr period.

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Individual Champion

Debra Walko - Toronto Central LHIN

Debra Walko is the Senior Director of Complex Care and Seniors Services at LOFT Community Services, and has over 30 years’ experience working in the health care system.

In her current role, Debra has led 10 new significant programs serving vulnerable seniors previously designated as Alternative Level of Care.

Debra designed enhanced assisted living hubs offering housing and other supports for marginalized seniors and, in partnership with other agencies, helped to establish the Seniors Crisis Service which provides seniors with crisis supports in their home.

Debra has also led the development and implementation of the Enhanced Mobile Support program, a home-based case-management service officering 24/7 personal support for clients facing mental health and addiction challenges. The program currently assists 51 clients annually.

Debra has demonstrated a limitless ability to connect, transform and act within her community.

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Brian Dunne - South West LHIN

Brian Dunne has led the growth and is now the President and Chief Executive Officer of Participation House Support Services, an organization that supports close to 200 individuals with a wide range of complex support needs.

Through Brian’s leadership, the Participation House Support Services has partnered with four hospitals and with home and community care providers to provide residential supports to individuals who can be safely discharged from hospital with the right supports. The Participation House Support Services now provides 24/7 supports to medically fragile individuals in community-based homes.

Throughout his life and career, Brian has responded to the need for people with various disabilities to be welcomes and supported in community life as valued citizens.

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Patient, Family and Caregiver Category:

Randy Filinski - Central East LHIN

Randy Filinski is a long-time resident of Pickering Ontario who, since retiring from IBM in 2003, has taken a keen interest in health care, with a specific focus on seniors’ health care from a consumer and caregiver point of view.

Randy is a member of the Ontario Patient/Caregiver Advisory Table, advising the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, from the patient/consumer perspective on policy efforts to improve the delivery of home and community care.  In 2016 Randy was invited to join the Central East LHIN’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee and was selected as one of the committee’s co-chairs in early 2017.

As a community representative on the Rouge Valley Ajax Hospital’s End of Life Care initiative, through his leadership role in facilitating community forums, Randy was instrumental in helping the hospital apply input from patients and caregivers.

Randy has demonstrated a sustained commitment and perseverance to improving outcomes and experiences for patients, families, and caregivers at an individual and system level.

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For More Information

For questions related to the Minister's Medal, please contact us at ministersmedal@ontario.ca.