Good Monday morning – we have some photos in this week's edition!

1) Here are our safety highlights from last week at UHN:

  • I'm always happy to hear about good catches from our staff and will take the opportunity to highlight a few here. Many examples of people demonstrating diligence and taking the time to stop and carefully review their patient's information – in one case, the discrepancy spotted was as small as a patient's middle initial! Human error can be expected and reinforces why we must have the right steps in place to prevent harm. Sincere thanks and admiration to all for your dedication to safety.
  • Construction is a dangerous activity – especially in an operating hospital – so when we bring in external contractors to help us with our work, we emphasize our commitment to safety and caution them about the age of our buildings at UHN. Despite good intentions, accidents can still happen. See point about human error above. We're renovating at Princess Margaret and the floors are thin in certain areas due to the older construction of the building, so our colleagues in FM-PRO (Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment & Operations) do daily huddles with our contractors to ensure work is done safely in these areas. Despite these precautions, one of the construction workers didn't follow the procedure and drilled into one of these areas through the ceiling above, narrowly missed a patient's foot. Thankfully, no harm was done and our contractor's management team is aware and addressing the issue.
  • Making it work – even come high water: This month, we started using new standardized nursing documentation forms across UHN to help improve quality, better support clinical decision making and prepare for our new Health Information System (HIS). Last week, we faced a number of printing challenges due to flooding and vehicle breakdowns – and I know our staff were worried about having enough forms for the weekend. Thanks to our teams for their resilience in the face of these unexpected delays, as they rallied together to share resources with their inpatient colleagues. Our project team worked to address the issue and managers now have sufficient supplies and received information about ordering new forms going forward. Thanks to Joy Richards, Brenda Perkins-Meingast, Karen Martin, and Iliana Hernandez for working with many teams across UHN to carry out this large initiative and minimize disruptions.
  • Using paper and scissors to improve hand washing compliance by 53%: One of our ward clerks, Andrea Hanson, thought of a creative way to inspire good hand hygiene practices and decorated one of the hand washing stations on 4B Fell at Toronto Western with hand washing messages. Unit manager Alan Doyle loved the idea and came together with the rest of the staff to decorate the other stations. 4B's hand washing compliance has now gone up from 60% to 92% – a 53% increase. Superb effort and result! If you ever have the pleasure of visiting all our sites, you'll see many great examples of staff using creativity to improve outcomes for patients and colleagues. Please share what's working with your team so we can share with all of TeamUHN.

2) Last week, I celebrated my 6-month anniversary at UHN and received a grand gift: Our Board of Trustees approved our 2019-23 Strategic Plan! Thank you to everyone on TeamUHN – including staff, physicians, researchers, learners and volunteers – for sharing your valued insights through our anonymous online survey, annual site BBQs, various focus groups and beyond. I'd also like to thank our Patient Partners, peer hospitals and external partners for playing an important role and guiding our strategic work. We're making a few small adjustments at the request of the Board and will share the results shortly. What I'll say for now is that our priorities reflect what you've told us, so I hope you all see yourselves in the published work. Stay tuned!

3) I' ve worked in healthcare for two and a half decades yet I still have the pleasure of experiencing many firsts at UHN. My next will be my first Facebook Live with Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health. During the 15-minute live broadcast, we'll discuss what's happening in Ontario healthcare and the opportunities we have to guide our changing health system. You're invited to join us this Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., the broadcast will be streaming on UHN's Facebook page and will be posted on YouTube after the event.

4) Giving Tuesday is tomorrow and I'll be reflecting on how far UHN has come thanks to our remarkable donors. UHN wouldn't be the place it is today without their generosity or our three Foundations, who set the national gold standard for fundraising. So, let's thank our colleagues at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, The Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, and Toronto Rehab Foundation, for the valuable work they do!

  • If you'd like to honour Giving Tuesday with a personal donation, consider donating to one of our Foundations or volunteering for one of their events. You can do so by clicking the link on each Foundation name above. Everything comes back to our patients and TeamUHN.
  • On a related note, it's getting colder – I've switched from my fall jacket to my winter one, and I can't help but think about how the homeless men and women in Toronto must be feeling. The United Way works to provide support, shelter and hope for some our city's most vulnerable people so I hope you'll consider participating in this year's United Way campaign at UHN. You can donate here [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] or participate in one of the ongoing bake sales.

5) Congratulations to Darlene Dasent, our Chief Financial Officer, who was named one of Canada's most powerful women last week! [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] Darlene shared one of her early lessons learned at the celebration last week and it completely reflects what I know of Darlene's style: "Everyone has something to offer. Put in the extra effort to make people feel comfortable being around you and encourage them to be themselves – this helps amazing ideas and perspectives come forth." Thanks Darlene for setting a great example for all. Also congratulations to our esteemed colleague Gail Robinson from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and Julia Hanigsberg, President & CEO of Holland Bloorview. We work closely with Julia and her team and are delighted to see her recognized.

6) Last week, I also spent some time on the hot seat with Michael Burns (President & CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation) for "Meet the CEOs", an event held for Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's Till & McCulloch Society. CTV news anchor Sandie Rinaldo was our gracious interviewer – thankfully, she seemed satisfied with our answers about the future of care!

7) Saving the most bittersweet for last: Many of us gathered to say goodbye to Charlie Chan at his retirement tea and celebrate his 23 years of remarkable service. Charlie delivered a heartfelt speech about how TeamUHN has personally helped his wife and mother and didn't leave many dry eyes in the room. I owe Charlie a great deal for making my transition to UHN so easy and welcoming. He will be missed by many but I suspect we can count on him for his counsel should we need it. If you haven't had a chance to read the UHN News story on Charlie's career and many, many contributions, I suggest you take a look here.

Have a good week,


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