UHN on the Go is our monthly feature highlighting news and events at UHN.

Clean sweep: Transplant Unit raises awareness about hand hygiene

hand Hygiene Booth
The Infection Control LINK Nurses for the Multi-Organ Transplant celebrated the WHO’s Clean Your Hands Day. (Photo: Kelsey Houston)


Clean Your Hands Day is a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative aimed at encouraging proper hand hygiene in healthcare settings and tackling the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

The Infection Control LINK Nurses for the Multi-Organ Transplant (MOT) program celebrated Clean Your Hands Day 2017 on May 5 with a creative and interactive booth for staff and visitors alike to raise awareness about the importance of clean hands.

The team made T-shirts, stickers, and displayed viral videos on hand hygiene that entertained all passersby. Visitors could participate in a multiple choice quiz game, and win samples of hand sanitizer.

The team feels passionate about the subject as transplant patients are at increased risk for infection, and hand hygiene is one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of spread.

"Just a simple reminder that washing your hands really does decrease rates of infection and creates a safer environment for our patients," the team says.


Music to the ears

Brass Transit and the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra brought live music to the steps of UHN on May 10 after their upcoming concert was announced by the Joyous Life Music Foundation and the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation.

The 2017 Inaugural Concert will be held on Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. All proceeds from the evening will benefit UHN's Thoracic Surgery Division.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Living Arts Centre or online through the Joyous Life Music Foundation website.

Brass Transit accompanied by the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra
Members of Brass Transit, accompanied by the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra, entertained staff and patients outside Toronto General Hospital last Wednesday in support of UHN's Thoracic Surgery Division. (Photo: UHN)


Red Blood Cell Patient Forum

Red Blood Cell Patient Forum
The fourth annual Red Blood Cell Patient Forum required a large team to organize and host. Some of those involved included: (Front, L to R): Kate Uchendu, Mariam Azizian, Elke Ruthig, Heather Gordon, Lembi Bishop, Joseph Kalath, Omar Florez; (Back, L to R): Rebecca Leroux, Ina Cherepaha-Kantorovich, Liana Yermakova and Carol Heck. (Photo: UHN)


From a one-time partner in care engagement initiative, the Red Blood Cell Disorders (RBCD) Patient Forum has become an annual event empowering patients and caregivers, attendance again topping 100 for this year's fourth edition.

Created by the RBCD Programs as a platform for UHN to partner with patients and work together to improve care and service, the forum, which took place on April 29, encourages collaboration with patients to enhance patient experience, build capacity and boost self-reliance. Participating patients report they benefit from the forum by building relationships with peers, gaining knowledge about their medical conditions, and participating in formal presentations. Patients also indicated having fewer Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations.

This year's full-day event featured speakers, including patients, caregivers, families, UHN staff from a variety of departments, other healthcare providers, informational booths and even some performing arts by patients. External organizations, including CAMH, Canadian Blood Services, Toronto Public Health, Women's College Hospital and patient advocacy groups as well as various community health centres were also involved.

Project leader, Heather Gordon, has led a large number of UHN staff who have helped make the event a success, including social workers who have functioned as forum co-leads:  Liana Yermakova, Tony Cheung, Monica Scanlan and Joseph Kalath.


Bringing awareness to head and neck cancer

The Head and Neck Survivorship Program hosted its second annual event for head and neck cancer awareness month in April. Cancers of the head and neck include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, salivary glands, and nose/nasal passages. (Photos: Yumi Lee)


The Head and Neck Survivorship Program hosted over 100 patients, families, friends, staff community partners and sponsors for its second annual head and neck cancer awareness month event.

This year's theme focused on dispelling the myths about HPV-related head and neck cancer. The event included displays, presentations and a reception. The panel of speakers included Radiation Oncologist, Dr. John Kim, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Maurene McQuestion, and Patient Partner, Jennifer Cicci. 

Dr. Kim addressed the current knowledge of HPV as it relates to head and neck cancers and highlighted areas in need of research. Maurene McQuestion explained the psychosocial impact patients and families experience with diagnosis and treatment and highlighted resources and coping strategies. Jennifer Cicci eloquently shared her experience as a patient and some of her own personal challenges and triumphs.

Hospital and community partners, including Wellspring, Faces of HNC, Patient and Family Library, the Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship Program and Head and Neck Cancer Rehabilitation, were on hand to provide information and resources.

Many patients, families, friends and staff were impacted by the messages shared by the panel and are looking forward to next year's event.


Third Collaborative Integrated Surgical Summit 2017

The accomplishments of Toronto Western Hospital's surgical teams were celebrated at the Third Collaborative Integrated Surgical Summit on April 28.

UHN's primary value of putting the needs of patients first served as inspiration for this year's theme, "Patients first: Striving towards success, honouring our commitment."

The summit, which received funding from the hospital's clinical director, Dina D'Agostino-Rose, highlighted the successes in improving patients' surgical experiences that came about from exchanging ideas between the hospital's collaborative and integrative teams.

"Our summit serves to reinforce how our dedicated inter-professional teams collaborate to achieve excellence in patient care," said Rose Puopolo, the operating room manager at Toronto Western Hospital.

"We are one team with one goal – and that is to provide the best care to our patients in a safe, caring and compassionate manner."

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