Quebec | Demeurons vigilants en presence de la rage

Baie-Comeau | 27 fev 2012

La Direction de santé publique de la Côte-Nord invite la population à demeurer vigilante étant donné la présence dans la région d’animaux porteurs de la rage, principalement des renards et des chiens.

En effet, depuis le début de l’année, trois cas de rage animale ont été confirmés dans la MRC de Caniapiscau, soit deux chiens provenant de la communauté naskapie de Kawawachikamach et un renard dans le secteur de la communauté innue de
Matimekosh. Au cours de la même période, six cas de renards porteurs du virus ont aussi été recensés près de Wabush et de Labrador City. Les différents cas observés sont associés à l’espèce du renard arctique, mais le virus circule aussi chez le renard
roux.

Bien que la situation ne soit pas inhabituelle, il convient de rester prudent en présence d’animaux sauvages ou domestiques, en appliquant certaines consignes simples comme :

• Éviter d’approcher, de toucher, de caresser ou de nourrir des animaux inconnus, errants ou sauvages et garder une bonne distance même s’ils ont l’air inoffensifs.
• Éviter d’adopter des animaux sauvages ou domestiques orphelins, même s’ils ont l’air en bonne santé.
• Faire vacciner les chiens et les chats contre la rage.
• Ne pas laisser errer les animaux de compagnie et aviser la municipalité ou le conseil de bande de la présence d’animaux errants.
• Si un animal domestique se fait mordre par un autre animal, le manipuler avec des gants, l’attacher ou l’isoler en attendant de recevoir les instructions d’un vétérinaire.
• Contacter l’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments (ACIA) au 418 698-5506 ou les autorités municipales si on suspecte la rage chez un animal ou que celui-ci peut y avoir été exposé. Les renards morts, malades ou suspects peuvent aussi être signalés à Services Québec au numéro 1 877 644-4545.

La rage est une maladie contagieuse et mortelle causée par un virus qui s’attaque au système nerveux central des mammifères, y compris celui des humains. En cas de morsure ou d’exposition à la salive d’un animal infecté, il existe un vaccin pour se
protéger contre la rage, qui doit être administré rapidement. Dans cette éventualité, il importe de communiquer avec Info-Santé au 8-1-1 ou de se présenter à son centre de santé. Pour plus d’information, visitez le site www.rage.gouv.qc.ca.

Nova Scotia | Extended Care Paramedic program earns national award

Halifax | 27 Feb 2012

Nova Scotia’s innovative Extended Care Paramedic nursing home program that allows seniors to be treated at home instead of the emergency department is now an national award winning service.

The program, part of the Better Care Sooner plan, won a gold Public Sector Leadership Award in the Health Care category from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and Deloitte, Monday, Feb. 13, in Toronto.

The prestigious award recognizes organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership, collaboration and innovation by taking bold steps to improve Canada, through advancements in public policy and management.

“Nova Scotia has a skilled and talented team of paramedics who are responsible for providing all residents of the province with quality care when they need it most,” said Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “It’s wonderful to see the Extended Care Paramedic program nationally recognized, especially in its first year of operation.”

“One of the goals of our Better Care Sooner plan is to improve emergency care for seniors and this program is doing just that.”

Since being implemented last February, the program has responded to nearly 800 calls for care, with 72 per cent of patients receiving treatment at home.

The Extended Care Paramedic program is delivered by Emergency Health Services (EHS) in partnership with Capital Health.

Monday’s award was accepted by representatives of Emergency Medical Care Inc., EHS’s provider of air and ground ambulance services.

There are 17 nursing homes in Halifax Regional Municipality participating in the program, which offers seniors some of the same care received in an emergency department, such as receiving stitches, delivered at the nursing home. This improves the level of comfort for the patient, and reduces the need for non-emergency hospital transports.

“The Extended Care Paramedic Program is helping us provide care to our residents in a timlier manner,” said Chris LaBreche, vice president of enhanced care operations at Shannex, which operates senior retirement homes. “In many cases the paramedics can assess and treat the resident at the nursing home, instead of being transferred to the hospital.

“In other instances, because the paramedics work closely with the hospitals, the program can arrange a more timely transfer of residents to the emergency department. It’s a good program that is making a difference.”

Better Care Sooner is the province’s plan to improve emergency care in Nova Scotia by improving the patient’s experience in the health-care system. Since its launch last year, a number of innovative approaches, including the Extended Care Paramedic Program, have been put in place. To learn more visit gov.ns.ca/bettercaresooner.

Manitoba | First Manitoba crew now ready to provide emergency care on STARS helo

Winnipeg | 22 Feb 2012

A permanent Manitoba crew of 14 paramedics, nurses and pilots is now responding to emergency calls across the province with the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS) helicopter ambulance, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

“These paramedics, nurses and pilots are a critical link in patient care and their training and expertise will truly help to save lives.  We’re continuing to strengthen our emergency response services through our partnership with STARS and we are extremely pleased that we now have Manitobans, some of whom are returning home, as part of this permanent, specialized team,” said Oswald

Three registered nurses and four paramedics have completed the intensive 10-week training program through STARS including classroom instruction led by an emergency‑care physician, simulations and ride-alongs with an experienced air-medical crew, and online work.  An additional nurse and paramedic are expected to complete the training and join the Manitoba crew next week.  Seven experienced pilots are also permanently stationed in Manitoba.

“It is a privilege to partner with our colleagues in health to provide increased access to service for the critically ill and injured in Manitoba,” said Andrea Robertson, STARS president and chief operating officer.  “STARS will assist in the provision of highly specialized services, utilizing a critical-care team including nurses, paramedics, physicians and our aviation team of pilots and engineers.”

Each helicopter crew includes two pilots, a critical-care nurse and a critical-care paramedic.  An emergency physician trained in pre-hospital care and transportation is also available by telephone for every emergency response and travels in the helicopter whenever medically necessary.

The minister also noted the government has signed a 10-year service agreement with STARS to provide helicopter emergency medical services at a cost of approximately $10 million per year.  STARS is a non-profit organization that operates on a shared-funding model in which costs are paid through government funding, community fundraising, individual donors and corporate support.  Costs include the helicopter, maintenance, training and other operational costs such as night vision.

STARS has responded to more than 150 emergencies since arriving in Manitoba in April 2011.  It works in partnership with Manitoba’s air and land ambulance fleet to provide seamless emergency care, said Oswald, adding a helipad is currently under construction at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg to provide for even more rapid transportation directly to highly specialized trauma and critical care.

More information about STARS is available at www.stars.ca.

Ontario | Ottawa city employees honoured with Governor General’s Medal of Bravery

Ottawa | 24 Feb 2012

At Rideau Hall this morning, OC Transpo special constable Peter Nesbeth and Lindsy Richardson, formerly a special constable now with Ottawa Police Service, received the Governor General’s Medal of Bravery for their heroic actions to save an elderly man from a burning vehicle.

At the same ceremony, Ottawa Police Service Const. Karen Desaulniers, Const. Avery Flanagan and Const. Allen Percival also received the Medal of Bravery for their efforts to save the driver of a minivan that crashed into the Rideau Canal.

“We are very proud of the men and women who go beyond their daily duties to help and protect our residents,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This award is an acknowledgement of the selfless actions of OC Transpo’s special constables and Ottawa police officers who help ensure the safety and security of our communities.”

On September 25, 2008, an elderly driver mistakenly drove onto a bus lane, and crashed into a tree, causing the vehicle’s motor to catch fire. When special constables Nesbeth and Richardson arrived on the scene, they tried to gain entry to the vehicle, finally managing to pull open the driver’s door. They pulled the driver free just as flames reached the interior of the vehicle. The rescuers then dragged him to a safe location as the fire spread into the surrounding trees.

“Special constables Nesbeth and Richardson risked their lives to help this person escape his burning vehicle,” said Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the Transit Commission. “Their actions exemplify bravery, self-sacrifice and leadership, and we are proud to recognize their tremendous commitment to our community.”

On October 12, 2007, a minivan swerved off the road and plunged into the Rideau Canal. Consts. Desaulniers, Flanagan and Percival and witnesses to the accident jumped into the canal and swam to the driver’s aid. The officers used a seat cushion from their cruiser as a floatation device to bring the driver ashore. Sadly the driver did not survive.

“These three police officers are remarkable examples of the dedication of Ottawa Police Service,” said Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board. “We are thankful that the lives and property of the residents of Ottawa are protected by devoted police officers like Const. Desaulniers, Flanagan and Percival. We are thrilled by this recognition of their commitment to the residents they serve. ”

Ontario | Toronto Fire Chief William Stewart announces his retirement

Toronto | Feb 27 2012

Toronto Fire Chief William A. Stewart has officially announced of his intention to retire from the Toronto Fire Services.

Chief Stewart is a 39-year Fire Services veteran, having served in the former City of North York Fire Department for 26 years before the amalgamation that created the new City of Toronto on January 1, 1998. During his career, he has served as an operations firefighter, Captain, Administration Chief, Assistant Deputy and Deputy Chief, and as the Fire Chief since May 1, 2003.

Chief “Bill” Stewart served as a member of the Professional Standards Setting Body, Ontario Fire College, in the review of standards for firefighter training in Ontario. He is also a Past President, Institution of Fire Engineers (Canada Branch), and Advisory Board Member of Humber College’s Fire Services Program, as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council. He continues to serve as a Director and a Past International President of the Institution of Fire Engineers and is a Past President of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs/National Fire Protection Association.

Chief Stewart is committed to lifelong learning, and is currently serving as a board member for Public Administration and Governance, Ryerson University.

Chief Stewart’s last day at work with the City of Toronto will be April 30, 2012.

Ontario | Heart and Stroke Foundation and Toronto EMS unveil AEDs at Toronto Botanical Gardens

From left (top): Andrew Lotto, Manager, Resuscitation Programs, HSF, Howie Cappell, Creator of Hearty-Har-Har, Jim McKay, North District Supervisor City of Toronto, Parks, Forestry & Recreation, Aldona Satterthwaite, Executive Director, Toronto Botanical Gardens, Allison Uher, Regional Marketing Manager MNP LLP. From left (bottom): Sandra Page, AED Specialist, Resuscitation Programs, HSF, Gayle Pollock, Commander, Cardiac Safe City, Toronto EMS

Toronto | 27 Feb 2012

To coincide with the start of Heart Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Heart & Stroke Restart a Heart, a Life Program™, Toronto Emergency Medical Services, and Cardiac Safe City celebrate the installation of two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at Toronto Botanical Gardens, one of the city’s most popular and frequented parks. The placement of these AEDs was made possible thanks to Howie Cappell’s 3rd annual Hearty-Har-Har comedy event and title sponsor, MNP LLP.

The inaugural Hearty-Har-Har, a comedy show for a stand-up cause, was organized in memory of Cappell’s late father, Murray Cappell, who died after suffering a stroke in 1997.

“When I first started Hearty-Har-Har, my goal was simple: put my newfound comedic skills to use and raise funds while honouring my parents, Pearl and Murray Cappell,” explains Howie Cappell, creator of the annual Hearty-Har-Har. “For the past three years I have enjoyed bringing together my family and friends around this important cause that has touched so many. Being able to leave a legacy behind in the community with these AEDs is an honour. It is a privilege to see the funds we have contributed make a tangible impact.”

Hearty-Har-Har was conceived in 2009, after Cappell completed a stand-up comedy writing course at Humber College. With help from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Hearty-Har-Har event has raised $60,000 for heart and stroke research. Visit www.heartyharhar.com for more information and this year’s event picture gallery.

Given the size of the grounds, two AEDs were installed, one fixed in Edwards Gardens and one mobile on Sunnybrook Grounds in a roaming supervisor’s vehicle that is manned 16 hours a day, 7 days a week and represents a unique venture for Toronto EMS, Cardiac Safe City and HSF. Partnering with Toronto Parks and Recreation and other city divisions led to the successful placement of two AEDs and training of site staff.

“Toronto EMS emergency medical dispatchers and paramedics know that in a cardiac emergency seconds can make the difference between life and death,” says Gayle Pollock Commander, Toronto EMS, Cardiac Safe City Program. “We are delighted to support the installation of these two new AED units and encourage all Toronto residents to be trained in CPR and AED use.”

Since 2006, The Restart a Heart, a Life Program has worked in partnership with public access defibrillation programs to place AEDs in high traffic, high use facilities across the province. To date, the program has placed over 3,000 AEDs resulting in 35 lives saved. The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s partnership with the Toronto EMS, Cardiac Safe City Public Access Defibrillator Program has helped placed over 350 AEDs in public venues across the City of Toronto.

“Placing AEDs in these areas is of critical importance since cardiac arrests can happen at any moment,” says Andrew Lotto, Manager, Resuscitation Programs, Heart and Stroke Foundation. “With the continued support of the public, community groups and funding partners one day AEDs will become as commonplace as fire extinguishers in Ontario, to save lives.”

When a person is in cardiac arrest, seconds count. When CPR is combined with the use of an AED in those early minutes, an individual’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest increases to up to 75%. Without CPR and defibrillation, fewer than five per cent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.

The new CPR guidelines stress early recognition, urging people to call 911 or their local emergency number if they ever find someone collapsed and unresponsive, and not to delay by “looking, listening and feeling” for breathing or pulse. They also recommend that instead of trying to remember how many compressions and how many breaths, bystanders doing CPR are urged simply to remember to “push hard and push fast” on the centre of the chest. The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

Ontario | Toronto EMS paramedic Rahul Singh awarded Order of Ontario

Rahul Singh with The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Rahul Singh has a passion for helping people, in the City of Toronto and around the world.

Global Medic, the not-for-profit organization he formed to honour the memory of his friend David McAntony Gibson, has grown significantly since it was formed in 1998. Over the years, Global Medics has led 60 missions to over 30 countries.

Rahul and his team’s work abroad as well as his international leadership have not gone unrecognized. Rahul has received a Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Award and was voted by Time Magazine readers as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2010.

To add to his growing collection of recognitions, Rahul is now a recipient of the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour. He received this recognition at a special ceremony on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at Queen’s Park. He was invested to the Order by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable David C. Onley.

Toronto EMS is proud to have Rahul as part of the Toronto EMS team, and we wish him continued success in his work.

British Columbia | Fraser Health expands whooping cough outbreak response

Surrey | 27 Feb 2012

Fraser Health is urging all adults and youth who are in regular contact with young children, including pregnant women and their partners, to see their doctor or participating pharmacist and get the free whooping cough vaccine.

Since early December there have been more than 140 suspected or confirmed cases of whooping cough reported in Fraser Health. The true number of cases will be much greater than this. Cases were initially confined mostly to the eastern Fraser Valley communities of Hope, Chilliwack, and Harrison/Agassiz, but recently cases have been reported in several other Fraser Health communities, raising concern that the outbreak is spreading.

Whooping cough is a very contagious disease that causes severe coughing that may last for months. It can be a very serious illness in young children and babies, who have small airways. More than half of infants less than one year of age who get whooping cough must be hospitalized and in some cases, it is life threatening.

“The best protection against whooping cough is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, Fraser Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “The booster shot is especially important for those who have or expect to have close contact with infants and young children. The vaccine that most people get when they are children only offers protection for 4-10 years so there are many adults without adequate coverage.”

Fraser Health is also encouraging parents to ensure their children are fully immunized and is asking healthcare professionals and the public in all Fraser Health communities to be alert for the signs and symptoms of whooping cough. Early diagnosis and treatment will help prevent the spread of the illness to those most at risk.

Free vaccine is available through doctors’ offices and participating pharmacies for all adults and youth who have not had a whooping cough booster in the past five years and who are in regular contact with young children. A list of immunizing pharmacies can be found at www.fraserhealth.ca/whoopingcough.

To check your child’s immunization records and make an appointment, if necessary, for childhood immunizations, contact your local health unit during regular business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm).

WHAT IS WHOOPING COUGH (PERTUSSIS)?

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a disease that causes very severe coughing that may last for months. Whooping cough is very contagious and can be a severe illness in those without adequate immunizations. Whooping cough spreads easily through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or laughs, putting bacteria into the air. After the bacteria infect someone, symptoms appear about 7 to 14 days later.

Early symptoms are like those of a cold (sneezing, runny nose, a low fever and a mild cough). But over the next week or two, the cough gets worse leading to longer spells of coughing that often end with a whoop or crowing sound when the person breathes in. The coughing may be so bad that it makes a person gag or throw up. Sometimes a thick, clear mucous is spit out. This cough can last up to a month or two, and happens more at night.

Health care providers are reminded that whooping cough is a reportable condition which requires immediate notification to public health. Doctors should be alert to whooping cough if they see kids or adults with symptoms.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU/YOUR CHILD DEVELOPS SYMPTOMS?

If you/your child develops cold-like symptoms that you think may be whooping cough, you should be examined by a doctor. Call ahead so that you can be seen quickly and not expose other people by sitting in a waiting room for any period of time. You may also be examined in an isolation room (if available) and given a mask to wear, or, arrangements may be made for you to attend the clinic at a time when the waiting room is empty. Bring your/your child’s immunization record with you.

For more information:

www.fraserhealth.ca/whoopingcough

http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/kb/content/mini/hw65653.html#hw65655

British Columbia | Potential service reductions at Port Hardy ER

Mt Waddington | 27 Feb 2012

The Port Hardy Hospital emergency department may experience temporary service reductions after March 1 due to a potential physician shortage.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority, local physicians and local government representatives are very aware that Port Hardy and Mt. Waddington residents want continuous, 24-hour emergency room services at Port Hardy Hospital. While residents can be assured that tremendous efforts by these partners are continuing to recruit permanent and locum physicians   to Mt. Waddington communities, until these efforts are successful, there may be gaps in after-hours on-call emergency services.

“We share the concerns of residents around consistency of health care services in Mount Waddington communities,” said Victoria Power, VIHA’s Director, Rural Health and Primary Health Care. “Significant work is underway to address and find solutions to these concerns in tandem with enormous efforts to recruit and retain physicians. While we are hopeful there will not be temporary service reductions, this is dependent on whether local physicians, with assistance from Mt. Waddington’s local leadership team and VIHA’s Physician Recruitment Office, can arrange call schedules and/or secure locums to fill any gaps in the on-call physician schedule at the Port Hardy Hospital emergency department.”

Should temporary service reductions occur, Mt. Waddington residents will be informed in advance via notices posted at the affected sites. Every effort will be made to broadcast temporary service reduction notices in advance on community television and radio stations. BC Ambulance service, allied health care providers and other non-resident stakeholders will be faxed a temporary service reduction notice.

As many Mt. Waddington residents are aware, a local working group (LWG) was established in Fall 2011 to develop a community led plan aimed at enhancing and stabilizing existing support for local health services. The LWG has been working tirelessly on this plan and in fact, has already made achievements, for example, the addition of an Aboriginal liaison nurse for Port Hardy and Port McNeil acute sites, increased admitting clerk hours in the emergency departments and the hiring of a full-time social worker for Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Alert Bay acute care sites. The LWG anticipates submitting its recommendations to VIHA on March 31, 2012.

VIHA and the LWG are committed to keeping residents informed about this collaborative process. Information on the LWG, including Terms of Reference, membership and meeting agendas and minutes and a fact sheet on goals and accomplishments to date, can be viewed on the VIHA website, http://www.viha.ca/about_viha/community/mt_waddington.htm

British Columbia | New Interior crisis line network launched

Kamloops | 27 Feb 2012

All Interior Health residents now have around‐the‐clock access to toll‐free telephone support when they need assistance managing personal concerns with the launch of an Interior Crisis Line Network.

Kamloops‐North Thompson MLA Terry Lake and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom announced today, on behalf of Health Minister Michael de Jong, the new toll‐free number: 1 888 353‐CARE (2273).

“Crisis lines can be an important community safety net,” said Lake. “Crisis lines are often the first step people take to help them self‐manage mental health, substance use and other personal issues.”

The Interior Crisis Line Network was created with the assistance of the BC Crisis Line Association and the five Interior crisis line providers: the East Kootenay Crisis Line, the Kootenay Boundary Crisis Line, the Cariboo Chilcotin Crisis Line, the Kelowna Community Resource Centre and the North Okanagan PIN (People in Need) Crisis Line.

Within the network, the five crisis lines are using the same protocols and tools to ensure callers receive a consistent level of support whether they are speaking to someone from a local crisis line or from another Interior‐based crisis line.

“The crisis line is the result of community partners working together with a common goal,” said Kamloops‐South Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger. “Families throughout Interior Health will directly benefit from the network of crisis line services as a result of the partnership of the crisis lines, Interior Health and the BC Crisis Line Association.”

When a caller dials 1 888 353‐CARE (2273) they will first be linked to a crisis line closest to them geographically, if that line is busy, the system will automatically route the call to another interior‐based crisis line.

“An integrated Interior Crisis Line is the best approach to providing consistent and responsive crisis line support across the region,” said Interior Health board chair Norman Embree. “The goal is to provide all residents with the support they need when they need it.”

Crisis line workers are trained to support and guide callers through a variety of problems they may be facing such as depression, poverty, abuse or homelessness. All crisis line workers have access to a comprehensive database of community and emergency support services that are available in each area.

The Interior Crisis Line Network integrates evidence‐based best practice from the provincial 1‐800 SUICIDE line, other provincial crisis lines and the American Association of Suicidology.

“The Interior Crisis Line Network is manned by trained people who live in and understand the challenges, opportunities and culture of the Southern Interior,” said Bryan Redford, IH West community director. “We’ve also worked closely with our Aboriginal Health Program to ensure that culturally appropriate intervention options are available and known to all crisis line workers.”

“Each time I take a call,” said Sandy, a crisis line worker, “I hear the difference having a safe place to call, to be heard, makes in people’s lives. Crisis lines save lives for certain and they support people in making positive changes. That’s what inspires me to volunteer.”

The Interior Crisis Line Network received $74, 200 in one‐time startup funding from Interior Health and will receive $437,000 in annualized funding.

Crisis Lines in B.C. provide over 3.7 million minutes of support each year. Someone reaches out to call their local crisis line every three minutes.