The rise of the private patient advocate

0 December 4, 2015

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fter bouncing around doctors’ offices in an effort to treat her debilitating back pain, Maureen had become discouraged with the lack of progress. She had seen multiple specialists yet nothing seemed to provide relief, and she began to feel disillusioned as she struggled to navigate the health care system. “I seemed to be spending a lot time and a lot of money just going around,” she says.

 

Maureen struggled with her condition for a number of years, until a friend of her daughter recommended she speak with Laurie Jenkins, a patient advocate from Healthcare Navigators Inc. After hearing Maureen’s story, Jenkins believed that she could help, and convinced Maureen to get a new MRI. Once that was completed, Jenkins spoke with Maureen’s family doctor about referring her to a surgeon who had expertise in similar cases.

 

Jenkins proceeded to not only arrange an a

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0 December 4, 2015

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eorge was 83 when he was admitted to hospital on Christmas day with dehydration, weakness and confusion after spending the three previous days experiencing flu-like symptoms. Three days after being admitted to the medical-surgical unit, George was diagnosed with pneumonia, moved to a private room and put under isolation. This limited his social contact and mobility.

 

A family member remained with him as much as possible, trying to get an understanding of what the next steps would be. With nursing shifts changing and different doctors coming in and out of the room at different times of the day, no one seemed to have an answer for the family.

 

Four weeks passed and George had improved, the pneumonia cleared and he was moved to a semi-private room in the infectious disease unit. He was unable to go home because a pacemaker was inserted as recommended by the cardiologist, but fear prevented the family from asking for an explanation of its necessity.

 

By February, George had been in the hospital for 6 weeks. The family we

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0 December 4, 2015

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eorge” who is 83 years old is admitted to the hospital Christmas day with dehydration, weakness and confusion after spending the 3 previous days with flu like symptoms. 3 days after being admitted to the medical surgical unit “George” starts to cough, spike a fever and the oxygen levels in his blood have dropped requiring him to be administered oxygen; “George” is diagnosed with pneumonia and is moved to a private room and put under isolation limiting his ability to socialize with others and leave the room that he is in. A family member has remained with him as much as possible trying to get an understanding from the doctors and nurses what the next steps are and when will Dad be able to come back home? With nursing shifts changing and different doctors coming in and out of the room at different times of the day, no one seems to have an answer for the family. Four weeks goes by and “George” is feeling better, the pneumonia has cleared and George is moved to a semiprivate room on the infectious disease unit.

 

George is not able to go home because a pace maker has been inserted as recommended by the cardiologist. The family is unclear why it was needed but felt they shouldn’t question it in case the staff at the hospital got mad.

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0 December 4, 2015

Pamela Minocha, 33, died in a Toronto hospital after an allergic reaction to dental medication. Her family says they still don’t know what happened because of a sweeping health secrecy act called the Quality of Care Information Protection Act.

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s the government drags its heels over amending the health secrecy act, hundreds of critical care incidents are still being investigated under the flawed legislation, the Star has learned.

 

In the past week, the Star has surveyed 15 hospitals in the GTA and found more than 200 critical or severe incidents had been handled under the act since April 2014 — most of those while the legislation was under active review by the province. This includes at least 11 patient deaths.

 

Even since the government-commissioned review called for significant changes to the act, hospitals have continued to invoke the flawed legislation in at least 29 incidents of patient harm, the Star survey found.

 

Whil

Posted in Article by jana
0 April 30, 2015
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eniors in Ontario often fall through the cracks in hand-offs between doctors and hospitals, a report by Health Quality Ontario finds.

 

Older patients often fall through the cracks when they move between doctors, hospitals and other parts of parts of Ontario’s health system, a new report says.

 

Too often, their records don’t follow them, they don’t get important questions answered between appointments, and they don’t get written instructions for self care after leaving hospital, said the report by Health Quality Ontario, a body that monitors the performance of the province’s health system.

 

“You worry that might impact care,” the organization’s president Dr. Joshua Tepper said, explaining that some of the highest risks to quality care occur during hand-offs, as patients move from one care provider to another.

 

The 28-page report, released Tuesday, ranks how the province does in integrating health care compared with other provinces and 10 other industrialize

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0 April 30, 2015

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A large U.S. study links an increased risk for developing dementia to high and prolonged use of common medications, including popular antihistamines, sleep remedies and older anti-depressants.

 

The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first study to show a dose-response relationship, linking higher and longer use of anticholinergic medications to an increased risk for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, according to its authors.

 

The study is also the first to suggest dementia risk linked to the medications may be irreversible, even after patients stop taking the drugs in question.

 

Anticholinergic medications include a range of popular drugs, including non-prescription medications like diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl. Other medications containing anticholinergic substances include the anti-depressant Sinequan, certain first-generation antihistamines, and Ditropan, a drug used to treat urinary and bladder problems.

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0 April 30, 2015

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Toronto’s largest hospital has shut off part of its cardiovascular intensive-care unit after an outbreak of Clostridium difficile sickened five patients.

 

Toronto General declared an outbreak of the infectious disease earlier this week as the fifth case emerged over a four-week period, said Alex Radkewycz a UHN spokeswoman.

 

One patient remained under treatment Wednesday, she said. The ICU treats the most critically ill heart-disease patients at a centre that attracts some of the country’s most complex cardiac cases.

 

The C. difficile bacteria has become the most common cause of diarrhea and related intestinal problems in Canadian hospitals, causing symptoms that range from mild to moderate and even fatal. It typically occurs in patients receiving high doses of antibiotics, which can kill off good bacteria in the gut, allowing C. difficile spores to multiply.

 

A federal surveillance program involving a sampling of hospitals across the country reported 3,181 cases in 2011, or 5.3 per 100 admitted patients. Th

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