Arts program helps seniors through depression 0
Fay Wilkinson reveals a placard from her Visible Voices: Through the Looking Glass project, which used art to help seniors cope with depression at the health board's two long-term care homes. Wilkinson was doing a presentation to Haliburton Highlands Health Services board Sept. 27, 2012. JENN WATT/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the Sept. 27 meeting of the Haliburton Highlands Health Services board.
The creative process can help people out of depression.
At Highland Wood and Hyland Crest, Fay Wilkinson has been putting that truth into practice with Visible Voices: Through the Looking Glass, a program that engages seniors struggling with depression through expressive arts.
The board heard from Wilkinson and watched a short video about what her project has been doing at the long-term-care homes under their governance.
Funded through Bell’s Let’s Talk Community Fund, Wilkinson worked one-on-one with seniors who were identified as struggling with mental health problems.
She had them paint, felt, draw and compose poetry among other things while talking through their feelings of isolation, grief, sadness and loss.
According to Wilkinson, more than 50 per cent of residents in long-term care in Canada take anti-depressants.
She said studies show that art can help.
Wilkinson referenced a program in the United Kingdom where those struggling with mental health issues could get a prescription for art.
“Maybe one day we’ll have that here in Haliburton County and we’ll lead the way for the whole country,” she said.
Board members were visibly moved by the video, which was created by Highlands Media Arts, and after viewing it were asked to engage in an art-making project of their own, inspired by what they had seen of the project.
The residents of Highland Wood and Hyland Crest would be given these drawings, thus completing the circle, Wilkinson said.
Board chairman Len Logozar said this was his first exposure to arts therapy and it seemed to be “a very helpful process.”
Interim CEO reflects on organization’s growth
Foster Loucks, interim CEO of HHHS, took some time to evaluate where the corporation sits at the board meeting.
Loucks was in charge of HHHS in its early days and is back for a few months until a replacement for Paul Rosebush, who is now at a hospital corporation in southwestern Ontario, can be found.
“Getting the whole organization started and then being involved in the rebuilding of the facilities … to be gone for 10 years and then to come back again and see what’s happened, is really a unique opportunity,” he said.
Loucks said HHHS felt more like a “real organization” now, with an IT person, human resources staff and infection control officer.
“I have a sense that the organization has evolved. It’s actually in much better shape and in better hands than when I left. The board and the staff over the years should take much credit for all of that,” he said.
Loucks has been in the position for four weeks and will stay until Jan. 1 when a new CEO is named.
ER visits keeping pace
Haliburton and Minden emergency rooms continue to be bustling places during the summer months.
Loucks presented statistics showing July to be the busiest month with 1,543 visits at the Haliburton location and 2,076 in Minden.
The CEO said the numbers were generally the same as last year.
Waiting on ministry approval
While fundraising is already happening to build a second palliative care suite at the Haliburton hospital, the board is still waiting on approval from the capital projects branch of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Loucks said he anticipates the project will happen in 2013, but there is no official go-ahead from the province.
A significant amount of money towards the suite has already been raised by the HHHS Foundation.
Reducing transfer delays
HHHS will be getting money to reduce transfer wait times, Loucks told the board.
$125,000 from a program called Pay for Results will be used to hire a nurse to accompany those needing to be sent to Lindsay or Peterborough by ambulance.
Dr. Doug Fiddler from the Minden hospital raised the issue, Loucks said.
“Transfers to Peterborough or other hospitals can be delayed because we have to call in a nurse to accompany a patient in the ambulance,” he said.
The nurse will be available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., keeping the same arrangement the hospitals have in the summer.
In order to keep the funding year after year, HHHS must prove that the presence of the nurse is improving wait times.
“The outcome that will be expected here is to reduce the wait time that a patient experiences at the CTAS 2 and 3. That is the second and third level of categories that are used to discriminate between different kinds of illness and trauma within an emergency room,” he said.
There was some concern that the ministry might not get a clear picture of how important the nurse is if they only look at transfers in the fall, when volumes are relatively small.
However, Loucks was optimistic that the Local Health Integration Network, which governs the HHHS and other health-care corporations, will extend the evaluation period to allow for more accurate results.
Five candidates have been selected for interviews for the position of CEO of HHHS.
Logozar updated the board on the search to replace Paul Rosebush, who left at the beginning of September.
A firm had been hired to find a suitable replacement and 60 candidates were found. From there, 12 were long-listed and five made the short-list.
The plan is to have a new person in the position by Jan. 1.
Tracey Lear, president of the Haliburton hospital auxiliary reported that the organization’s tag day had raised $4,300 and the quilt raffle brought in $3,000 so far.
Lear gave examples of what the money had purchased, including a blood fridge, new lighting for the ER and a bariatric scale.
The organization’s next fundraiser is its popular Italian dinner scheduled for Oct. 20.
Judith McNeilage of the Minden hospital auxiliary had a similar report, outlining her organization’s contribution to the hospital.
They have purchased therapeutic dining tables for Hyland Crest, an i-STAT blood analyzer, Christmas plants and motorized curtains alongside refurbishing the two long-term-care lounges.
Dale Walker, executive director of the HHHS Foundation, was unable to attend the meeting as she was involved in the radiothon.