Delivering the future – Bruyère is there

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As the CEO of one of Canada’s largest health care organizations of its kind, the opportunity to lead Bruyère Continuing Care and make a difference in the lives of our aging Canadians, is one of the most important and impactful elements of my entire career. The Sisters of Charity left us a strong legacy of caring, compassion and social justice for those most in need. As the champion of aging Canadians and those requiring continuing care, it’s clear what our mission is. Bruyère is a Catholic academic continuing care organization committed to improving the quality of life and independence of our patients, residents, tenants and clients. I intend on continuing to steer our organization in the direction always intended by our founder, Mother Élisabeth Bruyère.

As you know, the most dramatic population shift in Canada’s history has just begun. Experts all agree that the current health care system needs to be recalibrated to ensure that everyone receives the right care, at the right place, at the right time. Serving this demographic is our passion and our commitment for over 167 years.

MORE: Can Canada tame its aging tsunami?

During this time, we have evolved to meet the needs of the seniors in the community, and in 2013-14 we continued to evolve once again. Enter the Bruyère Village and the Ruddy-Shenkman Hospice. The Bruyère Village innovation provides seniors with a continuum of housing and services along the banks of the Ottawa River and is focused on creating a community within a community. Divided into independent and assisted-living phases, this unique living arrangement was not possible without the help of multiple partners.

There is an urgent need for hospice palliative care beds in Ottawa. In response to this, John Ruddy and William Shenkman made a collective $1million donation towards the build of a 10-bed residential hospice. This is the largest private donation to a hospice in Ottawa and among the largest donations ever made to hospice in Canadian history.

Bruyere is helping to lead a partnership with the Hospice Care Ottawa team to make this dream a reality. Although we are not directly responsible for this service, we believe that we are socially responsible to help build a better continuum of care to serve our community’s needs. Bruyère also recognizes that technology is transforming healthcare. Therefore Bruyère is in the process of implementing an electronic patient record (EPR) in partnership with six other hospitals in the Ottawa-area. The multi-year phased EPR project entitled, CHAMP or Champlain Association of MEDITECH Partners, will provide another platform for the partners to continue on the path of improving patient care and integrated services by providing secure access to just in time legible patient information not just within a single care facility, but for those patients requiring access to multiple health service providers. The EPR embeds tools to support decision making, thus reducing clinical errors and increasing quality of patient care. Being in service to others means having a greater awareness of our responsibility to stretch our social conscience.

At Bruyère, we understand that in order for people to be served – especially those at risk – we need not do it alone. Our partnerships with the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), Hospice Care Ottawa, and our affiliation with the University of Ottawa, ensures Bruyère is progressive in looking to the future of health care programs, technological advancements, research and innovation and community service needs. As technology transforms health care delivery we also use Helpline, e-consultation and TeleHealth to connect with our patients in rural areas or those who have mobility challenges to ensure they receive access to health care.

Bruyère’s Research Institute (BRI) is advancing Bruyere’s overall mission with the introduction of more than 15 projects focused on long-term care systems and services – a direct result of our new Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care. BRI is running more than 60 innovative studies aimed at integrating innovation into promising clinical practices to enhance primary and palliative care. BRI’s talented scientists are focused on research related to cognition and mobility ensuring the older adults that we serve can effectively transition from hospital care to the community. Our number one goal is to get people home.

The compassionate caring from volunteers, the innovation to look into research to uncover health care possibilities, and the dedication of Bruyère employees to deliver “Kind, Safe, Care” to every patient and resident they encounter – is why I’m so proud to be their leader. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” – together. I look forward to steering us on this journey and there is no place I would rather be in the world than at Bruyère.