By Alineh Haidery
They have been around since ancient times, and while health care practices and technologies have evolved, the traditional, inpatient hospital continues to have a critical place within our health care system.
However, needs change and necessity encourages innovation.
Intent on finding a sustainable, patient-friendly and cost-effective way to increase its outpatient capacity and promote community health and wellness, William Osler Health System (Osler) has just opened a new kind of health care facility – an outpatient hospital – the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness.
“Brampton is among the fastest-growing regions of Canada, with one of the highest birth rates and some of the highest incidences of chronic disease in Ontario,” observes Joanne Flewwelling, Osler’s Interim President and CEO. “By adding Peel Memorial to our other two hospitals – Brampton Civic Hospital and Etobicoke General Hospital – we have greatly increased our outpatient capacity, ensuring that we are better able to provide even greater access to the important programs and services our community needs most.”
A balance of treatment, prevention and wellness
The new Peel Memorial offers many specialized, surgical, acute and preventive health services including day surgery facilities, an Urgent Care Centre, seniors’ rehabilitation and wellness programs, mental health and addictions services, a hemodialysis unit, clinics for children, youth, expectant/new mothers and newborns, and much more. Any patient who comes to Peel Memorial but needs a hospital stay, is promptly stabilized and safely transferred to Brampton Civic, Etobicoke General or the most appropriate acute care facility.
Patients also get the information and supports they need to prevent or manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or cardiovascular disease, to learn about lifestyle changes including fitness and healthy diets, and to connect with community supports.
“This is a new kind of health care facility,” Flewwelling says. “One that represents a profound shift to prevention and wellness. The focus is on fostering a healthier community and reducing the need for crisis visits to the emergency department and hospital admissions.”
Over time, Peel Memorial will partner with other health organizations and complementary health providers – such as naturopaths and chiropractors – to provide more health care options, and collaborate with other community-based services to connect people with more of the supports they need, close to home.
A seamless experience for patients
As a site within the Osler health system, Peel Memorial works seamlessly with Brampton Civic, Etobicoke General and Osler’s community health partners so that patients can move easily between the facilities according to their health care needs. Services at Peel Memorial complement those at the other two hospitals and the care teams at all three hospitals have shared access to patients’ health records.
Telephone and internet communications, including videoconferencing, enable health care professionals across Osler to readily confer with one another. MyChartTM, a patient portal, also allows patients access to their own clinical information, including laboratory, pathology, diagnostic imaging and cardiology reports, as well as self-entered patient data such as appointments, allergies, medications and immunizations.
Better coordination, less duplication, and a better patient experience
Part of the effectiveness of Peel Memorial is its relationship with community-based health care professionals.
“We have put significant emphasis on conferring with family physicians and specialists about the services their patients need most,” says Dr. Frank Martino, Osler’s Chief of Staff. “We’re also working to improve the flow of patient information between Osler and the physicians. The more we share, the better we can coordinate care, avoid duplicate tests and enhance the patient’s health care experience.”
An accessible and sustainable facility
Peel Memorial’s expansive grounds provide lush, green space for rehabilitation activities, walking or cycling. Courtyards and large windows flood the building with light, with the courtyards providing additional spaces for therapy and relaxation. The building’s wayfinding system, its wide hallways, ‘mirrored image’ washrooms and two-level hand rails and coat racks are just some of the features that make the environment accessible, comfortable, and welcoming for patients and visitors.
Sustainability was integrated into the overall project concept and design of the new Peel Memorial from the early stages, leading it to be one of the most energy-efficient buildings of its kind in Canada. The new Peel Memorial features energy-efficient low-flow plumbing fixtures and drought-tolerant landscaping; a geothermal system that allows heat rejected from the building to be stored during the summer for use during the winter; and solar shading controls, LED lighting and numerous other sustainable features.
Plans for the future
Peel Memorial was redeveloped with the future in mind. This first phase focuses on outpatient services (including day surgery and the urgent care centre) most needed by the community. With phase one open, Osler will work with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on the next phase (Phase 2) of the project, which includes inpatient beds for patients needing Complex Continuing Care and Rehabilitation.
The end result
“Peel Memorial embodies a new approach to health care, where the focus is on helping patients stay healthy and to be proactive when it comes to healthy living to prevent issues before they become serious health concerns,” Flewwelling notes. “It’s an approach that makes better use of precious resources and, most importantly, ensures a better patient experience.”
Alineh Haidery is the Regional Manager, Public Relations at William Osler Health System.