Friday, 22 November 2019

Feedback is Your Gift to Us

CEO Natalie Bubela demonstrates the OFI tearaway
pads and deposit boxes for leaving feedback at both sites.
As the giving season draws near, I’m reminded of the gifts our communities give to us all year round that help make Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC) better. Taking the time to share feedback about your experience as a patient or a visitor at either of our sites is a lasting contribution you can make to your local hospital that can positively affect everyone we serve.
We are always looking for ways to enrich the patient care experience, enhance processes and improve our facilities, which is why we provide a number of mechanisms for those we serve to provide feedback – positive or constructive.
Patient Satisfaction Surveys: for acute inpatient and emergency care help us identify where we are doing well and highlight where there are opportunities for quality improvement. Patients are selected at random by the National Research Corporation and we encourage you to complete this voluntary, confidential survey if you receive one in the mail. While these traditional satisfaction surveys capture the patient perspective across Ontario, we recognize that family can offer an important perspective on their loved one’s experience as well. This fall, MAHC joined the provincial roll-out of the Electronic Family Satisfaction Survey in the Intensive Care Units, which is geared to capture the family’s satisfaction with ICU care.
Comment Cards: have been introduced in some of our support services as a means of gathering in-the-moment feedback about inpatient meal service, and room cleanliness.
OFI Boxes: throughout both sites are “opportunities for improvement” (OFI) tearaway pads where you can note your comments and leave them for us in the deposit boxes.
Website: at compliments and concerns are easy to share with us. We also welcome feedback in writing by mail, or verbally by phone by contacting a member of Administration.
Above all else, we encourage you to be active participants in your health care. If you have a concern about your care or the care of a loved one, engage those involved around you at the point of care. Speak to one of the doctors, nurses or other care team members directly about any concerns you have. Good communication with your care providers is essential and helps to ensure the highest quality of care. If your concerns cannot be resolved with your care team, you can ask to speak to the manager or shift leader and have them help you find a resolution. You also have the option of contacting our Patient Ombudsman, either over the phone or in writing.
At MAHC, all feedback is greatly appreciated, and we take every compliment and complaint seriously. Letting us know how we are doing is the best way that you can help make MAHC better!

This fall, both ICUs joined the provincial roll-out of the Electronic Family Satisfaction Survey
where family members use iPads in the ICU to share feedback about their experience.

Monday, 9 September 2019

The Value of Volunteers – Priceless!

There is a contingent of workers at our hospitals who put in countless hours and don’t take home a cent for their time. You can find them supporting patient care in nearly every area of our hospitals, easily recognized by their green smocks and big smiles. They are also very active in our communities working to raise funds for much-needed equipment that the government does not fund, and offer educational scholarship programs to both local students and hospital staff.

Have you ever thought about becoming a hospital volunteer? Volunteering is about giving back. It means working with others to make a meaningful contribution to a better community. At Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare, we are so fortunate to have the Auxiliary to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital and the Huntsville Hospital Auxiliary as part our hospital team. These people work tirelessly to give their time to assist patients, staff and visitors. They operate our gift shops, they porter patients around the buildings, they help with wayfinding, and they promote awareness in the community.

As a hospital administrator, every time I hear about the work our volunteers are doing and the dollars they are fundraising, I am humbled by their generosity, commitment and contagious enthusiasm. Each of our volunteers has a story to tell, each of them comes from a different background with different life experiences, but yet they all have one thing in common – and that is their willingness to give of their time in support of our hospitals. Together, last year our two Auxiliaries invested nearly 44,000 hours! It is with thanks for this vital support that we are able to make your patient experience the best it can be and be able to make continued investments in the hospitals that improve patient care.

The value of volunteering is something money can never measure and the contributions made by our Auxiliary members to safe, high-quality care are simply priceless. On behalf of all the people that come through our doors, I sincerely thank each and every hospital auxiliary volunteer for their dedication and hard work to support local hospital care.

I hope you too will be inspired to support your hospitals by becoming a volunteer. Our Auxiliaries are always looking for new members and you can find out more about how you can our website at:

Friday, 26 July 2019

Ontario Health Teams: a collaborative partnership model for health care

Muskoka and area will be at the forefront of Ontario’s health system transformation as a group of local health care providers, including MAHC, has been selected among the first wave of applicants seeking to establish an Ontario Health Team (OHT).

Ontario Health Teams are being introduced by the provincial government to provide a new way of organizing and delivering health care services in local communities. The concept is that under Ontario Health Teams, the health care providers you see (including hospitals, doctors and home care providers) will work as one coordinated team – no matter where they provide your care. It is part of the provincial government’s plan to improve health care in Ontario by building a more connected system that improves the patient and caregiver experience and strengthens local services.

I am excited about the recent announcement that Muskoka and area has been invited to submit a full application for an Ontario Health Team. Patients throughout our region will benefit from health care that is integrated and coordinated locally, centered around primary care, and positioned to improve social determinants of population health.

Muskoka and area is one of just 31 groups selected by the provincial government to move forward to the next stage of application, and this is all thanks to the hard work of the Muskoka and Area OHT partners. We at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare are proud to be a partner in this work, joining a full spectrum of health and community organizations, including the Cottage Country Family Health Team, Algonquin Family Health Team, Midwives of Muskoka, North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, Closing the Gap Health Care, North Simcoe Muskoka Home and Community Care, North East Home and Community Care, CarePartners Muskoka, District of Muskoka, Alzheimer’s Society of Muskoka, and

In our collective completed application, which is due this fall, we will demonstrate how our OHT will enhance coordination of care and improve transitions of care, and effectively engage primary care providers and leaders, as well as Indigenous partners by further illustrating solid relationships across the continuum of care. We must also establish effective governance with providers and community-based representation, including patients and families. If you are interested in becoming part of this local governance model, I encourage you to send your expression of interest to Janine van den Heuvel, Executive Director of the Algonquin Family Health Team at

This is very exciting news for Muskoka and area that builds on the great work of the Muskoka and Area Health System Transformation group to revolutionize local health care to make it easier for patients to navigate the system and to centre care around people. I hope that with continued hard work and the support of all our partners, later this fall Muskoka and area can be among those named by the province as the first Ontario Heath Teams.

If you would like to learn more about how Ontario is connecting care through Ontario Health Teams, please visit

Monday, 27 May 2019

Quality improvement goals set for 2019/2020

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s commitment to patient safety and quality improvement is continuous and collaborative. We are excited to continue the momentum we have recently gained from our Accreditation Canada exemplary standing award and keep safety and quality at the core of all we do.

The Excellent Care for All Act requires hospitals to develop and communicate an annual Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) that sets safety and quality targets for the organization to achieve. QIPs are centered around the five key dimensions of quality: access, effectiveness, integrated, patient centered, and safety. This year’s QIP continues our ongoing quality improvement journey to ensure that our patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time by the right provider.

am pleased to share our 2019/2020 QIP which is posted on the MAHC website and focuses our work on four objectives:
  1. Improving access by monitoring time from decision to admit in the Emergency Department to arrival on inpatient unit
  2. Improving value through patient satisfaction responses to the question: “Did you receive enough information from hospital staff about what to do if you were worried about your condition or treatment after you left hospital?”
  3. Improving safety by identifying, monitoring and implementing improvement strategies for the number of workplace violence incidents reported by staff
  4. Improving safety through medication reconciliation upon discharge
As well, each of the care teams has identified additional quality improvement initiatives at the departmental level and these indicators will be monitored monthly.

What makes me most proud is that our ongoing quality improvement journey has been informed by our patients and their families, our staff, physicians, and community health care partners. We worked collaboratively with community partners to ensure our culture supports and encourages high-quality care in each and every interaction with patients and their families.

We believe that together we can build healthy communities that are aligned with regional and provincial priorities. We are committed to a culture of quality and safety and we continue to explore new ways to provide care so we are meeting our patients' expectations and improving their hospital experience.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Are you a registered donor? Be kind and leave something behind

Today, more than 1,600 Ontarians are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant and every three days someone will die waiting. April is BeADonor Month and I encourage you to register as an organ and tissue donor – more than four million Ontarians already have, but that’s only 33% of those eligible in the province.

Gift of Life graphic: 'your parting gift matters'By registering to be a donor, you recognize that your death can have the power to save or change someone’s life. In fact, one donor can save up to eight lives through the gift of heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas and intestines. Another 75 lives can be enhanced through the gift of tissue: eyes can restore sight; skin can help burn patients; bone can be used for joint replacements; heart valves can help patients with congenital heart disease; and tendons and ligaments can help recipients walk and run.

Since 2003, 17,639 Ontarians have received a lifesaving organ transplant and we can continue to grow that number with awareness about organ and tissue donation. There is a local volunteer group called the Muskoka/Simcoe Gift of Life Association that is made up of transplant recipients, living donors and donor families who are also working to increase awareness of organ and tissue donation and the importance of organ donor registration. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.

Registering your consent for organ and tissue donation will give hope to those waiting. If you ever needed a transplant and would accept an organ donation are you also willing to give? To register, visit Register today and share your donation decision with your family. Even if you signed a donor card, formally registering as a donor is the only secure and guaranteed way to make your decision known. You can also access an Organ & Tissue Donor Registration form at any ServiceOntario centre and mail it in.

Together, we can help to build a nation of donors.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Future Planning: Have your say on building our future hospitals

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare’s Capital Plan Development Task Force continues to work through Stage 1 of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care capital planning process with a focus on having two hospitals for Muskoka and area in the future. That’s a hospital in Bracebridge and a hospital in Huntsville with 24-7 emergency departments, surgical services, and inpatient care including obstetrics and intensive care supported by core diagnostic services at each site.

Knowing this is the Board-endorsed service delivery model for the future, since September we have been working on how we would build that model. Is it best to renovate and expand, is it better to replace the buildings altogether on the existing land? Or are we better to move to a new location?

Following three workshops with clinicians and community partners to understand the size of space we would need in the future to match our programs, services and increased bed base, as well as the adjacencies of those departments to each other, our architectural consultant drew up these high-level floor plans and layered the site plan onto each hospital property in line with the most ideal development spot. This work showed us what a renovation and expansion of the current buildings, a new replacement build on the existing properties, and a new build on a new site in Bracebridge could look like. You can see the plans and learn more about the estimated construction cost at, and watch short videos explaining each option on our YouTube channel and on MAHC's Facebook page.

We were excited to share this progress, and so earlier this month we spent time engaging our staff and physicians, and residents across the region to provide an update on this work and to present the design options for redeveloping our hospitals in South Muskoka and in Huntsville. It was great to visit six communities and see upwards of 400 people, many of whom I was able to speak with after the presentation and help answer their questions. Thank you to everyone who came out to get informed!

CEO Natalie Bubela is one of four speakers during community information sessions about the building design options.
Since March 4, our feedback survey has been open to hear your thoughts on the different approaches that could be taken. Please take some time to let us know what you think before Sunday, March 24 by visiting

The Task Force will review the feedback and weigh it against the design guiding principles, cost considerations and affordability before recommending a preferred building option for each hospital to the MAHC Board of Directors later this spring.

I hope you agree this is a very exciting time for Muskoka and area to shape an even brighter future. We all need to be part of investing in the future and making our hospitals the best they can be for our kids and grandkids. We deserve it and I am really looking forward to making it happen together.