Developing quality in our programs
What is program development?
High-quality services comprise one of Northern Health's four strategic directions. It aims to ensure quality in all aspects of our organization.
Northern Health will ensure quality in all aspects of the organization. We will:
- Establish a culture of continuous quality improvement and patient safety;
- Establish the organizational structures and processes required for effective decision making;
- Foster a learning environment and engage in research, in partnership with academic organizations;
- Strengthen our capacity to manage the change needed to improve quality; and
- Identify and manage risks to the organization and strengthen our preparedness for emergencies.
In 2010-2011, five program areas combined efforts to support Northern Health's focus on quality. The program development team is creating regional programs for increased communication, understanding, and quality of services in each of their areas.
- Establish a service model for child and youth mental health and substance use based on the distribution framework.
- Implement Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Emergency Department and inpatient protocols at 6 sites.
- Establish a virtually enabled Regional Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use support team.
Executive Lead: Chantelle Wilson
Medical Lead (Child and youth): Dr. Kirsten Miller
Medical Lead (Child and youth mental health): Dr. Matt Burkey
- Complete Northern Health Colon Screening Program review, including current state and feasibility assessments, implementation of recommendations, and sustainable performance measurement.
- Assess current state and funding model for BC Transplant with recommended actions to improve the sustainability of transplant services in Northern Health.
- Complete a Diabetes Care gap analysis.
- Assess the newly released 10-year cancer strategy and identify priority actions arising.
Executive Lead: Jessica Place
Medical Lead (Chronic pain primary care): Dr. Devan Reddy
Medical Lead (Chronic pain specialized care): Dr. Colin Phillips
Medical Lead (Kidney care): Dr. Anurag Singh
- Develop a Regional Critical Care Service Plan including current state and feasibility assessments, Health Human Resource implications, implementation, recommendations/plan and sustainable performance measurement.
- Refresh Sepsis management education and supports per revised provincial guidelines.
- Support the SaferCare initiative by co-leading the change and documentation working groups for all acute and critical care sites and participating in the development of order sets.
Emergency departments (Sepsis):
- Improve and maintain the use of the Sepsis Protocol in all emergency departments
Improve care for patients experiencing pain, agitation and delirium in UHNBC Intensive Care Unit (PAD):
- Beginning with UHNBC, improve care for patients in Intensive Care Units with pain, agitation and delirium (PAD) through the development and implementation of leading practice protocols.
- Transfer of care documentation.
Executive Lead: Beth Ann Derksen
Medical Lead: Dr. Sonny Thiara
- Work with primary care providers to identify early signs of frailty and opportunities for early intervention to improve health outcomes for seniors.
- Redesign and increase capacity of Home Support services with an initial focus on extended hours provided within the context of the interprofessional team.
- Continue to broadly implement DementiAbility and Gentle Persuasive Approaches to provide staff with tools and approaches that improve dementia care and reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotics in Long-term care homes.
- Spread DementiAbility training and practice across the region. This approach to care will contribute to the achievement of target rates for appropriate use of antipsychotics in Long-term care homes.
- Strengthen and standardize a palliative approach to care in Long-term care homes.
The Elder Program is one of five region-wide clinical programs Northern Health has established to help us deliver our promise of high-quality services for the people we serve. The Elder Program offers a range of health care and support services for residents that are designed to complement and supplement the efforts of individuals to care for themselves with the assistance of family, friends and community.
The Elder Program is made up of a team of health care professionals from across the North, and is also supported by a multidisciplinary guidance council of experts with links to researchers. As well, patients are heard through focus groups or experiences such as patient journey mapping.
The efforts of the Elder Program are aimed at enhancing the quality of the services and include development of:
- Integration strategies to strengthen at-home services to prevent admission to hospital or to allow for earlier discharge from hospital;
- Expert respite for a client’s unpaid caregivers;
- Assisted living services to clients who are still independent, but require a higher level of care;
- Residential care services for clients who can no longer be supported in their homes; and
- Advanced Care Planning.
The Elder Program’s goals for the coming year are:
- To prevent falls by elderly people in hospitals; and
- To reduce the level of harm caused by falls by elderly people in hospitals by 10 per cent.
Executive Lead: Aaron Bond
Medical Lead: Dr. Dick Raymond
- Implement regional policy and supports to ensure a standardized and coordinated response when facilities face pressure to enact Emergency Department (ED) Diversion.
- Provide mentorship and supports for rural and remote Emergency Department nurses through an established ED Education Framework, virtual peer to peer model, and other enhanced program structures (i.e. sexual assault, Patient Transfer and Flow Office, etc.).
- Continue to enhance Patient Transfer and Flow services in collaboration with BC Emergency Health Services as part of the strategic priority to improve the movement of patients and access to care overall.
- Prepare for and support implementation of the EmergCare Project (ED Clinical Information System) under the SaferCare initiative.
Executive Lead: Jordan Oliver
Medical Lead: Dr. Patrick Rowe
- Stabilize and strengthen Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD) services through product standardization and staff training and ongoing development.
- Complete facility audits for Infection Prevention and Control with the goal of shifting to ongoing quality improvement.
- Continue to stabilize infection prevention and control practices that were enhanced during the COVID-19 pandemic in Long-term care homes.
Regional Manager: Deanna Hembroff
Medical Lead: Dr. Abu Hamour
- Develop a 5-year Mental Health and Substance Use Service Network Strategy that attends to cultural safety and is person and family centered. This strategy is informed by our Strategic Plan and: provincial policies and frameworks issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction.
- Support the implementation of Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions initiatives to strengthen service delivery across the care continuum and in accordance with the 5 Year Mental Health and Substance Use Service Network Strategy. In alignment with Ministry direction, expand services to respond to the toxic drug crisis including work related to decriminalization, safer supply and other harm reduction strategies, and treatment options.
- Implement a quality improvement framework to ensure the rights of people who are involuntarily admitted to care under the Mental Health Act are protected. This work responds to the July 2022, Ombudsperson review of progress made to address the recommendations from the report “Committed to Change: Protecting the Rights of Involuntary Patients under the Mental Health Act”.
- Support the Complex Care Housing steering committee to assist operational teams through implementation of the Complex Care Housing model and work closely with Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions on a monitoring and evaluation plan.
The goal of the Mental Health and Substance Use Program for the coming year is:
- To improve the follow-up rate for their clients, so that after they are discharged, they will connect to community services and primary care within 30 days.
Executive Lead: Michelle Lawrence
Medical Lead (Addictions and harm reduction): Dr. Gerrard Prigmore
Medical Lead (Mental health): Dr. Barb Kane
- Stabilize rural maternity services through implementation of the endorsed NH 5-Year Perinatal Service Network Strategy.
- Strengthen the perinatal service pathway by focusing on establishing seamless perinatal transitions in care, prenatal to postpartum.
- Update the perinatal service model based on the service distribution framework and Perinatal Services BC tiers of service model.
The Perinatal Program is one of five region-wide clinical programs Northern Health has established to help us deliver high-quality services for the people we serve. Our program includes childbearing women and their families from conception through pregnancy, delivery, post partum, newborn, and early parenting stages.
We will provide resources and information to you and your family at this very special time.
Prenatal and postpartum care is available in most communities across Northern Health, intrapartum services (birthing services) are provided in 11 centres. In Northern Health, we deliver an average of 3,500 babies each year.
The Perinatal Program Guidance Council provides advisement on the development and recommendations of standards, policies, plans, and quality improvement processes related to the perinatal program area. The Perinatal Program aims to:
- Provide safe perinatal care as close to home as possible.
- Provide excellence in perinatal practice.
- Focus on teamwork and collaboration as key components of our work; and
- Provide women and family-centered care.
We proudly participate in the Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiently program (MOREOB). Patient safety is our first and collective priority.
Executive Lead: Vanessa Salmons
Midwifery Lead: Celina Laursen
Specialist OB/Gyn Lead: Dr. Stephen Boakye
Family Practice Lead: Dr. Jacobus Strydom
- Develop a 5-year Primary Care Service Network Strategy to guide the delivery of primary and community services in Northern BC.
- Support the implementation of the Primary Care Network Governance Refresh with the First Nations Health Authority and Divisions of Family Practice, to include the optimization of urgent and primary care service provision, the continued oversight of Northern Health owned and operated primary care clinics and the refinement of care pathways from primary care through to the health authority provided community services.
- Plan and implement the Primary and Community Care priorities described in the Strengthening Care Pathways and Model Strategic Initiative with a first focus on strengthening and standardizing care pathways to and from primary and community care and specialized community services, including community medical specialists and pharmacy.
- Plan and implement the second phase of Virtual Care enablement including the service expansion of Peer-to-Peer nursing support and the review and optimization of virtual care technologies.
Executive Lead: Pam Mulroy
Medical Lead: Vacant
- In accordance with the 5 Year Rehabilitation Services Strategy, support the implementation of the rehabilitation service model based on the Northern Health Service Distribution Framework, including the optimization of rehabilitation professionals and supports.
- Develop enhanced clinical pathways for specialized rehabilitation services from primary care to community, regional and provincial levels.
- Support workforce stabilization and enhanced team-based care for rural sites by leveraging technology and virtually enabled rehabilitation services.
Executive Lead: Tysen Leblond
Medical Lead: Dr. Garry Palak
- Develop a Regional Surgical Services Plan including current state and feasibility assessments, health human resource implications, implementation, recommendations, and a sustainable performance measurement.
- Identify and implement service changes to achieve identified wait time targets.
- Develop and implement regional policy and team supports to ensure standardized processes in all perioperative departments at all sites.
- Prepare for and support implementation activity related to SurgCare.
The Surgical Services Program is one of five region-wide clinical programs Northern Health has established to help us deliver our promise of high-quality services for the people we serve.
The Surgical Services Program is made up of a team of health care professionals from across the North and is also supported by a multidisciplinary guidance council of experts with links to researchers. The council also addresses issues associated with education, skill development and professional practice.
The Surgical Program's purpose statement is:
"High quality, patient centered surgical care within a sustainable health system for residents of Northern British Columbia"
The Surgical Program focus is on two areas of care:
- Perioperative (before, during and after surgery); and
- Inpatient surgical.
Current data indicates Northern Health has:
- Ten hospitals with operating room facilities delivering varying types of surgery.
- Surgeries performed include general surgery, orthopedics, gynecology, plastic surgery, urological, ophthalmology and ears, nose and throat surgery.
The Surgical Program’s goals are to develop strategies to enhance flow and timely access throughout every patient's surgical journey. Surgical services is for patients, families and health care providers who want information on preparing for and recovering from surgery at a Northern Health facility. Read more about your cataract surgery and lens replacement.
Executive Lead: Jana O'Neill
Medical Lead: Vacant