April 2016Feature articles

Donor support is essential to the JGH’s evolution

As the Jewish General Hospital continues its evolution (notably, with the opening of Pavilion K earlier this year), the commitment and generosity of donors has assumed even greater importance. Their support will be crucial if the JGH is to maintain and build on the renowned programs and services that have benefited patients and their families for generations.

Here’s a look at some of the leading initiatives that are now under way and will depend on private contributions to reach fruition.

Improving specialized diagnostics in the Surgical Pathology Lab

Although the JGH has long played a prominent role in pathology, the infrastructure of the hospital’s Surgical Pathology Laboratory is more than 25 years old and its mechanical systems are now obsolete. Space and resources are limited and in great need of improvement; without a high-performance Laboratory Information System, workflow has become inefficient and histology practices are out of date.

The solution is to expand and renovate the Surgical Pathology Laboratory, which is scheduled to be relaunched in July. In its new incarnation, the lab will increase the capacity and speed of conducting diagnostic evaluations, processing and analyzing specimens, and providing clinicians with accurate, reliable results. An upgraded lab will also enhance the availability of information that is essential in diagnosing, monitoring, preventing and treating disease, as well as assisting in research in departments throughout the hospital.

Why does pathology matter so much? Because, despite its occasionally skewed image in movies and on TV, the main thrust of pathology is in helping to prevent disease and detect it in its earliest stages. At the JGH in particular, no fewer than 70 per cent of clinical decisions involve test results produced by the Department of Pathology.

This is especially true of cancer, where accurate diagnosis is of key importance in determining treatment options, establishing prognoses, monitoring the progression of the disease, and evaluating the effectiveness of the treatments.

Pathology is also at centre-stage in the clinical management of tumours and in the development of new anti-cancer drugs. In identifying the molecular drivers behind each patient’s specific case of cancer, pathologists can help to develop personalized plans that deliver the right kind of treatment at the right time with the right dose.

For more information or to donate to this vital initiative, please contact the JGH Foundation at 514-340-8251.

Rising need for hemodialysis spurs expansion

Here’s a little-known but vital healthcare fact: The JGH has the fastest growing hemodialysis program in Montreal, with over 31,500 individual treatments performed each year.

Small wonder the hospital’s Hemodialysis Units—one with 18 stations in Pavilion G, and another with 19 stations in Pavilion H—are running at full capacity. With demand rising steadily at 7 per cent per year, the JGH’s facilities are at the limit of what they can handle.

Fortunately, relief is in sight: Plans are under way to consolidate this program and relocate it to the large space in Pavilion D that was vacated when the Emergency Department moved to Pavilion K in 2014.

This will streamline the service and allow nine dialysis stations to be added, for a total number of 46, enabling JGH Division of Nephrology to accommodate up to 54 more patients.

The Division itself, which now occupies a total of 12,000 square feet in various hospital locations, will operate out of a single 27,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with a parking area for dialysis patients, where pick-up and drop-off will be more accessible and convenient.

In support of this $8.8 million project, the government is providing $2.8 million, with another $2.5 million already contributed by private donors. However, the remaining $3.5 million is still to be raised.

Hemodialysis is an essential service for JGH patients who have suffered kidney failure and must undergo life-saving treatments that cleanse their blood in four-hour sessions three times a week.

As the population ages and life expectancy rises, more people are experiencing kidney failure. Since many of these elderly patients are frail and have other health problems, they are not suitable candidates for transplants and, therefore, need hemodialysis. The JGH also has one of the largest peritoneal dialysis programs in Montreal, which offers patients the option of performing their own dialysis treatments at home.

For more information or to donate to this vital initiative, please contact the JGH Foundation online or call 514-340-8251.

Renovations coming to Psychiatry to promote dignity and comfort

Mounting pressure on the JGH Department of Psychiatry to admit more in-patients has led to the development of extensive renovation plans.

In the upgraded Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, space will be used more efficiently, dedicated family rooms will be added for private counselling, and patients’ rooms will be private or semi-private. On hand, as well, will be more toilets, showers, hand disinfection stations and state-of-the-art security technology to promote dignity, healing, wellness and comfort.

The Psychiatry Department is feeling the effects of bed closures that have occurred locally in several major hospitals, without a commensurate increase in community-based services. In addition, psychiatric patients are increasingly ill, more prone to violence and have a wide range of co-morbidities.

The need for upgraded facilities also stems, in large part, from the fact that the JGH is one of the few hospitals in Montreal or Quebec with a full in-patient psychiatry service. The 48-bed unit provides comprehensive, acute, short-term assessment and treatment, including emergency and high-risk care for patients who often have medical illnesses, multiple impairments or chronic medical conditions.

The department currently operates an open 32-bed ward, a closed eight-bed High Care Area and an eight-bed Transitional Unit. The unit is always full to overflowing, with patients often waiting in Emergency to be admitted.

Patients are seen by multidisciplinary teams whose members represent Psychiatry, Psychology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Social Services and Family Medicine. Intervention is geared towards early discharge and transfer to an outpatient service.

Renovation of the Psychiatry Inpatient Unit will help the JGH meet patients’ complex psychiatric needs, improve the patient experience and the quality of their lives, lower family stress, and reduce the stigma of psychiatric hospitalization, while making staff easier to recruit and retain.

For more information or to donate to this vital initiative, please contact the JGH Foundation online or call 514-340-8251.

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