The Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital by zwj23860


									                     The Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital
                        5 Kirkham Drive, Ajax, Ontario L1S 5L1

Ms Janet Ecker, Chair and Members of the Board
Rouge Valley Health System
Board of Directors
Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital
2867 Ellesmere Road
Toronto, ON M1E 4B9

March 17, 2009

Dear Ms. Ecker and Members of the Board of the Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS):

The Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital are writing to ask your explanation regarding the
conditions that have been reported to us at the Mental Health ward in 10 West at Rouge Valley
Centenary (RVC). Through an article in the Scarborough Mirror and first hand accounts related
to members of the Friends of the Ajax Pickering Hospital, the Friends have become aware of the
following intolerable conditions at that ward:

    •   There is no Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at RVC, and no indication that this
        unit will be available any time soon;
    •   The lack of the PICU has been compensated for by having the majority of beds equipped
        with restraints whose use has apparently substantially exceeded established guidelines;
    •   Without a PICU available, staff and patients are in danger from aggressive patients who
        cannot be properly cared for, and two nurses have reportedly been severely injured by
        such a patient;
    •   Many of the rooms used for patients are being stacked beyond appropriate capacity:
        rooms for four patients are housing five or more;
    •   Many of the rooms are filthy, with unwashed and unswept floors, splatter on walls,
        mould in patient bathrooms and an insect infestation.

As you are aware, the Friends strongly opposed the move of the mental health facilities from the
Ajax Pickering Hospital to Scarborough. While we felt that the move failed to consider the needs
of a growing Durham population, the RVHS board and LHIN assured Ajax and Pickering
residents that this move would provide excellent health care in a consolidated facility at a
substantially reduced cost. A year later, RVC is clearly unable to accommodate the volume of
patients from the two original facilities, has no PICU and is apparently not maintaining basic
hygiene and medical standards. Meanwhile, the former ward at the Ajax Pickering Hospital has
been equipped with a brand new PICU as part of a previously existing contract; yet that ward
remains closed.
Is this the level of “excellence” that Ajax and Pickering residents can expect as the result of
future consolidations, such as those now proposed by the recently announced Clinical Services

We remain extremely concerned at the deterioration of health care in Durham region as evidenced
by the deterioration of the treatment of Ajax and Pickering mental health patients. Mentally ill
patients are among the most vulnerable of those entrusted to our health care system. Not
providing for basic hygiene in patient rooms is dangerous, shameful and inexcusable. Putting
patients in restraints for the convenience of hospital management is unconscionable. The
standard of care for such patients marks the standard we can expect for all patients going forward,
and on behalf of those patients, the Friends formally requests the answers to each of these

    •   Why did 3 West, the mental health ward at the Ajax Pickering Hospital, get closed down
        when it was clear that proper replacement facilities were still months away, and while the
        enhancement of 3 West’s ghost ward would have enabled proper care of patients that
        remains unavailable at RVC?
    •   What auditing is done at RVHS sites to ensure basic, if not proper hygiene for patient
        care areas, and what is the result of the most recent audit?
    •   What independent review is performed to ensure that patient restraints are only used
        according to proper guidelines?
    •   Are such audits and independent reviews going to be conducted and made available to the
        public regularly?
    •   Given the injuries to nursing staff and the continuing lack of a PICU at RVC, what
        specific procedures are now in place to handle aggressive patients that protects both staff
        and patients? Who inspects those procedures?
    •   How much did the cost of constructing the unused PICU at the Ajax Pickering Hospital
        remove from the savings expected by consolidating mental health care at RVC?
    •   In light of the severe shortcomings of the failure of this consolidation, why is the RVHS
        board not reopening 3 West at Ajax Pickering Hospital, making use of working, clean
        facilities that have already demonstrated their ability to deliver mental health care?

With the announcement of the Clinical Services Plan and its emphasis on further consolidation of
health care services, the Friends are very concerned that the handling of the mental health
consolidation at RVHS foreshadows a deterioration of the quality of even more of our health care.
We look forward to a prompt answer to our questions, and an explanation of what will change to
resolve these issues to the satisfaction of the patients and families from the communities of Ajax
and Pickering, who must now use these services.

Yours sincerely

Walter Donaldson                         Yvonne Bosch
Co-Chair                                 Co-Chair
Friends of APH                           Friends of APH
905 427 7834                             905 683 0832
cc:   Foster Loucks, Chair, and Members of the Board, Central East LHIN
      Joe Dickson, MPP Ajax Pickering
      Wayne Arthurs, MPP Pickering/Scarborough East
      Christine Elliott, M.P.P. Whitby-Oshawa
      John O’Toole, M.P.P. Durham
      Hon Margarett R. Best, MPP Scarborough—Guildwood/Minister of Health Promotion
      Hon. David Caplan, M.P.P., Minister of Health & Long Term Care
      Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier
      Mayor Steve Parish and Council of the Town of Ajax
      Mayor David Ryan and Council of the Town of Pickering
      Mayor Pat Perkins and Council of the Town of Whitby
      Chair Roger Anderson and Council of the Region of Durham
      Mike Johnston, Managing Editor, Ajax News Advertiser
      Joanne Burghardt, Editor-in-Chief, Oshawa This Week
      Dave Marshall, News Director, CHEX TV
      Dan Carter, CHEX-TV
      Chris Dunlop, News Director, KX96 FM
      Steve Kassay, Operations Manager, The Rock 94.9
      Sandra Watson, News Director CKDO Studios
      Debra Hutchison, News Producer, Rogers First Local
      Mike Burke-Gaffney, Managing Editor, The Toronto Sun
      Christina Blizzard, The Toronto Sun
      Laura Morrison, News Editor, The National Post
      Lynn McAuley, City Editor, The Toronto Star

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