Mar 4, 2019 | Leadership
Hi All, This month’s blog is inspired by International Women’s Day 2019 and its theme #BalanceforBetter. The campaign, which is rooted in a drive for gender parity, is marked by a celebration and collection of events on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Locally, there are many activities happening this year and HDGH is participating in two of them. On the 7th , I will be one of four female panelists at an event hosted by the University of Windsor’s EPICentre and on the 8th , will be attending HDGH and In Honour of the Ones We Love “Windsor’s Unsung Female Heroes” event that is SOLD OUT!
I have been thinking a lot about women’s rights, gender parity and feminism lately and have some thoughts I’d like to share with you all for a couple of reasons;
One - I am part of the small minority of female hospital CEO’s in our country and for that reason we need to be talking about this issue and,
Two – our hospital’s focus is on creating a healthier community. That can’t be achieved without talking about inequity in all its forms.
What would it mean in our city, region, province, country and world to achieve gender balance? To reach a place where we no longer have to talk about women’s rights? Where we no longer have a healthcare system where the majority of the workforce is female (82%) but in leadership we find less than 30% of health organizations are led by women?
To answer this question, I went into the research – specifically the transformational feminist/female leadership research – to review some of the literature about what women leaders bring to the table that’s different. I didn’t just look at all women leaders who happened to be female, but instead women who work from a transformational leadership perspective that value full female participation and equal rights.
What I found in reading a few articles provided by our small but mighty research team here at HDGH was fascinating. For purposes of this “shortish” blog I’ll be referencing one specific article- Transformational Leadership: The feminist connection in postmodern organizations, Barker and Young, 1994. This article best represents what I want to discuss today, and what kind of leadership we will need moving forward into the brave new world of healthcare transformation (I encourage you to read it yourselves for the best understanding of their perspectives/arguments).
According to Baker and Young (1994) transformational leadership is:
When one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Transformational leadership is moral leadership in that it has a transforming effect on both the leader and the follower, bringing out the best in each. (p.18)
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Leaders who don’t tell you what to do but help you to figure out the “how” and the “why.” To me that is the essence of what we need moving into this brave new world of health care reform.
Now let’s add in the female perspective to this idea. What do women bring to this definition of leadership that is already progressive in nature?
In this article, the authors talk about women’s ways of knowing and thinking, and how it’s different. Women do their work through a web of relationships that build up both parties. We share our power for the benefit of the larger picture. Women build webs of interconnectedness that is at its heart a coalition or network of intent – and that intent being the success of all of those involved or being served – not just the success of the individual. The language of this is telling; support, empathy, connections, cooperation, relationships, listening etc. In reading, I can’t help but think of all the partners we have here at HDGH, partners with whom we share our knowledge, our learning, our resources from time to time - our power, if you will. In the examples I can think of involving our formal and more informal partnerships we have grown stronger and more connected to our community and so have our partners.
There is so much more to talk about in this article that I just don’t have the space to reflect on today so I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts in general and some disclaimers about what I’m not saying.
At about 30% today, we have a long way to go to reach gender parity in healthcare CEO selection. Oh and keep in mind a lot of the current female CEOs are in a similar age bracket as myself where retirement is looking better and better so we’d better get moving on getting the next generation ready – with massive reform on the way, we’re going to need them.
Thanks for reading!
As always, I’m happy to receive comments or questions to Janice.firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at kafferjkaffer on Twitter to keep up with what’s happening at HDGH.
Nov 5, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Happy November folks … this month’s blog is going to focus on appreciation and why saying thank you and being grateful to your employees is important. I’m going to start by taking you back to when I was a little girl. My parents worked hard but there was never anything extra in our household so it was truly miraculous the year that we got a television. The reason I tell you this is because one of the shows I remember most is Romper Room and the reason I remember this show was the Magic Mirror. For those of you who grew up in the Star Wars era and beyond where everything science fiction is possible I ask you to consider what it was like for a little girl in Scarborough, to sit in front of the TV, and see a beautiful lady with a magic mirror say that “she can look through her mirror and see all the boys and girls.” Kind of like Santa Claus. My sisters and I would watch and hope that she called our name … I don’t ever recall her calling my name but the anticipation of it – the knowledge that she knew that I was there –was powerful to me. It was fantasy, but for me, very real. One of the show’s hosts was interviewed about the Magic Mirror and the popularity of that segment where she would go to the desk and pick up the mirror. She said, “It has less to do with me. It has even less to do with the mirror. It has everything to do with that little kid sitting on the floor who I would talk directly to,” she says “Little children want to be recognized. They want to be noticed. Then as adults we still want to be validated and seen.”
That desire to be validated and seen is why saying THANK YOU and why this year’s staff appreciation week matters.
I’ve worked in many organizations where employees are valued and appreciated as well as those where that is not the case. There is a difference in how those organizations feel, perform and how patients, clients and families experience their care. Not surprisingly organizations where staff feel valued, appreciated and are told thank you outperform all the rest on most of the metrics that matter. Here, at HDGH, we want our staff to feel appreciated, thanked and validated – and we’re working hard on creating that kind of culture. Thus – the Changing Lives Recognition Program.
From an HR perspective, a blog from hracuity.com talks about 5 reasons why employee engagement matters (2015). One that jumped out at me is that employees like being connected and involved and seeing themselves as an important piece in the bigger picture – the Mission of the hospital if you will. I liked that and relate it to our commitment and ongoing support to the development of our unit based councils where staff voice plays an important part in achieving excellence on the unit. I believe staff voice matters – is actually critical in our success – and I commit our leadership team to continuing to support this journey.
The second perspective is from a blog by kabbage.com (2017) about how to value your employees. It’s focused on small business and you may wonder about its relevance in healthcare but I think in many ways we are a small business. One could argue that our individual units and programs are unique small business environments in some ways. The post articulates much of what I’m talking about here; everyone benefits from praise in the workplace, thank you matters and flexible environments where employees have discretionary decision making (unit councils again) matters. But what stood out to me is this statement; Everyone needs a mission. This is important because it leads to the discussion about what makes HDGH successful – everyone being part of the bigger picture and feeling that their contribution makes a difference. Being acknowledged, appreciated and thanked for your work leads to that connection.
Finally let’s talk about the numbers.
In 2017/2018 HDGH saw a 5% improvement in patients receiving information on admission, a 3% reduction of total patients falls, a 92.2% overall hand hygene and 94% of our patients telling us they would recommend HDGH to friends. HDGH is doing really really well on our quality and safety metrics. Our patients’ feedback is excellent and our engagement scores across all areas is good to great. That’s important because remember that our focus and our priority is to provide excellent patient/client care. Staff that are valued and appreciated are happier at work and the results here demonstrate that quite ably.
In closing let me be really clear and address our HDGH staff directly. It’s important to validate and appreciate you all in order to provide better patient care, to do well on our accreditation survey, to have better results on our QIP etc. All that is important. But – it’s not the best reason to say thank you to all of you for what you do. The best reason to say thank is that you are deserving of thanks – of acknowledgement – of appreciation.I want you to know that we get how tough the job is. We know how much you care. We know how tired you are sometimes. We know that sometimes you wonder if anyone is paying attention.
We do and we are.
Thank you for continuing to help us achieve great things for our patients, and clients and our community. We appreciate it and we appreciate you.
I appreciate you.
Sep 10, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
Happy September everyone!
Hard to believe that another summer is winding down to make way for the beauty and fun of the fall season. It’s a great time of year that is filled with energy and excitement for some and trepidation and fear for others. For instance my grandkids are super excited to have new backpacks and to be getting back on their bus to
school. At the same time they are scared and nervous about going to “latchkey” for the first time since mom has a new full time job. The same experience – the same anticipation – can inspire both good emotions and less helpful ones all at the same time.
Personally I’ve had many experiences in my almost 60 years (yep that BIG birthday is on the horizon) that have taught me to pay attention when I’m feeling nervous, uncertain or uncomfortable. When I feel uncomfortable with a new situation or a new project or a new partnership – all of which continue to be part of my job here at HDGH – I am continuously reminded to learn from each one of these in turn becoming a stronger, more informed and hopefully more effective CEO.
This past summer, my husband Bernie and I moved into our forever home on Lake St. Clair. We had planned to wait until we were both retired but trusted our instincts and purchased a 25 year old home. It had great bones and was well constructed but was missing a part that made it feel “like us.” … so we undertook a renovation project. It took months and months but we finally moved in at the beginning of summer.
If you have gone through a construction or renovation project, you know they are often made up of decision after decision. Choosing everything from floors and paint to faucets and finishes. Along the way I was at times frustrated, angry, sad, hopeless, happy and above all impatient. I had to trust the advice and counsel of the professionals we hired and it was hard at times to imagine how this mess before my eyes would ever come back together to look normal again. But it did. At the end of the project I can honestly say I love how it came together. I had to stay focused on the end goal and not let my fears and frustrations get in the way of getting there.
Many of you may be facing challenges at work, at home, at church, within your family or you know someone who is. You will be uncomfortable and feel like the end goal is far out of reach. That’s ok. The big lesson that I’ve learned over the years is to not let the discomfort stand in my way. Each of us has a path to travel along – travel it with confidence and you will grow comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I leave you with this quote to think about going into the fall season; “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” - Brian Tracy
Be awkward. Be uncomfortable. Become YOU!
Jul 4, 2018 | Leadership, Faces of HDGH
I’ll never forget the day I ‘graduated’ from Queen’s University with my Masters in Public Administration. It was the strangest feeling. I had worked so hard, given up time with my kids and husband, lived away from home for months and then suddenly I got the certificate in the mail. I couldn’t go to the actual graduation as I was moving that weekend. An odd feeling on many levels. Beyond all the graduation stress there was a feeling like I was ready to conquer the world and most of me felt terrified of all that at the same time. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling this strange sense of excitement, nerves and fear of what’s next. Up to this point, a big part of my life had been about the routine of school; hours spent in class, studying, doing homework and balancing it all with being a wife, mom and nurse. Now, I was free, but free to do what?
As there are so many new grads out there at this time of year, I would like to take July’s blog as an opportunity to share some words of wisdom to everyone that perhaps is experiencing the array of emotions that comes with graduating post-secondary.
Here are some of the things myself and HDGH colleagues wish we had been told when entering that big scary “real” world when you feel you have to prove to everyone that all those years of school were worth it.
Your career is a marathon – not a sprint. We all have goals and aspirations and many of us…particularly the type As of us in the crowd want to achieve success the minute we hit the ground running but every job that we have…every project or piece of work is an opportunity to learn and to grow. Every one we meet along the way…no matter their role… is a potential teacher. So, instead of always looking to the finish line – let each step along the way be an experience that enables you to get to the next step. And… HAVE FUN!
“Learn to fail, or fail to learn”; if we want to grow as individuals we need to be confident in trying new things and taking risks, without concerning ourselves with the possibility of failing.
Be a team player. Education and the job market can be very competitive. Sometimes people forget that we need to support one another, and not just look out for ourselves.
Try to go with the flow, keep a positive outlook, and try to say “yes” to as many opportunities as you can because there will always be something new to learn, a new person to meet, and a new place to explore.
From me Jan ….. This was a tough question for me, but a good one. I thought long and hard and came up with this bit of advice…
I wish someone had told me that your degree is a passport of sorts – it isn’t a guarantee of admission to the future you think you’re entitled to. A good university (or post-secondary) education opens a door – but you have to go through many doors to get to the destination you’re ultimately meant to arrive at.
Good luck to all of you, and remember doors are meant to be opened. Step through with confidence, excitement and an open-mind.
Jun 19, 2018 | Leadership, Community and Partnerships
Strategic planning – the words for many elicit a subtle eye roll followed by a quick run for the hills. Yes, in most cases, it can be corporate jargon or “consultant speak,” but more than this it is a VERY important process that guides how we work, what we stand for and where we are going. An organization’s strategic plan should really be a key document that we all pay attention to in our varying places of employment. After all, it is a roadmap for an organization’s future.
For Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH) our plan is a way of communicating what the future has in store, where we are going and more importantly, how we will get there. Moreover, it is also a way of reminding each other that ALL of our work is important and reinforces how each and every one of us at HDGH contributes to our organization’s mission and vision.
In the spring of last year, it was recommended that HDGH refresh our strategic plan. A refresh didn’t mean a change in our drivers, our mission or our vision. It also didn’t mean completely overhauling what currently existed but rather refining it so that ALL of our staff felt ownership and saw themselves in where our organization was headed. Soon after that decision to refresh was made, the work began in engaging everyone from clinical and non-clinical staff, community partners, board members, to leadership. If you had input about what needed to be done at HDGH, we asked you to share it - and more than 262 people did.
After organizing, coding and finally analyzing this feedback, I am excited to announce that our refreshed, simpler, relevant and timely HDGH strategic plan is now live. This living, breathing document is one that I can honestly say combines the voices of our people, our patients and their families, our volunteers, our physicians, our community partners, and members in our community who all had a voice in creating this plan. All of these voices and more will be part of guiding us as we continue our work in achieving our vision as trusted leaders transforming healthcare and cultivating a healthier community.
So what does this plan really say? It says:
We are committed to OUR PATIENTS through Service Excellence.
We are committed to OUR PEOPLE and being the best place to work.
We are committed to OUR IDENTITY and being a centre of excellence.
I invite you to visit https://www.hdgh.org/en/strategicplan
and next time you hear the words “strategic plan” said around your place of
employment the words will instead prompt some excitement on how YOU can be part
of its growth and success.
Apr 4, 2018 | Leadership, Research and Innovation, Community and Partnerships
Going Green. These two words have been part of our popular culture for more than ten years. From “green” celebrities and clean makeup, to political activism and green consumerism, the words AND actions that correspond with “Going Green” have moved from a catchy alliteration to a way of life for many.
In honour of April being Earth Month and the 22nd being Earth Day, I think it’s important to share with you some of our “green” commitments here at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and how our vision of cultivating a healthier community extends beyond the human mental, physical and spiritual well-being, but also into the air we breathe, the energy we use and to the planet we all call home.
HDGH leadership has recognized the need to become more environmentally sustainable and responsible as an organization and also as a good neighbour to our West-Windsor community. As a result, our Environmental Services (ES) department has developed and championed the HDGH Green Initiative Program. This program consists of several phases and requires everyone – yep everyone - at HDGH to participate. The most integral phase of the program (Phase 1) focuses on increasing our waste diversion rate by reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. How will we do this? For starters, we have significantly improved our recycling program. The teams have also been more conscious on purchasing ecofriendly alternatives to current materials used throughout our hospital.
Theming 2018’s Earth Month is plastic pollution. Plastic, in all its varying forms, does so much harm to our environment from poisoning and injuring marine life, to clogging our waste streams and landfills. HDGH will do our part in minimizing plastic pollution by installing four new water filtration systems around our hospital to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles. It is our hope to encourage our staff, patients and guests to drink more water while helping our planet. Each time the system is used, it lets us know how many plastic water bottles we have eliminated from entering our waste systems. Pretty cool!
Last month, we held the kickoff meeting with our Energy Services Company, Honeywell, who will begin looking at our hospital to develop, design and build projects that renew our buildings and funding the costs through energy savings. These projects will look at everything, from how we heat and cool our patient rooms, lighting upgrades, potential renewable energy sources, and water system audits, to ultimately reduce our carbon footprint.
Our green commitments do not end there. In October of last year, HDGH along with partners Transition to Betterness (T2B), officially broke ground for the Dr. Lisa Ventrella-Lucente Memorial Garden and Greenhouse Project. The gardens will be a retreat for patients, families and staff to enjoy time outdoors and experience a sense of connection to our natural surroundings. They will also provide an opportunity for HDGH Mental Health and Rehabilitation patients to explore the therapeutic value of gardening. Some of my very best memories from my youth are times spent with my late father in the gardens … growing tomatoes and cucumbers and seeing my grandmother's irises come up in the spring.
Phase 2 of the project will include a greenhouse for the production of fresh herbs and vegetables to be used in the T2B family kitchen on our 20 bed palliative unit.
As leaders in the healthcare community, HDGH often partners with other organizations to further develop and promote best practices in a variety of capacities. As such, HDGH is now a member of the Canadian Coalition for Green Healthcare (CCGH) – a community of hospitals leading the way in ecofriendly and environmentally sustainable best practices. As a new member to the coalition, HDGH has submitted its first Green Hospital Scorecard for grading by the CCGH. This grade will provide HDGH with a baseline to measure all future progress, and can also be used to compare HDGH to other hospitals that are leaders in environmental sustainability initiatives.
Our movement towards becoming a more environmentally friendly organization isn’t just a good business decision; it is the right thing to do. Our vision of cultivating a healthier community doesn’t stop in delivering quality care for our patients, but also caring for our planet. I am looking forward to reporting out our progress to you on a regular basis and hearing your ideas and suggestions on how we can further our eco-initiatives!
Feb 1, 2018 | Leadership
February is heart month! Although each day at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare the dedicated team within our Cardiac Wellness Program makes this organ a priority, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk with you a little about things that are key for me to a happy and healthy heart. As a 58 year young woman, with a yes, I'd say, stressful job, three young grandchildren to keep up with and a personal life that right now is keeping me very busy (purchasing and renovating my dream home), there is no doubt that staying healthy is one of my top priorities. I know I am not alone in trying to figure out how to be healthy while life happens to us and around us. Each of us has personal and professional stress, so I hope I'm also not alone in recognizing the importance of cardiovascular or heart health, and what we can do to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. But before we get into what I personally do to stay healthy, a few things we should all know because we're in the 'biz' of healthcare. Do you know that heart disease affects 2.4 million Canadian adults, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada? This is significant. Very significant. The Windsor-Essex County rate for coronary heart disease in men is 28% higher than the provincial average and it is 29% higher for women. That's important for us to think about in healthcare. Our Cardiac Wellness Program here at HDGH sees 700 patient visits a year at our state-of-the-art Rehabilitation and Wellness Centre and demand for this care is outpacing our ability to meet it. To that end you will soon hear specifics on our plans for expanding these services to an east-end satellite location.
What I can tell you through my experiences both in healthcare and as a middle age woman (my mom calls me a young senior) is that a healthy heart and healthy life go hand-in-hand. Although yes, some of us are predisposed to experience heart issues through family history, there are steps we can ALL take to minimize our personal risk factors. So what are some of my go-tos in managing my cardiac health and ensuring that I remain happy, healthy and full of life?
With that, I wish you all a wonderful Heart Month and encourage you to focus on keeping your heart healthy so that you can join me in living and leading with heart.
Until next month!
Jan 25, 2018 | Mental Health, Leadership, Community and Partnerships
Remarks presented by President and CEO, Janice KafferAs an organization, we appreciate and acknowledge the government’s recent investments in our community with the commitment to the new acute care hospital.We are actively working to establish a Centre of Excellence in Rehabilitative Care. We have made some difficult decisions, we have done a lot of hard work to benchmark ourselves against our peers and invest in our clinical resources but more must be done to better address the health needs specific to our local community. As an organization we know our obligation to our patients expands beyond the walls of the hospital. We have been developing programs and services to meet the needs of patients where they need it most – at home – in the community. But to do this well, partnerships and innovative collaborations are key and while the government strategy speaks to the need for inter-sectoral collaboration on the ground, the reality of old funding models and service agreements are creating barriers to true collaboration and system transformation. From urban hospitals in the biggest cities to community hospitals such as ours, we are all struggling with the disconnect between mandatory regulations, legislation and increasing expectations within our current funding reality. Rising costs are continually eroding the base funding of our organization and therefore our stability. Whether it be salary increases mandated through arbitration, the impact of Bill 148 and the costs associated with new mandatory regulations, these rising costs are having a profound impact on our bottom line. While we support new legislative standards for pharmacy oversight as evidence informed practice is the cornerstone, applying these standards come at significant costs to hospitals who are already struggling to keep up. In addition, technology demands are coming at a high cost. The need to move to electronic health records and a new Health Information System which will improve access, safety and the patient experience are adding material expenses to an already stretched budget. Workplace Violence and Prevention is a top priority for HDGH. We are proud of the work that we have done to support a workplace free of violence and are representing the efforts of our organization as a member of the provincial workplace violence committee. We have committed a major dollar investment both in capital and in enhancing training and support to our people to provide a safe environment for our staff, patients and visitors. While we know this is the right thing to do it does put further financial pressures on our hospital.We have made significant progress in the establishment of a recognized Centre of Excellence and a more integrated Mental Health & Addictions system. As the Windsor-Essex Hospital leader in Mental Health and Addictions, together with our partners, CMHA WE Branch, we are breaking down silos that have historically been a barrier to true system transformation. Even without new funding, HDGH is ready to work to create a stronger, more seamless mental health system but we are at a tipping point, collaboration and innovation alone cannot create the system our community needs.We have the expertise, and the infrastructure to significantly change the face of mental health and addictions. With the movement of 60 acute care beds to Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, the creation of urgent assessment for mental health and addictions and added resources for children and youth who are waiting for services, we know we can create a healthy, vibrant community but operating and base investment is required to make this vision a reality.In closing I would like to leave you with three key messages:First … Like my colleagues across the province I am concerned about the sustainability of HDGH without significant new investment to the base. Second HDGH is ready, willing and able to take new investments and substantively improve care in rehabilitative programming and Mental Health and Addictions services. And third and finally we need government to connect the dots between regulatory, legislative and practice changes and the impact to hospitals.Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.
Dec 22, 2017 | Leadership
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