Welcome to the Heartland Health Region!
The region’s largest urban centre is Kindersley, with a population of 5,349. Other major centres include Rosetown (3,095); Unity (3,067); Biggar (3,021); and Outlook (2,838).
West Africa is experiencing an outbreak of Ebola virus disease, a rare and serious viral infection. Health officials in Saskatchewan are monitoring the situation, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other Canadian provinces, and the World Health Organization. Preparedness plans are underway in Canada to facilitate prompt identification and prevention of the spread of serious infectious diseases like Ebola virus disease.
The risk of Ebola in Canada is really very low; however, it is not zero, and it is being taken very seriously. We understand the anxiety that this developing situation may cause. Ebola does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread from touching bodily fluids of a person who is sick with, or has died from the disease, or from exposure to contaminated objects, such as needles. This has been a priority for the health system for some time. The Ministry and health regions have been working on this since August with the goal of identifying potential cases as early as possible. They are learning from the experiences of others and refining their own plans and approach.
Heartland Health region, other health regions, the Ministry of Health and system partners are working cooperatively to make sure we all prepare appropriately, even for this low risk. Supplies of materials have been reviewed and further materials ordered, and plans are being made to train staff as appropriate. The Ministry Of Health is also in contact with physicians, health provider regulatory bodies and health provider unions on this issue.
If you have recently travelled to Africa and develop fever or other symptoms of illness within three weeks of return to Canada, call Healthline at 811 for further advice. If Healthline advises you to seek medical help, call ahead and let your health care provider know that you have travelled to a country where Ebola virus is present.
Detailed information has been developed and it is available on the Ministry of Health website at www.health.gov.sk.ca/ebola. Members of the public can also call HealthLine 811 for information.
Further information is available from the Public Health Agency at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/vhf-fvh/ebola-eng.php or http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/
Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to check the Travel Health Notice on the Ebola outbreak at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/notices-avis/notices-avis-eng.php?id=125
There are currently no outbreaks in the Heartland Health Region. Please do not visit our facilities if you are ill. We need to remain vigilant in preventing infections in our facilities and communities.
Hand hygiene remains a key practice in the prevention of illness and outbreaks. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, particularly before and after patient/client care, washroom use, blowing your nose, and after touching surfaces.
Important Information about Service Disruptions in
Heartland Health Region
Due to the inability to maintain constant 24-hour on-call coverage by physicians in some areas of the Heartland Health Region, there may be several service disruptions in various communities over the next several months. The region continues to work with the local physician recruitment committees and the Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan (PRAS) to fill the vacant positions currently in our region.
If a client happens to present at an emergency department that is currently having a service disruption, they will be assessed by a Registered Nurse (RN) and triaged according to their needs. The triaging RN also has the support of an on-call physician at a neighbouring site should they require direction from a physician. An on-call physician at an alternate site is always available during local service disruptions. After assessment the client may be directed to another facility for physician assessment and support, or may remain at the original receiving site.
Some important things to remember when visiting your local Health Centre:
We thank you for your assistance and cooperation during this time.
Current & Upcoming Disruptions in Heartland Health Region as at 9:00 a.m., January 16, 2015
Heartland Health Region
Date & Location of Authority Meetings
Members of the public are welcome to attend HRHA meetings which are generally held on the last Wednesday of every month. Board packages can be obtained from the Regional Corporate Office within a week of the meeting. Please call the office to arrange for printing and pick up.
The agenda for each Authority meeting can provide opportunity for community groups to make presentations to the Authority upon request. Presentations must be submitted in writing ten days prior to the Authority meeting, in order for the Authority to examine the issues.
For More Information Contact:
301 Centennial Drive
2015 Authority Meeting Schedule
We received Accredited Status in June 2013. To see the Accreditation Reports click here
Concerns? Compliments? Please let us know!
1-800-631-7686; or by email at Concerns@hrha.sk.ca.
News Around the Region
Respiratory Illness in Heartland Health Region
So far this season we have experienced respiratory outbreaks in Biggar, Outlook, Dinsmore and Kyle. The most recent outbreak which was in Kyle was lifted January 14th, 2015. All have been due to the Influenza A virus. There are many health care facilities and communities around the province in other regions that are currently also experiencing respiratory illness outbreaks mostly due to influenza. click here
GOVERNMENT ENDORSES 10-YEAR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS ACTION PLAN
There has been a news release posted to the Ministry of Health web site at:
Public Expected to Immunize or Mask in Healthcare Facilities
Starting December 1, 2014 if you haven’t already been immunized this fall against seasonal influenza (the flu), you will be expected to wear a mask when you enter Heartland Health Region (HHR) facilities and sites where patient care and service is provided. If you are not immunized against the flu, you will have to keep wearing a mask in patient care and service locations until April 3, 2015 – the approximate end of the annual influenza season. click here
Seasonal Influenza Immunizations to Begin in October
Influenza season is approaching and the Heartland Health Region is encouraging the public to get their influenza immunization this fall and to do so early in the season to ensure they have access to vaccine. Getting your flu shot has never been easier. The Heartland Health Region is providing many influenza immunization clinics in many different communities this season. click here
World Breastfeeding Week
Heartland Health Region is pleased to promote World Breastfeeding Week; celebrated each year in the first week of October. The 2014 theme is BREASTFEEDING: A Winning Goal - For Life! click here
Strains of Enterovirus Begin to Circulate in Canada
Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is one of about a hundred in a group of viruses called enteroviruses. This virus was first identified in California in 1962, but it has not been commonly seen. When they do cause illness, we usually see the symptoms as what we commonly know as the common cold. click here
JOINT PRESS RELEASE WITH THE TOWN OF KINDERSLEY
Kindersley Health Service Needs Assessment
A formal agreement has been signed between the Heartland Health Region and the Town of Kindersley engaging the services of Western Management Consultants to assess the every-day primary health care services and needs of Kindersley and area residents. Kindersley is a growing community. It has experienced steady population growth over the past five years, with this trend anticipated to continue in coming years. Ensuring adequate primary health care capacity for the people of this area is an important priority. click here
West Nile Virus Positive Mosquitoes now Circulating in the Province
The Ministry of Health’s mosquito monitoring program has confirmed the presence of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus in Saskatchewan. This confirmation, coupled with a human case of West Nile Virus in a neighboring health region, is an important reminder to take extra precautions against mosquito bites over the next weeks. click here
Telehealth Program Looking for Volunteers
The Heartland Health Region is recruiting volunteers to assist with the regional Telehealth program. Telehealth Saskatchewan is a Ministry of Health initiative to link urban and rural areas around the province. The system is accessible for meetings, education sessions, and clinical applications such as appointments with health care providers. Volunteers are being sought to assist with the support of public education events in our Heartland Telehealth sites. click here
Region Releases Annual Report for 2013-14
Heartland Health Region has had many successes in achieving its goals of Better Health, Better Care, Better Teams, and Better Value. A detailed look at these successes plus a review of the Region’s strategies, targets, actions, challenges, and results is available in Heartland Health Region’s 2013-14 Annual Report, which also contains the Region’s audited financial statements. The report was released on July 28th following tabling of the document with the Saskatchewan Legislature.
The region is committed to accountability and transparency, and is pleased to provide this report to the residents of Heartland Health Region and the general public. The region is proud of the strides made over the past year toward improving patient care and safety throughout Heartland Health. Our dedicated team of health professionals in all departments, facilities, communities, and capacities deserves the credit for this success, and we look forward to maintaining that momentum through the year ahead. click here
Update on Gastrointestinal Illness outbreak in Heartland Health Region
Heartland Health Region continues to investigate gastro-intestinal illnesses in the Outlook Area. Nine persons were affected with food borne illness, 4 already confirmed with Salmonella enteritidis bacteria. click here
Gastrointestinal Illness in Heartland Health Region
Heartland Health Region is investigating gastrointestinal illnesses in the Outlook Area between June 10th and June 29th, 2014. So far twelve persons with gastrointestinal illness from Outlook and the surrounding area have been identified. click here
SIPPA Regional Release
Access to physician care continues to improve for Saskatchewan residents. A new family physician is now practicing in Unity thanks to the Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA) program. Dr. Dhillon (Unity) joins many other International Medical Graduate (IMG) colleagues already practicing in Saskatchewan. click here
Animal and Insect Safety
As we move into warmer weather, there is a lot more outdoor activity, and as a result, a lot more contact potential between animals and humans. With this comes the enhanced risk of possible exposure and illness. click here
Heartland Regional Health Authority Approves Operational Plan
The Heartland Regional Health Authority (HRHA) approved a balanced operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year at its meeting on June 5th, 2014 in Davidson. The Board also approved the 2014-15 operational plan. The Operational Plan and budget are aligned with the 2014-15 Provincial Health System Plan and the corresponding strategic priorities for the region. click here
Heartland Recognizes Hunger Awareness Week
Grand Opening event Planned for New Rosetown and District Health Centre Long Term Care
May 2, 2014 at 2:30 pm click here for more information
Hantavirus Precautions as Spring Cleaning Season Starts
As the weather starts warming up, farmers, cabin owners, gardeners and other community members will soon be going in to buildings (including cabins and sheds), wood piles, vehicles, and other storage spaces, that have not been used since the fall. Unfortunately, mice may have contaminated these areas. Urine, saliva and droppings from infected rodents like deer mice can contain Hantavirus.
Hantavirus is a rare but serious disease that is spread through rodent urine, saliva, or feces. In Saskatchewan, there have been 26 Hantavirus cases since 1994, eight of which resulted in death. Last year the two cases reported in the Heartland Health Region both resulted in death. click here
Joint Press Release with the Town of Kindersley
Review of the Health Service Needs of Residents in Kindersley
The Town of Kindersley, the Heartland Regional Health Authority, and the Ministry of Health have entered into an agreement to conduct a review of the health service needs of residents in Kindersley and the surrounding area. In view of heightened economic activity in the area and the potential for population growth, its location, and the complexity of stakeholder relationships in healthcare the parties want to ensure a sustainable and stable model for primary care delivery now and into the future. Western Management Consultants from Edmonton have been selected to conduct the review. The group has done similar work in other Saskatchewan communities. click here
Rosetown Long Term Care Residents Move Planned for late March
Long term care residents living in the Rosetown Nursing Wing and the Wheatbelt Centennial Lodge will soon move into their new homes at the Rosetown and District Health Centre Long Term Care Home. click here
Reducing Radon in Your Home
Have you had a radon test for your home? If your radon level is high, do you know how to lower it? It is easy and affordable to reduce the amount of radon in your home in most cases. Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium, and seeps through the soil into your basement. Radon is radioactive, and causes lung cancer with long-term exposure.
Radon gas and smoking further increase your risk of lung cancer. If you are a lifelong smoker your risk of getting lung cancer is 1 in 10. If you add long term exposure to a high level of radon, your risk becomes 1 in 3. But if you are a non-smoker, your lifetime lung cancer risk at the same high radon level is 1 in 20.
Radon can enter any home, regardless of its age. It is not possible to predict how much radon is in your home. The level varies from house to house, and builds up in the winter.
Heartland Health Region has elevated levels of radon, throughout the whole region. All communities will have some houses that have elevated levels of radon, and two houses next to each other can have vastly different radon levels.
Weeping tile is a good collector of radon gas when the soil is dry. You can also use your weeping tile to prevent radon from entering your house. With this solution, a pipe is installed from a sealed sump pit in the basement through an outside wall with a small fan attached. The fan draws the radon from around the house to the outside before it can enter your home. This system can reduce the radon level in a home by over 90%. If you have a crawl space or cracked basement walls or floors, you can cover the floor and walls with plastic sheeting and exhaust this space. To prevent radon from entering your home through the weeping tile or basement, contact your Public Health Officer for advice.
The higher your radon test result, the sooner you should take action to reduce your exposure. If you have had a high radon test result in the past, contact Vanessa Amy, Public Health Officer at 306-882-2672 ext. 2288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss some options to lower the level of radon in your home click here for the Public Health Website information on Radon.
SASKATCHEWAN EXPANDING ACCESS TO FLU VACCINE
A large segment of Saskatchewan’s population will again have access to influenza immunizations, following the arrival of a shipment of FluMist vaccine.
As of Wednesday, Saskatchewan is expanding availability of vaccine to all people between two and 59 years of age who are eligible to receive FluMist. The province has received a shipment of 107,000 doses of FluMist nasal vaccine, confirmed it is in good order, and begun the process of distributing it to health regions.
Saskatchewan’s remaining supplies of injectable vaccine are being reserved for infants, pregnant women and persons with compromised immune systems. Injectable vaccine will also now be made available to residents 60 and over, supplies permitting. More injectable vaccine is expected in early February, and will be used for persons who are unable to get vaccinated with FluMist.
“We encourage Saskatchewan people to be vaccinated to protect themselves from illness due to influenza,” Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Denise Werker said. “Our goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”
FluMist contains the same influenza strains as other flu vaccines used in the northern hemisphere this influenza season, including the H1N1 strain. It is licensed for use in Canada for people from two to 59 years of age.
It is not recommended for children under two, pregnant women and people who are immune-compromised. FluMist is also not recommended for health care workers who provide care to patients with severe immune-compromised conditions who require hospitalization in a protective environment.
Residents can check health region websites or call HealthLine 811 to find out when and where vaccinations will be available locally. Health regions will offer vaccinations by appointment or on a drop-in basis, depending on operational needs.
For information on influenza, symptoms and self-care, call HealthLine 811 or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/flu.
Important Update about Influenza and Vaccinations from the Ministry of Health
January 10, 2014 Influenza Update (data up to January 10, 2014) Ministry of Health - Saskatchewan Update
For more information click on the links below:
Ministry of Health - http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/influenza-flu
Saskatchewan.ca - http://www.saskatchewan.ca/live/health-and-healthy-living/prevention-and-treatment/flu-information (this is the new Govt website).
H1N1 Circulating as Predominant Flu Strain
Influenza activity has been witnessed in many parts of the country this year, including Saskatchewan, and health officials have identified the predominant strain currently circulating to be H1N1. The H1N1 strain created a pandemic situation in 2009 and is continuing to experience heightened activity this Influenza season. This year’s Influenza shot protects against H1N1 and other viruses. click here
It’s InFLUenza Season – Plan to Get Immunized
Immunizations are the best way to protect yourself, your family, and those around you from influenza. The Heartland Health Region kicked off its seasonal influenza immunization campaign on Monday, October 21st.
Vaccine is available to all Saskatchewan residents at no cost and anyone can attend any of the available public clinics to receive their immunization. Everyone is encouraged to receive their seasonal influenza vaccinations to help prevent the spread of the virus to others, particularly those with weakened immune systems. click here
World Breastfeeding Week 2013
World breastfeeding week runs October 1st -7th in Canada. This week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). The theme this year is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers. click here
SASKATCHEWAN’S HEALTHLINE NUMBER CHANGING TO 811
The Government of Saskatchewan is making access to 24/7 health advice easier by changing the province’s HealthLine number to 811. “People can now access HealthLine for professional health advice any time, by simply dialing 811 from anywhere in the province,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “HealthLine is a key part of our primary health care strategy to improve access to health services and I encourage Saskatchewan residents to take advantage of this valuable resource.”
Saskatchewan joins several other jurisdictions across the country in using 811 for its confidential health information and support telephone line. The old 10-digit HealthLine number (1-877-800-0002) will continue to work for a minimum of two years to ensure uninterrupted access to the service. HealthLine services are available free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are offered in English, with translation in more than 100 languages. “Anyone with a health question or concern can call HealthLine,” HealthLine Director Roberta Wiest said. “We have an experienced and specially-trained staff, who can help callers make decisions about their health care options in a safe and confidential manner.”
HealthLine is staffed by Registered Nurses who assess callers’ symptoms and provide them with the most appropriate health support or information. Specially-trained social workers are also available to provide mental health and addictions crisis support.
HealthLine, which is operated by the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region for all Saskatchewan residents, answers an average of 5,800 calls per month. More information on HealthLine is available at www.health.gov.sk.ca/healthline. People can also find health information and advice online at www.healthlineonline.ca. HealthLine Online also offers interactive health tools and decision aids to help people make informed health decisions.