Community Support Services Newsletter

Click here to check out the latest edition of the Community Support Services Client Newsletter!

Worried about your loved-one lying on the floor for an extended period or having a slip or fall in or out of the home?  HELPLINE is your local Personal Emergency Response experts and with over 25 years experience in the emergency response business, we have you protected 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

If you require further information about the programs or services offered by CSS, please contact Darlene Wilkins, CSS Manager at

Corporate Memberships are now available

Corporate memberships for the 2017/2018 year are now available.  Please click here for the form or they are available at any of the following locations:

  • Blind River Site — Admitting Desk
  • Thessalon Site — Front Entrance
  • Matthews Memorial Site — Front Entrance

The Membership fee is $1.00. A person is eligible to be an annual member when at the time of payment the person must:

Be at least eighteen (18) years of age;

Have been a resident of the greater area which is served by the North Shore Health Network from and including Spanish to the east and including the Township of Macdonald, Meredith & Aberdeen to the west for a continuous period of at least three months immediately prior thereto,


Be employed or carry on business in the area described.

All Corporate Memberships for 2017/2018 must be purchased by 12:00 pm Friday, May 12, 2017.

The Annual General Meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

For additional information please contact 705-356-2265 ext. 2601.

Invitation to join the Board of Trustees

Volunteer opportunity - apply today!

Do you have a strong vision for rural health care and know which direction it should be heading?

The North Shore Health Network is inviting candidates to apply to be members of the Board of Trustees. The following skill areas have been identified as the focus for 2017-2018:

  • Clinical Experience
  • Accounting
  • Legal Expertise
  • Public Affairs and Communication
  • Construction & Project Management

If you possess one (1) or more of these skills please apply today!  For an application package please click here or they are available at any of the following locations:

  • Blind River Site - Admitting Desk
  • Thessalon Site - Front Entrance
  • Matthews Memorial Site - Front Entrance

Please return completed application packages no later than 4:00 pm on Monday, May 1, 2017.

All vacancies will be filled by vote at the upcoming Annual General Meeting to take place Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

Blind River Site Welcomes Virtual Critical Care!

Access to the VCC team will be an integral component of the Blind River District Health Centre’s patient-centered care model. Not only will this benefit our patients, but it will also reduce the professional isolation often encountered by health providers in rural settings. Our doctors and nurses are enthusiastic that the use of VCC will assist in bridging this gap through technology,” says Gaston Lavigne, CEO of Blind River District Health Centre.

Virtual Critical Care Expands To Seven New Hospitals

 SUDBURY, ON –  Seven more hospitals in northeastern Ontario have been added to the Virtual Critical Care (VCC) Unit at Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord (HSN) in Greater Sudbury.

 Joining the VCC model are the Emergency Departments at Espanola Regional Hospital and Health Centre, Manitoulin Health Centre (Little Current and Mindemoya sites), Blind River District Health Centre, Services de santé de Chapleau Health Services, Hôpital de Mattawa Hospital, and Lady Dunn Health Centre in Wawa.

 The addition of the seven new sites brings to 16 the number of hospitals in northeastern Ontario using Virtual Critical Care. The VCC Unit, supported by the North East Local Health Integration Network and launched in May of 2014, is the first virtual critical care model of its kind in Canada.

 Virtual Critical Care uses the latest in videoconferencing technology and electronic medical records sharing to connect HSN with smaller Critical Care units and Emergency Departments at hospitals across northeastern Ontario.  The VCC model uses a specially designed software program created by the Ontario Telemedicine Network.

 Under the VCC model, a team of Intensive Care physicians, specially trained nurses and ICU respiratory therapists based at HSN are available for around-the-clock consultations for critically ill patients at participating hospitals. Other allied health professionals such as dietitians and pharmacists are also available for consultation during scheduled hours.

 The goal of VCC is to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of critically ill patients across northeastern Ontario, and potentially avoid the transfer of patients out of their local hospitals, away from their families and support systems.

 Since its introduction, the VCC unit has been used for a total of 207 consults involving 62 patients. Consultations through the VCC allowed health care professionals to avoid medical transfers for 26 of those patients, at an estimated savings of approximately $450,000.

Registered Nurse and virtual critical care team member Diane Whalen demonstrates a Virtual Critical Care consult. (HSN) 

BRDHC Receives Highest Accreditation Standard

In early June, the Blind River District Health Centre Corporation received the distinction of “Accredited with Exemplary Standing” – the highest ranking issued by Accreditation Canada under its Qmentum program.

The Blind River, Thessalon, and Matthews Memorial sites all participated in this rigorous survey. 

“We’re standing proud!” says Gaston Lavigne, Chief Executive Officer. “In the past we’ve always had excellent results, however this is the first time we’ve received the highest commendation. Everyone in the organization – staff, physicians, volunteers, and board members – has truly dedicated himself and herself to providing exceptional safe and quality patient care. Clearly we’re seeing the results of that work.”

According to Accreditation Canada “Health care accreditation contributes to quality improvement and patient safety by enabling a health organization to regularly and consistently assess and improve its services.” Organizations in good standing typically go through this evaluation process once every four years. There are four possible decisions:

  • Not accredited
  • Accredited
  • Accredited with Commendation
  • Accredited with Exemplary Standing

Independent health experts are brought in to perform a meticulous evaluation of the hospital sites, examining all facets including leadership, governance, clinical services, and patient safety, just to name a few. In total, BRDHC was measured against 1,383 applicable standards, and met 1,369 – a success rate of 99%! All 45 Required Organizational Practices – or “must 
have” practices – were fully met.

The Accreditation Canada surveyor report highlighted BRDHC’s commitment to integration and its engagement with the Thessalon and Matthews Memorial hospital sites. The report further detailed evidence of BRDHC’s openness, collaboration, and commitment to its community partners.

“In a rural setting, strong relationships are almost essential for success” says Lavigne. “We’re very pleased that our commitment to our partners is evident and was reflected in our results.”
BRDHC has been accredited for a four-year period.

The next evaluation cycle will take place in 2018.

2014-15 Board of Trustees

The Blind River District Health Centre has some new faces joining its Board of Trustees. Erik Jokinen, Cameron Ross, and Lucy Ann Trudeau were elected by acclamation during BRDHC’s Annual General Meeting. Guy Clement and Bruce Ibbitson were both reelected to the Board and will continue for a 3 year term as Trustees. The Annual General Meeting took place 
June 17th 2014 in the community of Thessalon.

During the application phase, the Board had identified a need for experts in several areas including financial expertise, risk management, and clinical experience. Each elected Trustee brings with them a unique set of skills that helped to fill those needs. 

Erik Jokinen brought with him an accounting and financial background, as well as previous governance experience. Cameron Ross has formal education in Risk Management. Lucy Ann Trudeau brings experience in health services planning with particular emphasis on health needs of aboriginal communities. Bruce Ibbitson has a background in project management and human resources. Finally, Guy Clement has expertise in information technology, as well as a cultural understanding of the Francophone community and several years of experience on the Board of Trustees.

Governance for hospital boards has been changing in recent years, with more emphasis placed on the skills make-up of its members. “It’s important to have Trustees with a variety of experience and expertise” says Gaston Lavigne, CEO of the Blind River District Health Centre. “If half of your board is made up of accountants, you might have a lot of knowledge on finance, but more than likely you’ll be missing knowledge in other areas such as human resources and recruitment. All of the different skills help the Board make more informed decisions and produce better results.”

Also new to the Board of Trustees is Dr. Marc Bradford in the role of Chief of Staff, following the resignation of Dr. Chris Barnes from the position. Trustee Donna Latulippe has been elected to the role of 2nd Vice-Chair, while Trustees Wolf Kirchmeir and Roger Boyer II will continue to serve in their roles of Chair and 1st Vice-Chair, respectively.