NSHN LTC Gardens Are Blooming!


A very special “thank you” to Cameco for choosing Golden Birches Terrace to be one of the establishments to celebrate Appreciation Day!  Cameco team members provided us with many annuals, doing pruning, painting and overall final clean up at our front entrance. Thank you for your ongoing support and hard work.

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our sincerest thanks to all those who generously donated time, effort and monetary donations towards the beautification of our Long Term Care Gardens (Golden Birches Terrace); Marcella Kenty, Claude Paquette, Cassandra Ciotka, Andrea Rainville, Darlene Wilkins, Romeo Francoeur, Lisa High, Family Council, Club Richelieu and the Rotary Club.

It is special people who help to make our facility a home. We welcome one and all to come and see the lovely outcome of all this hard work!

NSHN Annual Staff Appreciation BBQ


Thank you to everyone who participated in the Annual Staff Appreciation BBQ held in the Cafeteria at the Blind River Site on Thursday July 5, 2018.

Approximately 60+ staff members enjoyed a steak dinner with all the fixings. A BIG thank you to Donna Latulippe, Chair, Alex Solomon, 2nd Vice Chair, Sharon MacKinnon, and Julie Chenard-Azzi who flipped steaks on the BBQs on behalf of the NSHN Board of Trustees. We received a note from a steak lover that it was one GREAT steak! Also, thank you to the Food Services staff who cooked up all the sides (and had to stay for clean-up).

This year, we turned the Cafeteria into a Bingo Hall for a highly competitive 4 rounds of Team Bingo. Teams competed for a variety of prizes in each round and you could hear a pin drop while waiting for the next number to be called. The team to spell N-S-H-N in the final round all walked away with $25 Amazon Gift Cards.

The Staff Club would like to thank Lisa High, CEO, for taking on the role as our Bingo Caller. We know she wasn’t quite sure what she was getting herself into, but she was a great sport.

The Staff Club would like to extend our appreciation to NSHN for continuing to support the Annual Staff BBQ, and encourage those who weren’t able to attend this year to consider joining us in 2019. If you have any suggestions for games, food or anything else you would like to see next year, please do not hesitate to contact: Melanie Kubatlija, Jaimee Elmore, Julie Woods, or Andrea Smith.

Thank you for the laughter, until next year

NSHN Staff Club

Introducing the 2018-2019 Board of Trustees

The Annual General Meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on the evening of June 19th, 2018. We would like to introduce our 2018-2019 NSHN Board of Trustees:


(Standing L-R)

Mr. Jack Cruickshank; Mrs. Sharon MacKinnon; Mr. Bruce Harten; Mr. Peter Cavanagh; Mrs. Lucy Ann Trudeau; Mr. Guy Clément; Mr. Chris Astles; Mr. Marcel Denis; Mrs. Julie Chenard Azzi

(Sitting L-R)

Mr. John Frederick, 1st Vice Chair; Mrs. Donna Latulippe, Chairperson; Mr. Alex Solomon, 2nd Vice Chair 

Thank you for your time and dedication to the North Shore Health Network.


Our very own COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES, NSHN is hosting this amazing event!  

All proceeds will go towards subsidizing Meals on Wheels, Medical Transportation, Handi-Transit and the Hospice Visiting Program. 

Mark your calendar for Thursday, OCTOBER 12, 2017, at the Community Centre in Blind River.  Doors open at 5:00 PM.  Get your tickets early as seating is limited.  

CLICK HERE for the full details.

spaghetti dinner pic.jpg

Live entertainment, Bar Service, Silent Auction and a 50/50 Draw!!!

Take-out available between 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM.

If you wish to volunteer or donate an auction item please contact

Darlene Wilkins at Tel: 705-356-2265 Ext. 2455 or by email at:  dwilkins@nshn.care 

CLICK HERE for full details.

Blind River Site 25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

Tuesday, June 20th was the 25th Anniversary for the Blind River Site.  It marked the day patients were transitioned from the old hospital to this new site... still going strong!

Happy PSW Day - May 19, 2017

PSW's we salute you for going above and beyond for Acute Care, Long Term Care and Community Support Services - EXCELLENCE AT ITS BEST!

  • You make a difference 'every day' in the lives of people who are sick and disabled
  • You provide quality care
  • You bring peace of mind to not only the person under your care, but to family members and friends
  • You treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • You provide comfort when people are at their most vulnerable
  • You ensure people exercise their rights
  • You make "home" on Long Term Care feel like home
  • The list goes on and on....

THANK YOU for all your hard work, your dedication and for making a difference.  We are so proud of you and appreciate all that you do!  Keep up the great work!


New Chief Executive Officer (CEO)


We wish to thank Mr. Gaston Lavigne, our former Chief Executive Officer for his service and dedication to the NSHN for the past 15 ½ years.  Merci! 

In August 2001 Gaston began his extensive and accomplished career with the North Shore Health Network in the role of Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).  He was committed to ensuring the highest of standards in patient care and as such, in January 2006, Gaston accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  During this time Gaston exemplified leadership and support throughout the many health care challenges endured under his tenure.  Thank you Gaston, you have inspired us to accept and embrace challenges head on.

On January 31, 2017, Gaston retired to Manitoulin Island.  Please accept our heart-felt best wishes and farewell.


We would like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Lisa High RN, BScN, MN as our new Chief Executive Officer for the North Shore Health Network.  Lisa will be joining our team on May 16, 2017.

Lisa joins us from Chatham, Ontario.  With a BS in Nursing from the University of Windsor, a Masters of Nursing from the University of Windsor, a Diploma in Gerontology and certificates in Palliative and Critical Care, she brings a broad range of skills.

Lisa has over 17 years of health care management experience as well as other experience in the areas of Emergency Services, Nursing Education, and Long Term Care, to name a few.

Please join us in welcoming Lisa to the NSHN Team. 

Volunteers needed

Our volunteers are vital to our organization - they make a difference in people’s lives!  

Volunteering creates a lasting legacy that transforms the lives of the people who volunteer and of the people that benefit.  Please know that this important role does not go unnoticed.  Thank you for your compassion and your awareness, for seeing the need, and responding.

The NSHN is looking for volunteers in the following areas:

Medical Transportation Driver

  • Blind River, Iron Bridge, Thessalon, Spragge, Spanish

Income Tax Clinic

  • Blind River, Iron Bridge, Thessalon, Spanish area, Massey

Meals on Wheels Drivers 

  • Blind River


To become a volunteer please contact:

Darlene Wilkins, Manager - Community Support Service
North Shore Health Network
525 Causley Street, P.O. Box 970
Blind River, Ontario
P0R 1B0

Email:  dwilkins@nshn.care 

Tel:  705-356-2265 ext. 2455

Fax: 705-356-2574

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 dwilkins@nshn.care

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.