By DONNA McMILLAN
Port Dover area resident Beth Snowden joined the Norfolk General Hospital Board of Directors in 2004 and just became Chair of the Board at its recent AGM
She started her medical career as a nurse after graduating from the Hamilton & District School of Nursing and later taking additional courses at McMaster University. The grandmother of five worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital, as a freelance health care professional, as a consultant and served as Chair of the District Health Council until 2002 when LHINs were created.
With her background in nursing care, it should come as no surprise that quality of care and compassion are high on her list of values for the 106 bed Simcoe based institution.
Under the leadership of hospital President Kelly Isfan, and in consultation with patients, staff and the community, the Board has approved its “Mission and Values” with Accountability, Compassion, Collaboration, Empowerment, Respect and Excellence establishing guiding principles for the next five years. And, this message is splashed boldly on hospital walls and elevator doors for all to see.
“Everyone needs to know our Mission and Values”, Beth told the Maple Leaf on a recent walk around the hospital. “We are trying to be very open”. “With my background in nursing, quality care is important. And, if a procedure can’t be done here, we need to get patients where they need to go and then repatriate them back to NGH for convalescence”, she said.
She noted the hospital has great networking links to Hamilton Health Sciences and with the Local Health Integration Network. They have dovetailed their Strategic Plan with that of the Ministry and the LHIN.
One of the biggest challenges for the Board and its 12 Directors is always funding. “We have an old plant facility (parts of the hospital date back to 1928 and the 1940s) so it is hard to find efficiencies with heat, water and electricity”, Beth said.
Likening the building to a house, she noted there is a need to keep up with maintenance in order to ensure patient comfort. “It’s a struggle”. Needless to say, the hospital has a Capital Equipment Wish List.
Beth mentioned the hospital is very pleased with its purchase of a state of the art CT Scanner five years ago. “It’s a gem we are blessed to have”, she said and wonders how it will be replaced when the time comes. No Ministry dollars can go to capital equipment, she told the Maple Leaf. It is working 24/7 right now.
The bright and spacious ER waiting area is another busy place 24/7 year round. NGH has 28,000 to 29,000 ER visits in a year, Beth said. And, they work very hard at keeping the wait times down. If the hospital hits the 30,000 visits mark, they are eligible for greater funding from the Ministry. She noted ER visiting physicians have commented on the greater level of sickness of patients they see at NGH.
The hospital also runs a number of preventative programs such as a Diabetic Program and Continence Program. A CCAC case worker works in the ER five days a week to help fragile people, who don’t need the hospital, to get the care they need, Beth said. And they have worked with the Migrant Worker Centre to ensure translators and support for temporary workers who may not speak or understand English.
Beth also mentioned NGH is “good at providing End of Life Care”. Her own Nanticoke in-laws received excellent end of life care at the hospital, she added.
The NGH Mission is to relieve illnesses and suffering and to help people live healthier lives and Beth Snowden is committed to the fullest to ensure that happens.