Sanctuary from Stroke

Posted: Tuesday, 20 February 2018

HGMH's stroke rehabilitation unit kick starts lifelong recovery closer to home

A stroke is an event that can blindside a person, derail a life. Probably the only ones who can truly describe the experience are survivors. They're also the authority on what it takes to recover. In a new video created for the Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH), stroke rehab patient Bob McDuff shows how simple yet profound that experience can be when he says, "I've been here for two weeks. When I got here, I couldn't walk. I can walk now."

Established in 2010, HGMH's stroke rehab unit hosts six beds, typically at over 90 percent occupancy. The unit offers bilingual care led by hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Nadia Kucherepa, with a team that includes a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a speech language pathologist, a rehab assistant, nursing staff, plus the other supports of the wider hospital.

Such a team can be crucial for recovery, says Dr. Kucherepa. "Having a stroke is life changing and overwhelming. The environment in which you recover and rehabilitate really matters. Patients need a routine, stability of staff and trust in those caring for them so that they can begin to process their journey to recovery," she says, adding that HGMH's rehab unit is ideally situated to serve many local communities, allowing patients to recover closer to their homes and families.

Since patients are often overcome by this traumatic event, their journey in rehab starts with a detailed assessment, goal setting, a treatment plan, a family meeting and much more that forges a pathway towards recovery. Programs are tailored to the impairments the stroke has left: for patients like McDuff, that means learning to walk. For others, it might mean learning strategies to deal with vision loss. Others may need to learn to dress themselves with one hand, or to use adaptive devices in the kitchen, or to simply transfer safely to the toilet.

Beyond the physical, other tools engage patients both socially and mentally. HGMH's therapy garden provides not only a source of organic food to the entire hospital, but a space for patients to reconnect with nature as they engage motor skills through tasks like planting and weeding. An activity room provides a space for painting, drawing, knitting and playing games. An iPad program offers not only therapeutic programs, but also a way for patients to keep in touch with their world outside the hospital, including email, news and loved ones through Skype. The unit even boasts a pet therapy program through St. John Ambulance, one of many local partners.

Rehab patient Jeff Alguire emphasizes the importance of that mental support in HGMH's new video. "The Glengarry Memorial Hospital brought me from a very low place. When I left here I was above my shoulders. I am very happy with what they've done for me. I'm very happy I came here because I now have a very positive outlook on life," he says. Connection continues even after a patient goes home, with a stroke support group that meets at the hospital and a therapy pool that offers exercise classes.

Gratitude like Alguire's is something that HGMH's stroke rehab team hears every day, not that it ever gets old. "I hear over and over from my patients that as soon as they walk into our hospital, the atmosphere is just more welcoming and personal," says Dr. Kucherepa. "We aren't a hustle and bustle kind of hospital. It's always the same doctor, the same nurses. You're not just a number here."

Chantal Mageau-Pinard, physiotherapist and manager of the rehab unit since its opening eight years ago, says that not everyone realizes that in spite of HGMH's smaller size, the rehab unit complies with the exact same standards required in a larger centre. "We've worked hard to get to where we are right now, from physician leadership to establishing benchmarks," says Mageau-Pinard.

Asked about her favourite aspects of the job, Mageau-Pinard says it's seeing patients achieve their goals. "I like to have the patients improve and move on. I love being able to be part of their successes, their challenges, to be part of a team that cares," she says. Stroke survivor Bob McDuff expresses appreciation for that team and facility on video. "It's outstanding in every way," he says.

HGMH CEO Announces Retirement

Posted: Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Dear Friends and Community Partners:

As you may be aware, Linda Morrow, our Chief Executive Officer, has announced that she will retire at the end of June 2018. 

In her 37 years as an employee of HGMH, Linda has held several roles at the hospital, from Registered Nurse to Chief Nursing Officer to CEO.  She has been an integral part of many improvements at HGMH, including the expansion of the Emergency and Ambulatory Care units, implementation of the Post-Acute Stroke Rehabilitation Program, and the addition of many new services such as ultrasound, bone densitometry, cardiac stress testing, cardiac ultrasound, and pulmonary function testing. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Linda for her hard work and dedication to HGMH.  Her departure will be a great loss to the organization, and she will certainly be missed. 

I am sure you will join me in wishing Linda all the best as she begins the next chapter of her life.   

Bruce Starkauskas

HGMH Awards Medical Student Bursary

Posted: Monday, 20 November 2017

The HGMH Board of Directors is pleased to award a bursary to medical student Brent Patterson.  Brent is from Williamstown and is currently attending the University of Toronto MD program.   He recently completed an elective rotation in family medicine with Dr. Lucie Lajoie at HGMH.  It is Brent's goal to return to the region to practice and provide medical care to the residents of SD&G after he graduates. 

Brent Patterson Medical Student Bursary

HGMH Welcomes New Family Doctors

Posted: Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Alexandria, Ontario, (September 26, 2017) –Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is pleased to welcome Dr. Sara Accardi and Dr. Joanne Lau to our community. Both doctors have set up new family medicine practices at the hospital, and each will also see patients in the hospital.

CEO Linda Morrow says the arrival of two new doctors will be a great boost for the hospital.

"On behalf of our hospital, I'm delighted to welcome Dr. Lau and Dr. Accardi to our community.  These two new family physicians will be a great benefit to the many patients in our region who do not have a doctor."

Dr. Accardi arrives at HGMH following a medical residency at the University of Ottawa, where she pursued medical work experience in locations from Atlanta, Georgia to Rochester, New York to Miami, Florida. She attended medical school at SABA University School of Medicine in the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba, south of St Maarten. As a doctor, she’s particularly interested in preventative health and women’s issues.  (Click here for a full profile on Dr. Accardi)

Dr. Lau completed her residency at Queen’s University, after a medical degree from the University of Ottawa. She says pursuing residencies in towns like Kingston, Peterborough, Belleville and Picton made her realize that she was interested in a community like Alexandria. “I enjoy working in smaller towns where family physicians can have a wide scope of practice,” she says. She’s also has a special interest in caring for elderly patients, which she hopes to continue in her practice at HGMH. (Click here for a full profile on Dr. Lau)

Both Lau and Accardi say they are eager to settle in a smaller community, and especially to start developing relationships with new patients and their families. “I'm looking forward to finally having my own patients that I can build a relationship with and who I'll see year after year,” says Accardi.

About Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital

Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is a patient-centred primary care hospital located in Alexandria, Ontario. We recently celebrated our fiftieth anniversary, and have grown to provide acute care, complex continuing care, 24-hour emergency services, and rehabilitation to over 23,000 residents every year. Our team includes 150 staff members, who all take pride in bringing quality health care to our local Eastern Ontario community.

For more information and media interviews:
Contact Name: Linda Morrow
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone number: 613.525.2222 x4104

Tim Hortons Alexandria again chooses HGMH as Smile Cookie charity

Posted: Monday, 11 September 2017

Alexandria, Ontario, (September 11, 2017) – We've got something to smile about this week! Once again, our local Tim Hortons Alexandria has chosen Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) as the recipient of the proceeds of its Smile Cookie campaign. For the week of September 11-17, this location will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the sales of its $1 Smile Cookies to HGMH. Last year the campaign raised $5,200 for the hospital, a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

"The Smile Cookie campaign has been successful year after year thanks to our loyal guests for their kindness and continued support," says Paul Burke, Tim Hortons Restaurant Owner in Alexandria, Dunvegan, Hawkesbury, Grenville. "We are honoured to support Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital with all of the proceeds raised and to share smiles with all of our dedicated guests. Stop by a restaurant this week and purchase your freshly baked Smile Cookie to support a great cause!"

"We'd like to thank our local Tim Hortons for choosing our hospital once more for this year's Smile Cookie campaign," says Linda Morrow, CEO of Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital.  "This is a great representation of community supporting community, and we truly appreciate it."

Started in 1996 as a fundraiser for the Hamilton Children's Hospital in Ontario, Tim Hortons now runs the Smile Cookie campaign annually as a fundraiser across Canada. Last year the effort raised over 7 million dollars for over 460 charities. Besides buying cookies from the restaurant directly, customers can also pre-order cookies using a special pre-order form.

Burke adds that there is good reason that he has always chosen HGMH to receive the Smile Cookie proceeds. "We are all very fortunate to have such a wonderful hospital at our disposal. As a business owner in a small community, it continues to be my honour to support such an esteemed group of professionals providing us all with the utmost care."

As with last year's campaign, customers can again share Smile Cookie Selfies with by posting photos to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SmileCookie.

About Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital

Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is a patient-centred primary care hospital located in Alexandria, Ontario. We recently celebrated our fiftieth anniversary, and have grown to provide acute care, complex continuing care, 24-hour emergency services, and rehabilitation to over 23,000 residents every year. Our team includes 150 staff members, who all take pride in bringing quality health care to our local Eastern Ontario community.

About Tim Hortons

TIM HORTONS®, part of Restaurant Brands International, is one of North America's largest restaurant chains operating in the quick service segment. Founded as a single location in Canada in 1964, TIM HORTONS® appeals to a broad range of consumer tastes, with a menu that includes premium coffee, hot and cold specialty drinks (including lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots), specialty teas and fruit smoothies, fresh baked goods, grilled Panini and classic sandwiches, wraps, soups, prepared foods and other food products. TIM HORTONS® has more than 4,600 system wide restaurants located in Canada, the United States and around the world. More information about the Company is available at

For more information and media interviews:
Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital
Linda Morrow
613-525-2222 ext. 4104

Patient Pager Trial a Success at HGMH

Posted: Friday, 21 July 2017

If you visited the HGMH Emergency Department in June, you may have noticed the patient pagers that were being tried out. Patients who receive a pager can go anywhere on the hospital's property without missing being called into the ER. The pagers beep, flash red lights, and vibrate, making them effective for everyone to use.

After the patient is called into the ER, they drop off the pager, and it is cleaned and disinfected before being put back in the charger to await another patient.

These pagers help patients feel more secure during their wait time in the ER, since they know they won't miss being called. They also improve confidentiality by eliminating the need to loudly call out patient names, and they make workflow for staff more efficient.

Patients who were part of the trial provided plenty of feedback to help the hospital evaluate the devices. One patient noted that the pager allowed her to pass the wait time with her young child by walking outside without having to worry about missing being called. Other patients who have difficulty with hearing their name being called said it was a relief to have the flashing and vibrating pager to catch their attention.

Now that the initial trial of the pagers is done, the hospital will be looking at expanding their use into clinic areas.

Celebrating with the Ottawa Heart Institute

Posted: Monday, 10 July 2017

HGMH celebrating with the Ottawa Heart Institute: 10 years of offering smoking cessation support to patients!

Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital is celebrating today ten years of partnership with the Ottawa Heart Institute's Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC). Since implementation of the OMSC at HGMH, an impressive 400 smokers have been reached through personalized, best practice tobacco dependence treatment, resulting in increased quit attempts and long-term cessation. An estimated 120 smokers are smoke-free as a result of the support they received while at HGMH.

In 2002, smoking cessation experts at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute developed the Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation-an institutional program that systematically identifies, provides treatment, and offers follow-up to patients who smoke as part of routine care. In 2006, UOHI began to assist other inpatient, outpatient and primary care settings to implement the OMSC. Implementation of the OMSC led to an absolute 11% increase in long-term quit rates among hospitalized patients (from 18% to 29% at 6 months). In eastern Ontario, nearly 100,000 smokers have been assisted through Ottawa Model programs, leading to ~25,000 people becoming smoke-free.

"Implementing the Ottawa Model at our hospital has fundamentally improved our relationship with patients who smoke," says HGMH CEO Linda Morrow. "We now have the tools, the system, and a real team approach to more effectively support smokers while they are admitted to hospital. Our Smoking Cessation Coordinator meets with every admitted patient who smokes to discuss options for helping with any nicotine withdrawal they may be experiencing as well as supporting those patients who are ready to quit smoking for good."

"The success behind the Ottawa Model for Smoking cessation is truly found in the determined teams across Canada, like here in Alexandria, that are providing personalized support to smokers who are trying to quit," said Dr. Andrew Pipe, co-developer of the OMSC and Canada's foremost expert on smoking cessation. "As all hospital grounds in Ontario will be required to be smoke-free by January 2018, helping patients deal with nicotine withdrawal when they are admitted and stay smoke-free when they leave will remain an important priority for hospitals in our region."

About Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital

Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is a patient-centred primary care hospital located in Alexandria, Ontario. We recently celebrated our fiftieth anniversary, and have grown to provide acute care, complex continuing care, 24-hour emergency services, and rehabilitation to over 23,000 residents every year. Our team includes 150 staff members, who all take pride in bringing quality health care to our local Eastern Ontario community.

About the University of Ottawa Heart Institute

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada's largest and foremost heart health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing heart disease. UOHI delivers high-tech care with a personal touch, shapes the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced and revolutionizes cardiac treatment and understanding. It builds knowledge through research and translates discoveries into advanced care. UOHI serves the local, national and international community, and is pioneering a new era in heart health.

Celebrating with the Ottawa Heart Institute

Board Members for 2017-2018

Posted: Tuesday, 20 June 2017

HGMH is pleased to announce its 2017-2018 Board of Directors, as elected at the annual general meeting on June 19, 2017. We're looking forward to another exemplary year.

2017-2018 Board

Front row: Past Chair Jacqueline Fraser, Lise Cardinal, CEO Linda Morrow, VP Support Services and CFO Linda Ramsay

Middle row: Richard Lalonde, VP Clinical Services and CNO Shelley Coleman, Robin Flockton, Eunice Lee, Chair Bruce Starkauskas, Treasurer Frank Wetering

Back row: Chief of Staff Dr. Nadia Kucherepa, Corey Kalsi, Carole Taylor, Vice-Chair Blair Thompson

Absent: Matthew MacLean

Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital Annual Report highlights accreditation, new construction, and new doctors

Posted: Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Alexandria, Ontario, (June 20, 2017) -Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) held its annual general meeting yesterday and shared highlights of several accomplishments from the past year. Those successes include exemplary status from Accreditation Canada, the completion of much-needed upgrades and construction projects, and the news that two new doctors will be joining the HGMH team this fall.

HGMH announced its "exemplary" accreditation-the highest level awarded-in March, the result of several months of effort by the entire hospital team. Accreditation focuses on everything from organizational aspects like governance and leadership to hospital protocols on infection prevention, and emergency department services.

"Receiving an Accreditation with Exemplary Standing has been a huge achievement for our hospital this year. The accreditation survey takes place every four years, but the work to meet and maintain quality standards is ongoing. It really is a testament to the outstanding work our staff do every day to provide the best possible care to our patients," says HGMH CEO Linda Morrow. A celebration of this achievement is planned for the summer.

New upgrades and renovations over the past year give us further reason to cheer. This year saw the addition of three doctors' offices to the building, an expansion of our rehabilitation treatment space, and a renovation of the nurses' station. We are particularly grateful when the community supports our renovation efforts; for example, this year a generous donation in memory of Peter Bellware allowed us to replace all the tables and chairs in our cafeteria.

Finally, our people are our greatest strength, so HGMH is pleased to welcome new physicians Dr. Sara Accardi and Dr. Joanne Lau, who will be opening their family practice offices onsite in the newly constructed area in September 2017. "Hundreds of patients in our region are currently looking for a family physician, so we're very pleased we've been successful in recruiting two new family doctors who will be joining our team. These new doctors will also provide care to our admitted patients and have the option to take shifts in our Emergency Department," says Dr. Nadia Kucherepa, HGMH's Chief of Staff.

Our annual reports are available on our website under "Corporate Reports".

About Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital

Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) is a patient-centred primary care hospital located in Alexandria, Ontario. We recently celebrated our fiftieth anniversary, and have grown to provide acute care, complex continuing care, 24-hour emergency services, and rehabilitation to over 23,000 residents every year. Our team includes 150 staff members, who all take pride in bringing quality health care to our local Eastern Ontario community.

For more information and media interviews:

Contact Name: Linda Morrow
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone number: 613.525.2222 x4104

Notice: 2017 Annual General Meeting

Posted: Thursday, 1 June 2017

Notice: Annual Meeting of the Corporation of Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital

Monday, June 19, 2017 AT 7:00pm in the HGMH Courtyard

Business to be transacted:

  1. Presentation of the Annual Report;
  2. Report of the Auditor;
  3. Bylaw Amendments;
  4. Election of Directors; and
  5. Appointment of an Auditor.

All members of the Corporation and general public are invited to attend

Only members are entitled to vote. A document detailing the changes being proposed to the By-laws is available here.

HGMH Celebrates Nursing Week

Posted: Monday, 8 May 2017

It's the first day of national Nursing Week and the Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) community is eager to celebrate the 37 Registered Nurses (RNs), 28 Registered Practical Nurses (RPN), and 7 Personal Support Workers (PSW) whose care and dedication are at the heart of our hospital.

Hospital CEO Linda Morrow says Nursing Week, held each May to coincide with the birth of Florence Nightingale (the founder of modern nursing), is a great way to recognize the important work that nurses do every day. "I'm proud to take the opportunity presented by Nursing Week to salute our HGMH nursing staff. They work diligently to provide outstanding care to our patients, exemplifying our values of integrity, respect, quality and safety, compassion, and working together," she says.

HGMH has several activities planned for Nursing Week, from a coffee day (with refreshments donated by physicians) to a vendor night featuring nursing supplies to a night out at a local pizza place.

Shelley Coleman, HGMH's VP of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer, says she wants to recognize nursing staff at all levels and celebrate the ways they work together. "We're all one team. From the PSWs to the RPNs to the RNs to the nursing supervisors and management, we're all trying to provide the safest and highest quality of care for our patients," she says.

Dale Eastwood, an RPN in the Medicine and Rehabilitation units and the hospital's health and safety/wellness coordinator, says that the sense of community among all nursing staff is one reason she enjoys working at HGMH. "The nurses I work with at HGMH have provided me with a safe and receptive learning environment. In conjunction with my classroom education, I've learned by being attentive, by listening, by asking questions and by watching RNs and physicians," she says.

Eastwood adds that recognition of Nursing Week, or even the everyday thanks she hears from patients and their families, makes a challenging job even more worthwhile. "Nursing isn't for the faint of heart. It's emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically exhausting," says Eastwood. "When a patient or their family recognizes that you have tried to help them, it's a wonderful feeling that lingers with you for a long time."

She also says she's looking forward to the celebrations of the week ahead. "Nursing Week allows us to come together out of uniform and off the units, just to enjoy each other's company. If you see a large group of people between May 8th and 14th having lunch or supper in Alexandria and they are loud and laughing hysterically, they just may be in the nursing profession."

Nursing Week

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