About Anna Nowak

BHB wishes everyone a safe and joyous Bermuda Day holiday weekend

Chief of Emergency Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke comments: “While we hope everyone enjoys the running, swimming and parade, for anyone in need of emergency or urgent healthcare services, we will be here.

“The KEMH Emergency Department is open 24 hours throughout the weekend for medical emergencies and if someone experiences a mental health crisis they can call BHB’s 24-hour mental health crisis hotline 239-1111 for advice. As a special reminder, if an individual experiences stroke symptoms, they must come in immediately or call 911. Do not wait to see if symptoms resolve or think you can wait. A full recovery following a stroke can depend on you getting treatment in time. We see up to five stroke victims a week and time is often the most important deciding factor on their outcome.

“The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will be open for its usual weekend hours, 9am to 9pm, on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May. It is not open on Friday 24 May. The UCC can help if you have an urgent, but not emergency healthcare need. There will be an x-ray service available, so if someone hurts their ankle or arm, for example, they can get their diagnostics in St David’s while the UCC is open.

“However, if your issue does not require an immediate healthcare response please remember that your family doctor is best placed to assist you. As your primary healthcare provider, they can advise, treat and refer you as necessary.

“Finally, look after yourself and ensure your family doesn’t get bad news this weekend by driving carefully and especially not taking drugs, drinking and driving. We cannot stress enough how important road safety is in preventing life-changing injuries and deaths. Please care for yourself and for all those in our community. Let’s enjoy this wonderful Bermuda holiday peacefully and safely.”

For details on stroke symptoms, remember the BE FAST acronym: If you experience a sudden issue with your Balance, Eyes (vision), Face (one side drooping), Arm or leg weakness or Speech problems, it’s Time you call 911. Watch this short video for more information or read the graphic below.

 

23 May 2024 Home Page, News

BHB’s MRI Temporarily Down

Wednesday 22 May 2024: Bermuda Hospitals Board’s MRI equipment is currently undergoing repairs. The parts for the repair and the engineer are due on island early next week. The MRI is not usually required for emergency diagnostics, but patients who have MRI tests that are time sensitive, can be referred to other providers.

All other patients will be rescheduled once the MRI is operational again. Expanded MRI hours will ensure the rescheduled patients are seen as soon as is possible. All other imaging service modalities are working as usual.

We apologise for the inconvenience to our impacted patients and will provide an update when repairs are complete.

22 May 2024 News

Blood donation criteria now based on individual sexual activity

Tuesday 7 May 2024: Bermuda Hospitals Board today updated its blood donor eligibility criteria to include risk-based questions that will be the same for every individual, regardless of sexual orientation, sex or gender. These questions reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections, such as HIV.

The change brings Bermuda in line with blood donation criteria in the UK, Canada and the US.

Consultant Haematologist and Acting Chief of Pathology Dr Eyitayo Fakunle explains: “Our focus is always to ensure that our criteria maximise the safety of our blood supply. We test all our donated blood and we also defer donations from people who do not meet our criteria. Deferrals of higher-risk individuals and testing of all donated blood together give us the best protection overall.”

Prior to this change, the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre criteria had time-based deferrals specific to men who’d had sex with men (MSM) and women who’d had sex with MSM during the previous three months.

“These criteria didn’t address the sexual behaviour of all individuals, nor did they recognise that not everyone in one group has the same level of risk,” Dr Fakunle says. “The new questions will therefore be asked of all donors, irrespective of their sexual orientation.”

The new criteria will defer prospective donors who report having anal sex with a new sexual partner or more than one sexual partner of any gender in the past three months. People who are in monogamous relationships of three months or more will therefore not be deferred, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

Dr Fakunle adds: “We continue to use global research and evidence so that our blood donation criteria ensure safe transfusions for our patients. This is without doubt our most important priority in transfusion services.

“Criteria are updated when science indicates there is a more effective way to ensure safety. As a small jurisdiction, we closely follow the US and Canada specifically as we are accredited by patient safety bodies from both those countries.”

People can review a factsheet on sexual activity and blood donation, and all the blood donation eligibility criteria on the BHB website at bermudahospitals.bm/be-a-donor.

7 May 2024 Home Page, News

Chief of Staff Wesley Miller retires from BHB

Wednesday 3 April 2024: After many years of distinguished service, Dr Wesley Miller has decided to retire from his position as chief of staff at BHB. The Bermuda Hospitals Board wishes to thank Dr Miller for his service and to wish him well in his return to private practice. BHB has already started the process of recruiting for Dr Miller’s replacement and will provide an update as soon as possible.

While the recruitment process is being completed, Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams has agreed to be the acting chief of staff.

We wish Dr Miller every success in his future endeavours.

3 April 2024 Home Page, News

BHB shares update about hospital – physician communications

Tuesday 2 April 2024: Bermuda Hospitals Board has had a physician advisory council to participate in the ongoing development of our electronic medical record, PEARL, for over a year. Community and BHB physicians are represented to collaborate on optimising our ability to share highly confidential medical information about our patients.  The public should be reassured that BHB only uses secure methods of transmitting their medical information.

Communicating with physicians via private emails and fax does not constitute the highest level of safeguarding patient data. As we work through making improvements, we have continued faxing to community physician offices so there has been no cut off of available patient information through older systems.  Faxing is not perfect, however. There can be issues with transmission, or risks of paper running out at the receiver end or getting lost in the community offices. This is why their use is being phased out in other countries such as the UK.

Email and messaging can be used if they are on secure platforms. Many family doctors now have their own electronic medical records and we are already in the early stages of implementing an integration engine that will allow the different EMRs in these offices to connect more directly with PEARL.

BHB has also hosted two community physician workshops over the last year to assist them with using BHB systems and PEARL. We certainly want to hear from any physicians who are having issues receiving or sharing information with us at BHB. We already are in contact with certain offices and site visits are arranged if there are issues that can’t be resolved remotely. Prior to the question being tabled to the CEO at Docs for Dinner, BHB was aware of the particular concern voiced and our team had committed to support with a solution.

The requirements of the personal information privacy act do need to be complied with and this is a good thing for Bermuda. Within health care, an individual’s medical information should always be protected to the highest standards available. The onus is on us in health care – in the hospitals and community – to work together and find solutions that safeguard medical information while making it as easy as possible for physicians to care for their patients.

2 April 2024 Home Page, News

BHB seeks community input into improving patient flow

Friday 26 January 2024: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today asks people who have been an inpatient at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital to fill in a short survey about their experience and to provide details about where they experienced delays.

The survey is part of a 100 day challenge that started on 1 December, with the goal of improving internal processes that impact patient flow through King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. The survey can be accessed at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/BHB100DAYS

CEO & President Scott Pearman notes that while many discharge delays relate to external service availability, BHB wants to do all it can to ensure its internal processes are as efficient as possible.

“Our longest delays are due to external factors,” Mr Pearman says, “but the challenge we have set ourselves is whether the inpatient who was in hospital for seven days could have been discharged in five or six if our internal processes were more efficient.

“The 100 Day Challenge and survey feed into our larger people-centred care journey. While we are looking at our data to help us identify where improvements can be made, patients and their families have lived experience that can help illuminate issues that are impacting them.”

The executive sponsor of the challenge, Chief of Nursing Judy Richardson, says the initiative is a way to focus multiple teams on what is a collective responsibility, to learn as much as possible where the delays are and to either test an improvement or identify longer term or more complex changes that will be picked up past the 100 days.

“This challenge is about how we collaborate and work internally,” Mrs Richardson explains. “From diagnostic imaging to the inpatient wards, environmental services to porters, lab services to individual specialists, we are asking our staff across areas to improve the patient journey. If inpatients need an MRI, for example, how can we make sure they are seen within a day of the referral. We can’t solve everything in 100 days, but the challenge is to learn and test as much as we can.”

Keltie Jamieson, Chief Hospital Information Officer adds, “Our electronic medical record, PEARL, will help us collate data and see what is happening around the organisation. This data is a big help in identifying and measuring change, but the heart of the project is engaging staff, patients and families around the single focus of improving patient flow.

“This survey is available for people who want to provide details about their patient journey, and the 100 Day Challenge team is speaking with patients and their families while they are in hospital so we fully understand and incorporate their feedback when making changes.”

The 100 Day Challenge ends in March, and BHB will provide an update in April of the Challenge outcomes.

Pictured left to right above discussing data in the 100 Day Challenge Command Centre are BHB staff Martin Maurais, Quality Manager; Olievia Martins, Clinical Informatics Specialist; and Karen Raynor, Clinical Director Medical Surgical Services.

26 January 2024 Home Page, News

Bermuda’s first baby of 2024 is born

Wednesday 3 January 2024: Bermuda’s first baby of 2024 was born on Tuesday 2 January 2024 at 5.37pm. Isabelle Clare Faries weighted 6 lbs and 7 ounces and Bermudian parents Ryan and Lyndsay Faries say they’ll call her ‘Bella’.

“Bella was a ‘fast and furious’ baby,” says Ryan. “We arrived at the hospital at 4:30pm and she was born just over an hour later.”

Bella has an older brother, Theo, who is three years old. “He’s really excited to meet his new sister,” Lyndsay says.

“We are really grateful to all the nurses and our doctor,” adds Ryan. “They have been friendly, kind and helpful throughout the whole experience.”

 

3 January 2024 Home Page, News

Valentine’s Day Raffle encourages more people to donate blood

Tuesday 2 January 2024: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces a  ‘bring-a-friend’ raffle being run by the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre. Starting on Tuesday 2 January 2024, if an existing blood donor brings another person who hasn’t donated before to donate blood, both the existing and new donor will be put in a draw for one of six $250 Masters gift certificates. The draw will be made on Valentine’s Day on Wednesday 14 February 2024.

“Masters has donated a number of gift certificates to us and we will be using them throughout the year as we find different ways to thank our donors,” says Lucy Correia, Nurse Phlebotomist. “As this raffle ends on Valentine’s Day we want to see people bring a new donor – it could be a friend, colleague or loved one. Both our regular and new donor to have a chance to win.”

“We always need more blood donors, but we also need people who can donated platelets, which is a special type of donation called apheresis,” Lucy adds. “First time blood donors can be tested to see if they fit the criteria. Platelets are used for patients who have compromised immune systems, such as cancer and leukaemia patients.”

Lucy also notes that people who spent time in the UK can also now donate. She says, “People who had spent time in the UK between 1980 and 1996 can now donate. This criteria was relaxed last year following scientific evidence that it was safe to do so.”

People who want to book an appointment to donate blood should contact the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre by phone 236-5067, WhatsApp 533-9553 or email blood.donor@bhb.bm. The blood donation site https://bermudahospitals.bm/be-a-donor/ also has more information and the latest criteria for donating.

2 January 2024 Home Page, News

BHB purchases Craig Appin building under favourable terms

Tuesday 2 January 2024: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announced it has purchased Craig Appin House in Hamilton in a favourable deal that protects it from future rental increases.

BHB has rented space in Craig Appin for over ten years, after it had to decant its Human Resources, ITS and Finance offices from the Queen Elizabeth Nurses Residence in 2011 due to its poor physical condition. Over 100 BHB employees work in the building, including a medical concierge service that assists patients with medical travel.

The QENR was on the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital campus next to Berry Hill Road. Its construction was completed in May 1960 and originally housed nurses coming to Bermuda from overseas. It was demolished in 2016 following assessments that it would be too costly to try and repair and maintain.

Chief Financial Officer, Arthur Ebbin, comments: “I would very much like to thank the owners of Craig Appin who offered BHB favourable and flexible terms for the purchase. BHB will pay the same amount it has been paying each year in rent as it pays for the building. This means we have been able to afford the purchase based on our cash flow. Rental income from other services in the building will help offset maintenance costs for the immediate future. Critically, this deal protects us from the rental market increases in Hamilton over the coming years and provides us with options for estate planning to benefit our services to the community.”

As is required, the deal was approved by the Minister of Health and Minister of Finance, as well as the BHB Board and Executive.

2 January 2024 Home Page, News