About Cathy Stovell

MWI to help structure psychiatric telehealth for the Caribbean region

Thursday 8 December 2022: Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) is being recognised as a leader in providing remote mental health services among islands in the Caribbean region.

In November, Karen Grant Simmons, director of mental health services for Bermuda Hospitals Board, presented on telehealth in psychiatry at a virtual meeting of the Nurses Association of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Over 280 nurses attended the conference, held on Friday 25 November 2022, among them Caribbean Nurses Organization president Dr Paulette Cash. Ms Grant Simmons’ presentation was so well received that she was invited to help spearhead a project for the region.

“Dr Cash said that the International Council of Nurses has issued a directive for the Caribbean national nurses associations to get on board with telehealth,” said Ms Grant Simmons, a registered psychiatric nurse. “She requested I work with the Caribbean Nurses Organization and other Caribbean islands to move the initiative forward.

“After learning the extent to which we use telehealth at MWI, they are of the view that Bermuda is leading in the region.”

Ms Grant Simmons has agreed to serve on the Special Projects Committee of the Caribbean Nurses Organization. She will help structure and guide creation of telehealth programmes in psychiatry and psychology for the Caribbean islands.

In her presentation, Ms Grant Simmons spoke on the different ways MWI professionals use telehealth, including online meetings with therapists and phone consultations. She said in many cases, MWI clients prefer virtual meetings as they don’t have to deal with the stigma of being seen at a mental health facility. She noted that during our COVID-19 lockdowns, telehealth enabled clients to continue their therapies.

8 December 2022 Home Page, News

BHB shines green light for mental health awareness

Wednesday 30 November 2022: Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) encourages the public to be joyous and celebratory this holiday season.

“Positive thoughts engender positive feelings, which promote good mental health,” said Preston Swan, vice president of MWI clinical operations and acting chief operating officer for Bermuda Hospitals Board. “This December, we will again light the outside of our sister facility, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s Acute Care Wing, in green.”

This year’s theme for mental health awareness is Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Bermuda Priority.

“Making mental health and mental wellbeing a Bermuda priority is not only a matter for the island’s mental health professionals,” said Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams. “We can all reflect and recognise where we may be feeling stressed or pressured, and take small steps to address our mental health, particularly considering the challenges of recent years.”

Here are a few measures you can take, particularly during this season, to support your mental wellness.

  • Go outside and be with nature. Disconnect from devices.
  • Don’t get caught up trying to create a perfect holiday setting or experience. Set small, meaningful goals with family or friends and connect where you can.
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a professional who can help. Seeking support is not a sign of weakness.

“We encourage you to contact MWI, your GP or one of the many mental health professionals available within our community if you need support,” said Dr Neilson-Williams. “You are not alone.”

The green light for mental health awareness will start at dusk tomorrow, Thursday 1 December 2022.

If you need assistance, please call the MWI Acute Community Mental Health Service at 249-3432. For serious mental health crises at any time of the day or night, call 239-1111.


30 November 2022 Home Page, News

BHB Traffic Advisory for Monday 21 November 2022

No through traffic at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on Monday 21 November

Thursday 17 November 2022: There will be no through traffic at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital from Point Finger Road to Berry Hill Road all day on Monday 21 November 2022.

All people needing to access services in the Acute Care Wing (ACW) should enter the hospital campus from Point Finger Road and use the visitor parking there.

All people needing to access services in General Wing should enter the hospital campus via Berry Hill Road and use the visitor parking there. Pedestrian access to the General Wing will be at the ambulance bay at the former Emergency Department or via the ACW main entrance.

The access restrictions are due to two separate crane lifts of heavy equipment on the campus.

For your safety and the safety of others, please comply with directions of personnel at each site.

17 November 2022 Home Page, News

Start of stroke recovery in Bermuda

Tuesday 25 October 2022: Surviving a stroke is an achievement in itself, but how well a survivor recovers can vary enormously. What are the rehabilitation options for stroke survivors in Bermuda and how can they go about getting the best medical care and support available?

by Dr Elwood I L Fox, DO

According to the Centres for Disease Control, in 2020, stroke was the fifth leading cause of death in the US. Worldwide, World Health Organisation data from 2019 showed stroke as the second leading cause of death behind ischemic heart disease.

Based on my involvement as consultant physiatrist at BHB for over ten years, there is anecdotal evidence of five to 10 stroke patients per week treated through BHB. Not all are being admitted for acute care. Some receive outpatient services through the Rehab Day Hospital.

Furthermore, it is estimated that there are 250 to 300 strokes per year on island with about five percent never receiving medical or rehabilitation treatment during the acute phase. Data collection is required for recording of stroke deaths annually, and would probably reveal greater than 1,000 stroke survivors on island at present.

Some of the main impairments caused by stroke involve cognition, speech and communication, ability to swallow, movement, activities of daily living (ADLs), bowel and bladder dysfunction, and mood and behaviour.

To read the full RG Magazines article, click here.

4 November 2022 Media

Treating the Whole Person

Tuesday 25 October 2022:


Lately, it seems the sound of sirens has become a common occurrence on our small island. Each time I hear them, especially at times when traffic is heavier or late at night, the first thing I do is reach for my phone to check online sources expecting to hear about a traffic accident.

Most of us are experiencing more anxiety lately, wondering if those we love are safe on our roads.

Click here to read the full RG Magazines article.


4 November 2022 Media

Local newborn makes BHB history

Thursday 3 November 2022: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is happy to announce the birth of the first Bermudian since the implementation of its electronic medical record. The Patient Electronic & Administrative Records Log (PEARL) is the name of the system which went live at both the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) over the weekend.

Frances Ivy Edwards was born at 5:35 on Monday morning to parents Thomas and Kaitlin Edwards. Her birth represents the first Bermudian on the island who will never have had a paper BHB medical record. Her entire record will be digital.

“There was hospital-wide excitement at Frances’ birth,” said BHB CEO & President Dr Michael Richmond. “We consider her our PEARL. Her birth is a historic event for BHB and we are pleased her parents have consented to us sharing the news, her name and photos.”

“I had read the article about the hospital moving to electronic record keeping in the media and thought it was a big step and a positive move for the hospital and the island,” said new mother Kaitlin Edwards. “But I never really thought about what it might mean for my child. It is exciting to recognise that she’s the first to have a paperless medical record at the hospital. I was born here, my husband was born here and so was our son, but she’s not just the first in our family to have a digital birth record, she’s the first in the island. It’s a fun fact she can always be proud of.”



3 November 2022 Home Page, News

Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute thanks Markel Bermuda Limited

Monday 31 October 2022: Bermuda-based Markel Bermuda Limited has long held that good mental health is vitally important. In fact, a gift from the insurance giant to Bermuda Hospitals Board’s (BHB) Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic helped improve MWI’s service offerings.

“The theme of World Mental Health Day, which was celebrated on 10 October, was Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Bermuda Priority,” said Preston Swan, BHB acting chief operating officer and VP of MWI clinical operations.

“Markel Bermuda Limited’s donation to us certainly demonstrates that the company already has this firmly established in its culture. We not only thank them, but also salute them,” he added.

Markel Bermuda donated audio-visual equipment to MWI during the pandemic so treatment for clients requiring mental health services was not interrupted. The gift also allowed MWI inpatients to meet virtually with their families and loved ones.

“The equipment proved invaluable,” said Mr Swan. “It allowed our clients to interact virtually with their clinical teams. In fact, in many cases the virtual meetings were preferred by clients and have continued.”

“We recognise that for many, there is a stigma associated with physically attending MWI,” said BHB Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams. “The Markel Bermuda gift gave our clients a choice in accessing our services. Being able to attend their sessions from their homes was a welcome change for many of them and in several instances boosted their spirits.

“This is particularly significant as clients were largely negatively impacted by the stresses of being in lockdown and the pandemic itself. That they were able to continue their therapies in that climate is important.

“Equally valuable was that our inpatients were able, thanks to the equipment, to maintain connections with their families and loved ones during the lockdown and post lockdown as, out of necessity, we reduced visitation considerably.

“And the equipment, although specifically intended for use during the pandemic, continues to benefit clients as we still use it,” she added.

“It is heartening to learn that our gift has had this impact on MWI clients and staff,” said Markel Bermuda Limited HR Business Partner Sarah Randall. “At Markel, we recognise the importance of proactively attending to our mental health and certainly ascribe to the theme set for Mental Health Awareness in Bermuda this year – Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Bermuda Priority. We are pleased our gift has aided the community in this goal.”

31 October 2022 Home Page, News

Public Advisory: No through road vehicular or pedestrian traffic at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital on Wednesday 26 October 2022

25 October 2022: Bermuda Hospitals Board advises the public that there will be no through traffic on the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) campus between Point Finger and Berry Hill Roads on Wednesday 26 October 2022 from noon to 4pm.

A crane will be in the road outside the old Emergency Department lifting materials for service elevator renovation.

Emergency vehicles and people attending the Emergency Department should use the Point Finger Road entrance. Ambulances will enter and exit on Point Finger Road. KEMH and the visitor parking lots will still be accessible from both Point Finger Road (Acute Care Wing) and Berry Hill Road (General Wing and Agape House). Traffic will not be able to travel between the General Wing lobby roundabout and Berry Hill Road.

Pedestrians accessing the hospital from the Berry Hill Road side will be impacted. For your safety and the safety of others, please use caution and adhere to the barriers, signage and directions of the security officers.

Bermuda Hospitals Board apologises to the public for any inconvenience caused by the disruption.


25 October 2022 Home Page, News

BHB Primary Stroke Centre celebrates Stroke Awareness Week


Monday 24 October 2022: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) urges the public to learn the signs and symptoms of stroke. Saturday 29 October is World Stroke Day, and this week BHB’s Primary Stroke Centre team wants to increase community awareness of this condition, which is on the rise in Bermuda.

“Every second counts when treating someone who is experiencing a stroke,” said BHB consultant neurologist Dr Kehinde Kolapo. “We really need everyone on the island to recognise when someone is having a stroke, and to get them to the hospital right away.

Signs of Stroke Illustration“BE FAST. These two words can really help everyone remember the symptoms.

“B is for balance. People who become dizzy or lose their sense of balance could be experiencing a stroke.

“E is for eyes. A stroke may cause sudden blurred vision.

“F is for face. If one side of the face starts to droop, it could signify a stroke.

“A is for arms. Sudden weakness in an arm, or a leg, is another symptom of stroke.

“S is for speech. Those experiencing a stroke may have slurred or unintelligible speech, or they may not be able to speak.

“T is for time, which means you need to get the person to the Emergency Department as soon as possible.”

“There are some types of stroke for which we can administer a drug that bursts the blood clot, effectively ending the stroke,” said Dr Kolapo, “but there is a very short window of time in which it is safe to do this.”

BHB’s Primary Stroke Centre attained distinction certification from Accreditation Canada in April for its acute stroke and inpatient rehabilitation service standards. Its committed team of professionals is passionate about not only providing the best care to patients, but also decreasing the number of people who experience strokes.

“We are tackling prevention by educating the public,” said VP KEMH Clinical Operations Sita Ingram, a member of the Primary Stroke Centre Working Group. “BE FAST is the message we need every resident to know and adhere to.

“Free wallet-sized BE FAST cards are available this week at the Bermuda Diabetes Association, and the reception desks at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.”

Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller said: “We also draw the public’s attention to the full Accreditation Canada report on the Primary Stroke Centre’s distinction certification. It is available on our website at bermudahospitals.bm.”

Click here to access the report.

Accreditation Canada conducted an onsite survey at BHB from 28 February to 3 March 2022, interviewing staff, stroke patients, their families and Primary Stroke Centre partner organisations.

BHB CEO and President Dr Michael Richmond said: “Stroke distinction certification is the highest commendation a stroke centre can receive in the Accreditation Canada system, and this aligns with BHB’s vision to pursue excellence through improvement, to make Bermuda proud.”

The Accreditation Canada Stroke Distinction surveyors highlighted the areas below in their report as examples of successes within BHB Primary Stroke Centre services:

  • leadership and organisation support
  • knowledgeable and committed staff
  • collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHMI)
  • alignment of the integrated stroke programme plan with the organisation’s strategic plan
  • community partnerships
  • communication and promotion of the stroke programme


Primary Stroke Centre History

Recognising in 2018 that strokes had become an epidemic on the island, BHB took steps to address the problem. In July 2019, BHB launched its Primary Stroke Centre, part of a clinical affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Since that time, stroke patient outcomes have significantly improved in Bermuda, due to a more clearly defined process for managing stroke patients, together with a robust national campaign highlighting the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of attending the hospital immediately.

At its peak, 14% of those who experienced a stroke were able to receive a clot-busting drug that increased their chances of fully recovering. Not all stroke patients are eligible to receive the drug.

In 2021, then Primary Stroke Centre Director Dr Francene Gayle said: “This figure is impressive and is almost double the 7% average of primary stroke centres in the US.”

BHB’s Primary Stroke Centre also made history with its first trans-oceanic mechanical thrombectomy case. In this instance, a local patient with a major blockage in a major artery of the brain was diagnosed and airlifted to The Johns Hopkins Hospital within 17 hours. The patient received lifesaving thrombectomy surgery and is likely the first in the world to have experienced the trans-oceanic service.

24 October 2022 Home Page, News

Residents rate their mental health

Monday 10 October 2022: Today is World Mental Health Day. In Bermuda, the theme for this year is Make Mental Health and Wellbeing for All a Bermuda Priority.

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) commissioned questions in September’s Bermuda Omnibus survey.  The results showed more residents between 18 and 35 rated their mental health as being worse since the pandemic than those in older age groups. Thirty-two residents in this age group deemed their mental  health somewhat worse or much worse than before the pandemic, compared with 21 people in the 36-64 year category and 17 in the over 65 group. In total 22% of survey respondents felt their mental health had declined since the pandemic.

“The survey result is indicative of what many parents have found anecdotally with their college-aged children,” said BHB Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams. “While each person and their set of circumstances are unique, the impact of lockdowns in not being able to socialise or receive education in a more typical format, combined with feeling imprisoned and isolated, has caused increased depression and anxiety for many. Experiencing the rapidity of how life across the world was forced to change also caused fear, anxiety and depression, particularly in young adults.”

“It is important and encouraging to note that the vast majority of survey respondents (59%) felt their mental health had not significantly changed since the pandemic,” said Dr Neilson-Williams. “But for anyone experiencing difficulties, we can help.”

Respondents were also asked to list factors that prevented them from prioritising their mental health. The majority, (36%) said nothing was stopping them. Twenty-eight percent said work, 10% listed money/finances or not enough time, while 9% said caring for others/family was the reason.

“We encourage everyone in the community to pause and consider their mental health, and to actively care for it in the same way that we take care of our physical health,” said Dr Neilson-Williams. “Exercise can positively impact your mental health, and activities like walking and swimming are free. We live on such a beautiful island, experiencing nature can be very restorative and calming, thus just getting outside can help. Sixty percent, the overwhelming majority, of those surveyed said it’s what they do to improve their mental health.

Reading a book was a distant second at 15%, spending time with family at 13%, and yoga/meditation/relaxation at 11%.”

BHB is committed to providing services through Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute to ensure good mental health and wellness are available to all in Bermuda.


The full Bermuda Omnibus – BHB Report is available below.

Q3 2022 Bermuda Omnibus – BHB Report

BMO Q3 2022Bermuda Omnibus – BHB Report Tabular Results

10 October 2022 Home Page, News