Last week to see MWI client art and photography at BSOA

Tuesday 12 October 2021: This year’s art and photography exhibit by clients of Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), called the MindFrame PhotoVoice Exhibit, will be open until Tuesday 19 October for viewing at the Bermuda Society of Arts in City Hall.

Jordan Fairn, Art Psychotherapist, who runs the art therapy sessions at MWI, says: “MWI clients were asked to submit art and photography on the theme of ‘Weathering the Storm’ and we have some wonderful and creative pieces. It’s unfortunate that this year our exhibit coincided with the worst COVID-19 surge Bermuda has experienced, so we couldn’t have the usual opening night. However, the theme of resilience, of managing through the tough times, is something that is perhaps even more meaningful after the last few weeks and even years, as we all take a closer look at our mental health and stamina throughout the pandemic. I hope people can visit the Bermuda Society of Arts before we close.”

As in previous years, the MindFrame PhotoVoice Exhibit gives clients of MWI a space in which to share their expressions, perspectives and experiences through a variety of different media. This year there is drawing, painting, collage, photography and sculpture. Works can be purchased, and the artists receive part of the profits.

“Every individual has a unique perspective on the world and the MindFrame PhotoVoice gives our clients a space in which to share their creativity and thoughts with the wider community,” Says Jordan. “It is a unique exhibition, and we hope people come by. The gallery is open 10am to 4pm weekdays and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.”

 

12 October 2021 News

BHB Public Service Advisory: Bermuda Hospitals Board in-person payment facility in Hamilton is closed

Monday 11 October 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board is advising the public that it has closed its public reception desk in its Hamilton office to in-person activities until further notice.

The Hamilton office located in Craig Appin House on Wesley Street has been convenient for many people to pay their bills.

“Due to the high risk of coronavirus infection we have closed in-person activities at this location,” said BHB Chief Financial Officer Bill Shields. “Bill payments can now be made by calling 239-2955 or 239-2954 Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.”

-ends-

11 October 2021 Home Page, News

Bermuda Post Office workers mark World Post Day with meals for 50 BHB staff

Friday 8 October 2021: World Post Day is this Saturday and Bermuda Post Office staff traditionally celebrate the day with a team building activity. This year the staff decided to pool funds and provide meals for hospital workers who have been uniquely stressed during the pandemic.

“Our team is not able to gather to celebrate this year, “said Postmaster General Sam Brangman Jr. “We still wanted to mark the day and felt it appropriate to do so by donating meals for those who work at the hospital, which has been inundated with COVID-19 patients in recent weeks.

“We know that the Hospitals Auxiliary of Bermuda (HAB) work tirelessly to help the hospital, and felt that we would provide these meals through a donation to their Pink Café,” he continued. “Their General Manager Nancy Oughton was so helpful and quickly organised the whole thing. The HAB has provided 50 $10 vouchers, which we have presented to Bermuda Hospitals Board management.”

“On behalf of the management and staff of Bermuda Hospitals Board, I thank our postal workers for deciding to mark World Post Day with this thoughtful donation,” said BHB Deputy CEO R Scott Pearman. “Our staff are grateful for your donation and those of many others in our community. We are pleased that you thought to provide this through the HAB with whom we have a very close relationship – it is akin to two donations by offering this through them. Thank you.”

“It’s our mission to provide funding for the vital needs of our hospital,” said HAB General Manager Nancy Oughton. “We thank the Bermuda Post Office staff for providing for hospital staff through our Pink Café.”

-ends-

Pictured from left: Dean Hayward, Bermuda Post Office Delivery Post Person; Nancy Oughton, General Manager Hospitals Auxiliary of Bermuda; Sam Brangman Jr., Postmaster General and R Scott Pearman, Bermuda Hospitals Board Deputy CEO.

8 October 2021 Home Page, News

Make Nature A Part Of Your Everyday Life – Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Monday 4 October 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board and its Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute invite the public to join them this week in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme this year is Nature – It’s Part of Your Everyday Life.

“Mental health is important to each and every one of us, not just those of us who have a mental health ailment,” said Health Minister Kim Wilson.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to focus on our mental health a bit more than we would normally. This is good. We are all, I believe, more open to discovering and adopting ways to protect and build resilience for our mental wellbeing.

“This week we, the Government, would like the entire community to connect with nature- perhaps in new ways and to notice how this makes them feel – perhaps you feel calmer, less anxious or just feel that you are in a better mood.

“Connecting with nature is easy to incorporate in your everyday life – you can have your lunch in one of the parks, tend to your house plants, listen to birds, smell flowers, write poetry about nature, hug a tree,  or enjoy walking or running along our beautiful railway trails and pristine beaches. Enjoy the slightly cooler temperatures and have a picnic with your children.

“This week, we ask you to do 3 things: – experience nature, share nature on social media and talk about nature. In other words, for this week: Make Nature a Part of Your Everyday Life.”

BHB Acting Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams said:There is growing research that shows a correlation between being in nature and improvement in mental wellbeing. Time in nature has been shown to reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, reduce nervous system arousal, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and improve mood.”

“A UK survey this year coordinated by the UK Mental Health Foundation, found that 59% of the respondents felt going for a walk outside helped them cope with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and 50 percent felt that just being able to visit green space helped them,” said BHB Acting Chief Operating Officer and VP of Clinical Operations – MWI, Preston Swan.

“This shows that even small amounts of time in nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting your mental health,” he added. “BHB invites the public to tune into The Daily Hour on Facebook from 8am-9am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week to learn about how nature can impact mental health in different age groups.

“We also encourage the public to make a point of being in nature this week and to notice the positive impact this has on their mood and mental wellbeing.”

MWI’s annual MindFrame PhotoVoice exhibition which features artwork from MWI clients, opened on Friday 24 September at the Bermuda Society of Arts in City Hall. The exhibition is free to the public and runs until 13 October.

4 October 2021 News

Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre temporarily reduces weekday open hours (weekend hours remain the same)

Sunday 3 October 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announced that there will be a temporary change of weekday Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC) hours so that staffing resources can be directed to the Emergency Department. From Monday 4 October 2021, hours will be from 5pm to 10pm weekdays, Monday to Friday. Weekend hours will remain the same from 9am to 9pm. The need for the reduced weekday hours will be reassessed in two weeks (Sunday 17 October).

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “We do all we can to meet the demand in our Emergency Department and UCC, but at times when our staffing is stretched, we have to focus on the Emergency Department first as this is where the most unwell patients who need the most urgent attention are. We are keeping the UCC open every evening in the week even though the hours are reduced, and weekend hours will remain the same. We strongly recommend that people who have non-COVID illnesses or injuries that are minor, but cannot wait for a GP appointment, still make use of the service. There will not be an x-ray service at the UCC at this this time. It is also important to remind people that for most minor and on-going chronic complaints, you can contact your GP first. As soon as we are able we will return to our usual operating hours for the UCC, and will provide an update in two weeks.”

3 October 2021 Home Page, News

Free virtual panel to support and inspire recovery from substance abuse

Wednesday 29 September 2021: BHB today announces a free virtual panel being offered to the community as part of Recovery Month by the Turning Point Substance Abuse Programme. The theme is ‘Recovery is for everyone: every person, every family, every community’, and the discussion will be on Thursday 30 September from 1pm to 2pm.

The goal is to share wisdom, experiences and insight to inspire and encourage people in Bermuda who have loved ones or are themselves on the journey of recovery.

Hosted by Dayla Burges, Addiction Counsellor at Turning Point, the panel members are: Juanae Crockwell, holistic counsellor of ‘A Little Girl Grows Up’; Shervin Hollis, recovery advocate; Gordon Johnson, community recovery advocate; and Michaela Smith, certified fitness instructor of Hope Fitness Bermuda.

Shirley Place, clinical director of substance abuse at MWI, comments: “We want to offer to the community an opportunity to hear from people who can help support and inspire anyone with an interest in substance abuse recovery. We all have a part to play, whether we have an addiction, or it is a loved one or friend. Recovery needs community support and understanding. Having an open panel allows us all to learn, be encouraged and have their questions about substance abuse recover answered.”

People can attend via zoom meeting ID 894 045 3622 at 1pm on Thursday 30 September, or go to the BHB Facebook page for a live stream. There will be set questions for the panel at the start, and a segment for attendees to ask questions too.

29 September 2021 Home Page, News

BHB morgue service impacted by the pandemic

Tuesday 28 September 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today highlighted the need for people to work together when someone dies to help manage the large numbers of deceased, following a rise in deaths related directly to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer R Scott Pearman comments: “The increase in deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic situation for many families, first and foremost, and we feel deeply for the grief and pain so many are feeling in our community right now. The high numbers are also putting pressure on the individuals and organisations who would normally support the process from death to burial or cremation, and this includes BHB.

“Our concern is having enough space for all the deceased given the high numbers of deaths we are experiencing. We have already exceeded our regular morgue capacity and are using refrigerated overflow containers. BHB’s respectful goal is to maintain the dignity and safety of the deceased.  For us to meet this goal, however, we need help as some individuals are left with KEMH longer than necessary and this is increasing the number of people we need to have space for.

“Reducing the number of deceased individuals held by BHB will be greatly helped by families working with their chosen funeral director so their loved ones can be picked up from KEMH and be buried or cremated with as little delay as possible. Families are going through so much when someone dies and they may not always know what has to take place for their loved one to be released from KEMH. We have therefore spoken to Government and funeral directors, and developed an information sheet about the process to help families as they work through all the steps that have to take place, and help them prepare for the financial implications and decisions that need to be made.”

BHB Factsheet – When Your Loved One Dies

28 September 2021 Home Page, News

Support for mentally ill now stationed in Magistrates’ Court and Hamilton Police Station

Tuesday 21 September 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is pleased to announce a joint initiative between its Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), the Magistrates’ Court, the Department of Court Services and Bermuda Police Service. The collaboration resulted in the pilot of a new post: Liaison and Diversion Officer (LDO).  On 8 February, an MWI psychiatric nurse took station at the Magistrates’ Courts and at Hamilton Police Station in the new role.

Retired MWI psychiatric nurse Geraldine Smith agreed to serve in the post during the pilot.

Preston Swan, Acting Chief Operating Officer, said creation of the post is part of MWI’s efforts to be more responsive to community needs and meet people in the settings where they need assistance.

“The LDO provides psychiatric support to persons with mental health challenges,” he said. “The LDO also advises authorities where a diversion from the justice system for mental health treatment is appropriate.”

Since the start of the project, the LDO has had 336 encounters with individuals seeking support, 38% (129) were persons known to MWI and 23% (77) were current clients of MWI.  Not everyone took advantage of the service. Six percent (21) declined additional mental health support from MWI or the LDO.

“Attending court and interacting with police can pose unique challenges for some people with mental illness,” Mr. Swan added. “There are specific methods that can be used to effectively communicate with such persons, but it is complex as the methods vary based on the person’s particular challenge or diagnosis. Psychiatric professionals are best qualified to recognise this and interact appropriately.

“We are pleased to provide this service in the Magistrates’ Court and at the police station.”

Senior Magistrate Juan Wolffe said:  “Through the creation of the Drug Treatment Court, the Mental Health Treatment Court, and the DUI Court the Magistrates’ Courts has for some time been implementing therapeutic forms of jurisprudence.  In doing so individuals who have come before the Magistrates’ Court have been directed to helping agencies in order to address the root causes of their behaviour rather than being incarcerated.  The services of the LDO has taken these objectives a monumental step further by providing immediate and direct assistance and intervention to individuals who appear in the Magistrates’ Court with mental or physical challenges.  Since the project began the assigned LDO has been worth her weight in gold by triaging the complex and sensitive issues of individuals and thereby providing Magistrates with crucial information and recommendations which ultimately assists Magistrates in arriving at a resolution which is beneficial to all parties involved in the proceedings.”

“As Police, we interact directly with all sectors of our community,” said Chief Police Inspector Alexander Rollin. “As such we must be flexible in our approach to meet their diverse needs. It has become increasingly challenging for us to manage situations involving some of those who have mental illness.”

Chief Inspector Rollin added: “We have already experienced the benefits of having the Liaison and Diversion Officer and look forward to the continued partnership.”

21 September 2021 Home Page, News

BHB Moves to Highest Alert Level

Friday 17 September 2021

Michael Richmond, CEO and President of BHB, comments:

“After an assessment of our current position at BHB, we are today moving to Disaster Alert Level 4. This reflects the high number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and in the ICU, the pressure on staff, and the impact of the pandemic on our staffing levels.

“Disaster Alert Level 4 is an internal hospital status that reflects the operational pressure we are under. Our staffing levels are being taxed, and we are having to cease all services that are not emergencies or critically urgent until further notice. The figures will be reported by Government later today, but at this time we have more admitted and sicker patients with COVID-19 in hospital than we have experienced at any time during the whole pandemic.

“We are redeploying all available staff to acute, critical care and emergency services. Our employees are professional and dedicated individuals, but they are also human beings and the risk of burn-out is increasingly evident.

“People in the community may not realise the extent of the impact on healthcare services, but they need to be aware that the increasing demand on the hospital may start to impact our ability to deliver the quality of care that we usually strive for each day.

“We are pleading with the community to follow all public health guidance, wear masks at all times inside and outside if within 6 feet of others. Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces. Get vaccinated, please. It is the best defence against serious disease and death.

“We also ask people to take medically fit for discharge family members home. With the hospital under tremendous pressure, we need the staffing and the space for the new admitted patients, both COVID and non-COVID related.”

Update on the impact of the surge on BHB services
· No visitors for long term and acute care patients, other than in exceptional circumstances such as end of life. Restricted visiting for other areas.

· For all BHB services – only emergency or urgent appointments and treatments will be undertaken.

· People should not attend the Emergency Department for a COVID-19 test. It is not a testing facility and needs to focus on people needing emergency care.

· The Emergency Department is under great pressure. People are reminded that with mild COVID-19 symptoms they can call their GP. If they think they must call the Emergency Department first at 239-1301. They should not just turn up.

 

17 September 2021 News

BHB visitor restrictions reintroduced due to delta surge

Tuesday 7 September 2021: Due to the surge in COVID-19 community numbers and increase in inpatient numbers, Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is ceasing visitation of inpatients and long term care residents at KEMH and MWI from Wednesday 8 September, and cancelling elective surgeries from today. Maternity, Gosling (children’s) Unit and intensive care patients will be allowed limited visitation by designated individuals.

Dr Michael Richmond, Chief Executive Officer & President, said: “We appreciate the understanding and cooperation of patients and families as we respond to yet another surge. The pressures these surges bring to staff at the hospitals is immense. We are all working extremely hard to manage our bed capacity and focus resources where they are needed so we are able to care for all who need it, as medical emergencies still happen on top of the increase in COVID-19 cases. It not only adds to the clinical pressures felt by individuals and services, but brings continued financial pressures to BHB and the healthcare system, and we were under pressure even before the pandemic. BHB has worked extremely hard over the last few years to make savings, and we have achieved $11 million in fiscal year 2019/20, $30 million in 2020/21 and we are working to achieve $15 million more through efficiency programmes, contract reviews and management of assets. The financial costs of responding to the pandemic, on top of international increases of medicines and supplies, and the pressure to keep pace with international standards in healthcare to offer the people in Bermuda are immense.

“We know our colleagues in the Ministry of Health are similarly challenged. We are incredibly grateful for the donations from businesses and individuals that have supported the purchasing of supplies and the vaccine clinic, but the costs have exceeded these kind and generous donations. We are working closely with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health to ensure we can continue to deliver the services needed safely and at a high quality.”

Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller commented: “We do not take the return to these restrictions lightly, but are very concerned by the sudden increase in delta variant COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions. Three out of every four local infections are in unvaccinated individuals and, unfortunately, these people are more at risk of serious illness and hospitalisations. BHB is now experiencing an increase in emergency visits and admissions. Higher community transmissions also increases the risks of an individual visiting a loved one and not knowing they are infected. We have once more prepared our overflow ICU in the surgical area so that we can care for all those who need it. These actions divert resources and space, which impacts our other services. We apologise for the impact on patients and families as we manage this surge and thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding.”

Chief of Nursing Judy Richardson commented: “We have seen numbers surge in the community and this is now being seen in our hospitals too. We have been through surges before and know that timely action maximises the safety of all people in BHB units and group homes. We feel for all the people who will see less of their families and loved ones, but our first step is to strengthen the protections that help protect them. We need everyone to play their part in keeping our most vulnerable people safe, so thank the community in advance for their understanding and partnership in following all guidelines and precautions.”

Summary of current restrictions:

Anyone visiting or attending BHB facilities as an outpatient must first go through a temperature and mask check. They must use the available hand sanitisers, wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all times, including in patient rooms.

Long term care residents, acute care unit and isolation patients on any ward will no longer receive visitors.

Gosling (children’s) Unit will allow limited visits by parents only, and Maternity visiting will stay the same as before, with one designated support person able to attend the birth and visit once a day if the mother stays longer than 24 hours.

The Emergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will return to allowing patients only to attend. A companion will only be allowed if the patient is a minor (under 18), a vulnerable adult who needs a carer, or is combative. Any person experiencing symptoms that could be COVID-19 are reminded to call first and not just turn up, as it puts other vulnerable patients waiting at risk.

Free wifi is available at BHB for patients and residents, so they can stay in touch by phone or video.

Inpatient visitation guidelines from Wednesday 8 September by area:

• Acute Care Wing inpatient units (KEMH)
(Ace Barber, Ascendant Partner Re, and Catlin Lindo)
No visitation, other than in exceptional circumstances (such as end of life).

• Intensive Care Unit
One designated individual between noon-2pm and 4-6pm.

• Gosling Ward
Only parents can visit.

• Isolation patients on any ward (MWI and KEMH) (Isolation patients either have a confirmed infectious disease, such as COVID-19, or are waiting for test results. All patients admitted are tested for COVID-19 and are on isolation until they receive a negative results)
No visitors, other than in truly exceptional circumstances (such as end of life). Individuals must be approved by the unit manager before visiting.

• Long term care residents (MWI and KEMH) and Curtis Ward
(KEMH: Cooper, Gordon, Curtis and Perry Units; MWI: Devon Lodge, Reid Ward and all group homes)
No visitation allowed, other than in exceptional circumstances (such as end of life)

• Agape House
No visitors for long stay patients at Agape House. Patients in their last phase of dying will be allowed two visitors in the room at a time who will be required to wear full personal protective equipment.

• Maternity
One designated support person can attend the birth and up to eight hours afterwards. If mom stays on the ward longer than 24 hours, the support person can visit for up to four hours once a day. Doulas will be permitted for labour and delivery only.

7 September 2021 Home Page, News