An update on PRHC: Realizing a truly regional health centre

A doctor performs a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure.

Our donors often tell us that Peterborough Regional Health Centre sometimes feels like two hospitals in one. On one hand, they say the personalized, compassionate care provided today by PRHC’s healthcare professionals reminds them of the hospitals where their children were born.

On the other hand, the outstanding calibre of care, sheer scope of service, continuous introduction of new and innovative treatment options, and arrival of world-class experts, tells a different story.

We’re not just Peterborough’s hospital anymore. And that’s good news for everyone.

Becoming a Hub Hospital

The PRHC of 2022 is a significant player in provincial healthcare delivery. A fully regional health centre with an annual operating budget of $320 million, PRHC now supports regional referrals from five smaller partner hospitals within our catchment area, including Ross Memorial Hospital, Campbellford Memorial Hospital, Northumberland Hills Hospital, Minden Hospital, and Haliburton Highlands Hospital.

In fact, PRHC was recently designated by Ontario Health East, our regional health authority, as a fully integrated “hub” for care, similar to Kingston General Hospital, Lakeridge Health, and Scarborough Health Network. That means our hospital is now a peer of GTA facilities like North York General, Humber River Hospital, and Southlake Regional Health Centre.

These leaps forward did not happen by chance. They were realized thanks to the world-class care being provided by an outstanding healthcare team – care made possible by the state-of-the-art tools they’re able to use every day thanks to donor investments.

Accolades and Adversity

We’re very proud of the care being delivered at PRHC. This spring, the hospital achieved the highest possible Accreditation Canada results, receiving the designation “Accredited with Exemplary Standing” for the second time in a row.

Recently, PRHC was also awarded Stroke Distinction in Acute and Inpatient Rehabilitation Stroke Services by Accreditation Canada for the second time, indicating national leadership in the provision of high-quality stroke care.

These accolades would be amazing accomplishments in a normal year. They’re nothing short of exceptional during an ongoing crisis.

PRHC’s leadership and staff continue to respond to the tremendous challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re also working hard to address the difficulties presented by the current healthcare human resources crisis, rising wait times, and external issues like the ongoing shortage of family doctors.

Donors are helping shoulder these burdens, giving PRHC’s healthcare professionals hope that with donor support, we can meet any challenges that come our way.

At the same time, we’re keeping our eye on the future. The need for care in our region is only increasing as our population grows and ages. We can’t lose sight of the investments that must be made now in order to respond to future needs.

Interventional Radiology: Tiny incisions with extraordinary impact

Interventional radiology is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of emergency and chronic health conditions – without major surgery. Because it involves only a small incision and no general anesthetic, it results in less pain and shorter hospital stays.

To treat a much wider range of patient conditions and to pave the way for new, lifesaving therapies in the near future, we’re working with donors to invest $6 million into expanding PRHC’s two existing Interventional Radiology suites, building a new step-down unit, and furnishing all with the latest technology.

Cancer Care: Expert treatment, compassionate care

With your support, we’re also investing $13 million in excellence in cancer care so we can serve more patients, support earlier diagnosis, and ensure safer and more effective treatments. This includes technology like a second MRI, to allow for an additional 5,000 procedures a year (representing a 53% growth in volume), so our oncologists can help more cancer patients who have no time to wait.

A Bold Vision

PRHC has a bold vision for the future: to be the go-to large acute care hospital for patients between Kingston and the GTA. But to get there, we need you by our side.

We hope you’ll consider supporting our hospital this holiday season. Together, we’ll shape the future of healthcare in our region.

New $3.55 million donor-funded Cardiac Cath Lab is keeping all our hearts here

Dr. Warren Ball, PRHC Interventional Cardiologist and Head of Division, Cardiology

We’re very happy to share that PRHC’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory reinvestment is now complete!

The two existing Cath Lab suites have been entirely renovated and upgraded, and began functioning at full capacity this fall. In the first month that both suites were operational, there were 324 Cath Lab visits, including 279 angiograms and 117 cardiac stenting procedures – some actually performed while a heart attack was taking place!

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Dr. Andrew Kelly joins the Cardiac Cath Lab team

Dr. Andrew Kelly, PRHC Interventional Cardiologist

PRHC was pleased to welcome Dr. Andrew Kelly earlier this summer. An interventional cardiologist, Dr. Kelly joins Dr. Warren Ball, Dr. Phong Nguyen-Ho and Dr. Katy Shufelt as the newest physician on the Cardiac Cath Lab team.

Dr. Kelly completed his medical degree at Ross University and went on to do residency training at the University of Connecticut for Internal Medicine and McMaster University for Cardiology, followed by a Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at McMaster University.

Donor investment in new state-of-the-art Cath Lab facilities was critical to PRHC’s ability to bring Dr. Kelly to our hospital and reflects the growth of this vital regional service. Thank you!

Patient grateful for donor-funded tools used to diagnose and treat her cancer, close to home

Smiling woman standing outside the PRHC

Tracey Germa’s mammogram was supposed to be routine, but a few days later she was back at PRHC for an ultrasound, then a biopsy. With invasive ductal carcinoma confirmed, Tracey had a mastectomy.

“Since then I’ve been grateful, again and again, to PRHC’s doctors, nurses, and staff for their expert care and their compassion,” she says.

Tracey is also thankful to donors, who funded the tools her team used to diagnose and treat her close to home.

“From the mammography machines and ultrasounds, to the surgical suites, lab equipment and Dysart Radiation Centre. Thanks to donors, I had access to leading-edge technology that helped PRHC shorten my wait times while giving my doctor the clearest results,” she says. “Our hospital gave me a better chance at surviving.”

New interventional oncology treatments pushing the envelope on cancer care treatment at PRHC

Doctor and nurse in surgery

Dr. Kebby King has been providing minimally invasive care to patients in the donor-funded interventional radiology suites at Peterborough Regional Health Centre for 14 years. During that time she’s seen a lot of innovation in her field – making interventional radiology a broad specialty that can be used to diagnose and treat patients with a variety of medical conditions.

One area that has shown a lot of innovation in the application of interventional radiology is cancer care. Known as interventional oncology, this sub-specialty can be used to treat a variety of cancers and cancer-related disease – including kidney tumours, some types of pancreatic cancers, primary liver tumours, and cancer spread to the liver from the colon, pancreas and breast, to name a few – often allowing patients with cancer more time to live their lives.

“Interventional oncology has revolutionized cancer treatment,” says Dr. King. That’s because traditional cancer care involves administering chemotherapy medication to the entire body. For PRHC cancer patients who are candidates for interventional radiology, Dr. King and her colleagues perform very targeted treatments, using catheters and wires guided through tiny incisions in the skin and blood vessels, to focus precisely on the cancer.

“We’re able to specifically target the cancer,” explains Dr. King. “Either by delivering a higher dose of drugs to the target or by performing ablation or microwave therapy to kill the tumour directly.”

“We’re bombarding the cancer with all the good stuff to try to stem its spread and growth,” she says. “And because it’s so targeted, it has fewer side effects for the patient and it can be done on an outpatient basis.” Performed without the large incisions and associated risks of open surgery, it also means less pain and recovery time for patients.

This level of advanced and complex healthcare is available in the Peterborough region as a direct result of our generous donors. But PRHC’s interventional radiology suites are now 14 years old and are too small to fit new, advanced technology and the number of medical personnel required to use it. 

Your donations now will help shape the future of interventional radiology at PRHC. You’ll enable a $6 million upgrade and expansion of the interventional radiology facilities, including state-of-the-art equipment. With this essential upgrade, Dr. King and her colleagues will be able to perform more innovative and complex, minimally invasive procedures right here, so patients can receive the best care, close to home.

For more information or to support this exciting investment, please visit prhcfoundation.ca or call 705-876-5000.

Impact Spotlight: Donor-funded ED equipment is helping save patients’ sight

A doctor examines a patient's eyes using a slit lamp

Last year, more than 76,000 patients visited Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s Emergency Department (ED) in search of urgent, expert healthcare. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s historically one of the busiest EDs in the province.

Throughout the year, emergency physician Dr. Aidan Cunniffe and his colleagues use an ophthalmology microscope known as a slit lamp up to 2,000 times to diagnose urgent eye health issues and help save patients’ sight. This essential equipment many of us have encountered during a scheduled eye exam includes a binocular microscope and a strong, concentrated light.

Used so often, the slit lamp wore out last year and was replaced – not like-for-like – but with more advanced equipment funded by PRHC Foundation donors. The new technology is more reliable and instead of incandescent light bulbs that regularly burn out, features powerful, long-lasting LED light.

Dr. Cunniffe uses the lamp to examine a patient’s eyes and get a clear, 3-D look at what is happening in and around them. By adjusting the light, he can look at different parts of the eyes and face, including the skin around the eye, the eyelids and lashes, the surface and other layers of the eye, and the retina. The lamp helps him spot foreign bodies, abrasion of the cornea, signs of impact or detachment of the retina, and infection.

“Occupational injuries are a common emergency eye health issue we see in the ED,” says Dr. Cunniffe. “Recently a patient who had been injured at work came in with a lacerated cornea – a cut into the eyeball. He’d lost his vision. The slit lamp helped me diagnose the injury quickly, expediting an emergency eye surgery to save his sight.”

It’s crucial that PRHC’s emergency doctors, nurses and staff have the technology necessary to diagnose patients and get them the best treatment as soon as possible. Because the government doesn’t fund equipment, PRHC counts on donors to fund the lifesaving and life-changing tools the hospital’s healthcare providers need – essentials like the slit lamp.

“Thank you, donors,” says Dr. Cunniffe. “Because of your generosity the new slit lamp is helping me provide vital care to patients from across the region.”

Doug Lavery sees the impacts of his monthly gifts first-hand

A volunteer stands in front of the hospital's main entrance

When Doug Lavery first started volunteering at PRHC 12 years ago, he’d already been a donor to the PRHC Foundation for decades. Doug is a way-finder at the hospital and as he helps patients and visitors navigate the building, he sees and hears about the outstanding care provided at PRHC.

“I see people coming through the front doors every day,” says Doug. “My role is to make them feel more comfortable and help them get where they need to go. If it’s appropriate, I try to lighten the situation with some conversation and I hear from them how much they appreciate the care they or a loved one are receiving.”

Doug’s family has also experienced that great care, but it was after volunteering that he understood how the quality of patient care is connected to fundraising. Because the government doesn’t fund equipment, PRHC counts on donations to fund the tools doctors, nurses and staff need to save and change lives every day.

“After volunteering and realizing the importance of what the Foundation does to support the hospital, I wanted to donate regularly. This is something I believe in,” he says. That’s why Doug became a monthly donor to the PRHC Foundation.

Consistent, ongoing support from monthly donors like Doug lets the Foundation provide both flexible and reliable funding for PRHC’s equipment needs. This means the Foundation can respond quickly to the hospital’s most urgent requests as they arise, while also providing sustainable funding for longer term planning.

Together we’ve invested in every corner of the Health Centre – something Doug witnesses every day as a volunteer. His gifts help PRHC invest in state-of-the-art technology, which then fuels innovation, brings lifesaving new services to our region, and helps the hospital attract the best and brightest healthcare professionals. Plus, monthly giving helps the Foundation save on administrative costs, making those donations – and those impacts – go even further.

“If I can contribute something to enable the hospital to acquire the best equipment, then attract the best personnel to work with that equipment, then the sky’s the limit for PRHC,” Doug explains. “Whether a donation is big or small, something positive is being done. You know you’re donating to a good cause now and for the future.”

Becoming a monthly donor is easy to do online, or for more information, please call 705-876-5000.

Impact Spotlight: First in Canada SPECT/CT bringing best possible care closer to home

A medical radiation technologist demonstrates a SPECT/CT machine

Did you know that with the help of donors, in 2019 PRHC invested in a cutting-edge new SPECT/CT machine that was the first of its kind in Canada? This state-of-the-art technology represented the biggest leap forward in nuclear medicine in over a decade.

Since its installation made possible by donor generosity, the new SPECT/CT has scanned approximately 2,000 patients a year, providing PRHC’s experts with detailed 3D images so they can more clearly identify and pinpoint the site of any abnormality, particularly tumours, diagnose and stage cancer, and determine how patients’ treatments are progressing.

SPECT/CT uses two types of scans that when combined, allow doctors to gather more precise information about a specific part of the body. Scans with this machine are higher quality, take less time and use less radiation than the machine it replaced. For patients this means a more precise and timely diagnosis, and a more comfortable and safe procedure.

“PRHC has been on the leading edge, using advanced technology like SPECT/CT to bring the best possible care closer to home for our region’s residents,” says PRHC Nuclear Medicine Charge Technologist Brad Plain. “This equipment allows us to obtain the best quality images possible in a much shorter period, helping patients feel less anxiety and discomfort during the process, and helping doctors make diagnoses and treatment decisions sooner.”