Fredericton Heart Function Clinic celebrates first anniversary The Heart Function Clinic at Horizon’s
Atlantic Sleep Centre: 20 years of excellence
The Atlantic Sleep Centre at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital is proud to be celebrating its 20th anniversary. The Atlantic Sleep Centre opened its doors to patients on Feb. 5, 1999 under the direction of Dr. Rachel Morehouse and manager Terry Walker, Registered Polysomnographic Technologist (RPSGT). Since then, the centre has seen over 10,000 patients and has performed more than 8,000 in-lab sleep studies. Patients come from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and have ranged in age from 16-months-old to 96-years-old. The Atlantic Sleep Centre became the first sleep centre in Canada to become accredited through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine on Aug. 16, 2005. This accreditation was effective for five years and the centre was recertified again in 2010 and 2015. Staff plan on always keeping the accreditation through renewals. The Atlantic Sleep Centre organized and hosted the first Maritime Technical Sleep Conference in May 2005. This conference attracted sleep technologists, respiratory therapists and nurses from across the Maritimes, offering a forum for discussions and education on the latest information in the field of sleep. It was a lot of work but the results exceeded expectations. The sleep centre hosted the conference again in 2007, and every two years thereafter, alternating hosting duties with the Queen Elizabeth II Sleep Centre in Halifax until the final conference was held in 2011. In October 2017, the Atlantic Sleep Centre started an outpatient Level 3 Sleep Study program, and since then there have been 3,165 referrals. Staff have collaborated with the hospital’s Heart Failure Clinic for many years to identify patients that should be referred to the sleep centre, and in 2018 the sleep centre began collaborating with the Diabetes Education Centre to identify diabetes patients that should be referred to the Atlantic Sleep Centre.
The sleep centre’s technologists have been involved in several community-based talks over the last 20 years, including theProgram for Intensive Life Skills (PILS) PILS program through Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Community Mental Health Program, The ABZzzz’s of Sleep at the Saint John Public Library through Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Community Health Centre and a Sleep Information Session for Horizon’s Ridgewood Addiction Services. The team has also made presentations on sleep and given talks and presentations (too numerous to mention) over the past 20 years. Research has been important to the Atlantic Sleep Centre over the last 20 years, too. Dr. Morehouse had been conducting research since the centre’s beginnings, and Dr. Sullivan has joined her in this endeavour when he joined in January 2005. In total, 18 research studies have been completed. The topics of these research studies have included insomnia, obesity and PTSD, narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome and comparing Level 3 sleep studies (at-home studies) to Level 1 sleep studies (gold standard in-lab studies). The Atlantic Sleep Centre team currently consists of: three physicians, Dr. Glen Sullivan, director; Dr. Rachel Morehouse; and Dr. Graham Bishop (Dr. Prakash Joshi retired from the Sleep Centre in 2007); one clinical coordinator and Chief Registered Polysomnography Technologist, Holly Stuart (a temporary position, as Andrea Savoy is on leave of absence); four Registered Polysomnography Technologists, Barb Richard, Tracey Aylward, Janna Morin and Laura Woodhouse; a secretary, Wendy Hayes and, a receptionist, Kim Bailey. Thank you to the Atlantic Sleep Centre team for 20 successful years! The Atlantic Sleep Centre invites all staff and the public to its Open House on Friday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to noon for tours and light refreshments.
Woodbridge Centre recently celebrated one year of providing heart failure patients in the Fredericton area with timely and specialized care and support. Staff at the clinic, which welcomed its first patients in January 2018, assess and manage the symptoms and medications of heart failure patients and support positive behaviour and lifestyle changes, such as diet and physical activity. Rachel Garland, the clinic’s full-time registered nurse, is the heart of the clinic. Heart failure patients have a very high incidence of readmission and 50 per cent could die within the first five years of diagnosis. However, if managed, they can live longer, with a better quality of life. That’s why having a Heart Function Clinic, where Rachel can see these patients more timely and with specialized care, is so important. “We work on making sure they understand their conditions and what they can do to prevent hospitalizations,” said Rachel. Their close relationship allows her to recognize when something is going wrong. She helps
Rachel Garland, Colleen Donnelly and Julie Harding are photographed in Rachel’s office at the Heart Function Clinic at Horizon’s Woodbridge Centre. Not pictured is Dr. Jeffrey Moore.
She also works closely with the neighbouring cardiac rehabilitation clinic, as they share resources like admin support, a dietitian and other disciplines. They’ve already seen an increase in positive outcomes for patients who have been referred to the Heart Function Clinic, a decrease in hospitalization for clinic patients, less time in hospital for those who are admitted, and overall cost savings on the health care system. From a director’s perspective, Colleen Donnelly, administrative director Administrative Director for Women & Children’s Health and Ambulatory Care Clinics in the Fredericton area, said starting a new clinic that has such a close relationship with its patients, is extremely exciting and overwhelming. “It’s phenomenal to see the positive impact that Rachel has made with the Heart Function Clinic,” said Colleen. The team experienced common challenges associated with setting up a new program, but were supported by the two other Heart Function Clinics within Horizon, located at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital and Saint John Regional Hospital. There are now six heart function clinics in New Brunswick (the other three under Vitalité), and they hope to eventually develop a network and program standards for all the six clinics.
them make small changes in their daily life, such as cutting down on high-salt meals and providing education on the signs and symptoms of fluid overloading. Being that support and being able to provide early intervention instills confidence in her patients, many who wish they’d had this type of clinic years earlier. “I know quite a few people that have benefitted from this clinic,” said nurse manager Julie Harding. “They do need to be seen by somebody who knows what they’re doing and can save that trip to the Emergency Room because maybe it is just a slight medication adjustment and follow-up with bloodwork that Rachel can do so well.” Follow-up patients take a Minnesota Living with Heart Failure questionnaire, which provides their health care professionals with information on the more subjective aspects of their lives, such as depression and anxiety, on intake and six months later. The team can tailor each patient’s treatment through follow-up appointments, phone calls and nurse- and physician-led clinics. Rachel works collaboratively with cardiologists and internists for the best possible medication and treatment plans, who make the referrals for any patient who would be at the clinic. Together, they follow a very specific type of triple therapy, outlined by the Canadian Vascular Society Guidelines.
The Atlantic Sleep Centre team, pictured here, is celebrating 20 years of excellence in patient care and research. Missing from the photo is LauraWoodhouse.
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