Pauline Gemmell

Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic AGM features CAO as guest speaker

By Jonathan Martin

 

The Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic presented its annual report June 20, where Amherstburg CAO John Miceli stepped up as the night’s guest speaker.

Miceli lauded the clinic’s “notable success,” but also provided a little bit more insight into Amherstburg’s own plans to adopt the clinic’s programming.

Miceli brought the listeners back to Aug. 21, 2017, when Amherstburg Councillor Diane Pouget put forward a unanimously supported motion that “administration should be directed to investigate the number of family physicians and the availability of current and future services to residents of Amherstburg.”

Miceli then brought a report before council on Oct. 23, 2017 outlining provincial funding to expand primary care services for $15.5 million.

He was given a resolution that “the CAO be directed to work with Pauline Gemmell, executive director of Essex County nurse practitioner-led clinic, to develop a business case and apply for grant funding for the expansion and enhancing of interprofessional primary care for the Town of Amherstburg.”

Amherstburg CAO John Miceli speaks at the Essex County Nurse
Practitioner-led Clinic AGM June 20 in Essex.

Council voted in favour.

It supported the initiative for two reasons, according to Miceli.  First, he says it was an opportunity to broaden the Amherstburg health care network and provide Amherstburg residents with access to additional front-line medical professionals.  Secondly, it allowed the town to partner with the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic.  Miceli said the clinic has a “proven, success model” and that the program’s success is “known in (Amherstburg).”

Miceli said the clinic is doing an “exceptional job, which makes me grateful, because it makes my job easy.”

Miceli confirms that the new clinic will be located at the old St. Bernard School at 320 Richmond St., which he described as a “great location.”  He reiterated that the clinic will be part of the town’s planned seniors’ hub, but that it would be open to residents of any age.  In fact, he emphasized that the town’s new high school will be located just across the street at the southern 15 acres of Centennial Park.

“Acquiring St. Bernard’s was strategic,” he said.  “We knew we wanted to have programming with the new high school and knew that we wanted intergenerational programming.”

The CAO did recognize that Amherstburg’s senior population is growing quickly, though.  At present, seniors make up around 20 per cent of the town’s residents.  Within the next three to four years, that number is expected to leap up five percentage points.

Miceli said he expects the clinic to be open by the end of 2018 or in early 2019, which he expects will allow the town to meet the increased medical demand.

Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic approved for Amherstburg

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The nurse practitioner-led clinic that is likely to be moving into the former St. Bernard School is one step closer to reality.

The clinic has received official approval from the province and will be part of the seniors’ hub that is planned for the former Richmond St. school. The Town of Amherstburg recently announced it will purchase the school building from the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board for $550,000.

In a letter from Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell to CAO John Miceli that was included as part of Monday night’s agenda, Gemmell advised of the approval.

“I am very pleased to share with you that on April 30, 2018 I received notification from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that the application to expand access to lnterprofessional Primary Care Teams to the community of Amherstburg was approved,” Gemmell wrote. “Through this expansion, the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic is committed to providing services to the unattached patient population in the town of Amherstburg with a focus on patients that are at risk of prevalence of chronic disease or frail/elderly.”

Gemmell said the Amherstburg clinic will have three full-time nurse practitioners, a registered dietitian, a health promoter, physiotherapy services, a full-time registered practical nurse, an office administrator and a full-time receptionist

“This team will target 2,400 patients,” she said.

The Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Essex is expanding to Amherstburg. The province has approved a clinic and it is expected to locate in the former St. Bernard School.

Gemmell told the RTT that “this story began last August when Caroline Davies, a nurse practitioner in the community suggested that I should consider bringing service to the town. I had several conversations with the CAO of the town John Miceli and the business case was written with input from the community. We held several town hall type meetings bringing our team to Amherstburg to respond to questions and provide information. We were joined at these meetings by our board of directors president Michael Lavoie, our Clinical Lead Nurse Practitioner Kate Bolohan, Miceli and Amherstburg nurse practitioner Caroline Davies.”

At a public meeting in March, Miceli told residents that the aim is to have the clinic open later in 2018 or by early 2019 and the clinic would take up about 4,300 square feet of the roughly 30,000 square St. Bernard School building. Kate Bolohan, a nurse practitioner and clinical lead at the Essex County clinic, said at the same meeting that appointments are roughly 15-30 minutes in length and can involve other health professionals to help treat the needs of the specific patient.

There are roughly 25 in the province with NP-led clinics within the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) currently being in Essex, Lakeshore and Sarnia. The Essex County Nurse-Led Practitioner Clinic also operates an “outreach site” on Drouillard Road in Windsor.

“I think people will be really happy with the service,” said Gemmell.

Public meetings held regarding proposed nurse practitioner-led clinic

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Town of Amherstburg hosted two public meetings last week on a proposed nurse practitioner-led clinic for the community.

The first meeting was held last Wednesday evening at Amherstburg town hall while the second was held Friday morning at the Libro Centre with the bulk of the attendees being seniors. Those fielding questions included CAO John Miceli, Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell, members of Gemmell’s team and local nurse practitioner Carolyn Davies.

Miceli told residents that the aim is to have the clinic open later in 2018 or by early 2019 and the clinic would take up about 4,300 square feet of the roughly 30,000 square St. Bernard School building. The town and Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board are currently in arbitration trying to settle a dispute on the value of the building, located at 320 Richmond St., as the town wants to purchase it for a seniors’ hub.

The town is undertaking a seniors’ master plan to confirm programming and community needs “for the fastest growing sector of our town’s population,” Miceli said, adding that plan should be completed this year.

AO John Miceli and members of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic make a presentation at a public meeting held last Friday morning at the Libro Centre.

While nurse practitioners may consult with a physician, they would provide primary care to residents themselves. People of all ages can use a nurse practitioner-led clinic and such clinics can offer a variety of services from chiropractors, physiotherapists, diabetes care, nutrition and cooking, women’s health and social work.

It was also learned at the public meetings that those enrolled in a nurse practitioner-led clinic may also be eligible for home visits from staff.

“It’s very exciting,” said Michael Lavoie, president of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-led Clinic’s board of directors. “It’s something new, something innovative.”

Lavoie quoted statistics from a recent survey the clinic had done which showed those enrolled at the clinic were overwhelmingly satisfied with the care they received with 98 per cent of people stating they would recommend it to family and friends.

“I’m excited for the future of health care not just for our clinic, but for our region,” said Lavoie.

Whether or not such a clinic comes to Amherstburg depends on funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care but Miceli said it would have a major positive impact if approved.

“If we get the funding for this, it’s going to increase the quality of life for many of our residents,” said Miceli. “I truly believe that.”

Tina Heeren said she looks after some friends and believed “there are a lot of health issues in this town.” Heeren said there are many who need help “and they are not getting it” as many have difficulty leaving their homes.

Local nurse practitioner Carolyn Davies fields a question at a March 2 public meeting at the Libro Centre.

John McDonald called a nurse practitioner-led clinic an “intriguing” option and suggested outreach into churches to gain further access and knowledge of who needs assistance. Kathy Hay said she hopes it does come, as people of all ages could use the clinic.

Gemmell said services at a nurse practitioner-led clinic are funded by OHIP and emphasized that people would receive primary care from a nurse practitioner.

“It’s a different kind of care,” she said.

Kate Bolohan, a nurse practitioner and clinical lead at the Essex County clinic, said appointments are roughly 15-30 minutes in length and can involve other health professionals to help treat the needs of the specific patient.

Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic executive director Pauline Gemmell and board chair Michael Lavoie listen to a question during a March 2 public meeting.

“We all work together,” said Bolohan. “It’s a great collaborative effort from all angles.”

Gemmell pointed out she has received letters of support from a wide range of people in the community and provided letters of support that were left at town hall that people can sign, if interested. Those letters will be given to Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, who will bring them to the Ministry of Health.

No timelines were given for when a funding announcement could be made, but Gemmell indicated there are rumours that something could be announced before March 31.

Nurse practitioner-led clinic coming to Amherstburg?

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Could a nurse-practitioner (NP)-led clinic be coming to Amherstburg?

There are roughly 25 in the province with NP-led clinics within the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) currently being in Essex, Lakeshore and Sarnia, said Pauline Gemmell, executive director of the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic, located on Victoria Ave. in the Town of Essex.

There is also an outreach clinic in Windsor, she added.

“They are led by nurse practitioners. There are no physicians other than collaborative doctors,” explained Gemmell. “Nurse practitioners will see you, do physicals, diagnose you and order tests. It’s a unique model of care.”

There is the possibility that a similar clinic could come to Amherstburg, said Gemmell, and she helped write the business case for it.

“We have a lot of interest and support from the residents of the Town of Amherstburg. Town council passed a resolution at their Oct. 23 meeting to have CAO John Miceli work with me to develop the business case,” said Gemmell. “One of the most important things is to make sure the community is behind it.”

According to Gemmell, many seniors in the community have said they would love to have an NP clinic within the community.

“I have letters of endorsement from the Golden Age Club, the Amherstburg Family Health Team, pharmacists, business owners, (Essex-Windsor) EMS Chief Bruce Krauter, police chief Tim Berthiaume, Amherstburg’s mayor, former deputy mayor, the physician recruiter Joan Mavrinac, Chamber of Commerce and more,” she said.

Two public meetings are scheduled on the matter, the first being Feb. 28 at town hall from 5-6:30 p.m. The second is planned for March 2 in the Libro Centre’s “Energy Zone” room from 10-11:30 a.m.

“It’s good to know what the community thinks,” said Gemmell. “Community consultation is always a good idea.”

The Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic in Essex could expand to Amherstburg. Public consultations are planned for Feb. 28 at town hall and March 2 at the Libro Centre.

Gemmell believes that the town’s rising senior population could play a factor.

“I think one of the things that the ministry may be interested in seeing is how engaged the community is in bringing health care to the community. Amherstburg’s senior population over the age of 65 is rising,” she said. “Currently 20 per cent of the population is over 65 and this is expected to increase to 25 per cent over the next three years.”

Gemmell said, if the community wants a NP-led clinic and the province approves it, it would run very similarly to the one in Essex. She added it would even operate under the same board of directors.

“It works really well (in Essex),” said Gemmell, who is an Amherstburg resident.

It could work well in Amherstburg as well, she added.

“We have a safe community with a lot of historical interest and seniors are interested in retiring there. A good local municipal police service along with excellent health care delivered by a team of nurse practitioners is the ideal scenario for a happy, safe and healthy retirement,” she said.

The Essex and Windsor clinics have a total of four nurse practitioners (NPs), a social worker, registered dietitian, registered practical nurses, registered nurses, physiotherapist, chiropractor, and a massage therapist. All services are paid for by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, said Gemmell.

“The NP clinic is led by nurse practitioners who practice in a team based model, “she noted. “We have some unique services such as health promotion programs which are based on identified patient needs, home visits for patients identified by the NP as being at risk, diabetes education classes etc. Our strength is in our collaborations within our team and with the external organizations that we work with for the benefit of our patients.”

Amherstburg Police Service recognizes officers, civilians… and a dog

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police Service’s annual awards night honoured those with two legs as well as those with four last Tuesday night.

The awards dinner, held at Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant, saw four officers, two civilians, an organization and – for the first time ever – a dog recognized as part of the night.

A Citizen Recognition Award went to Macie, a golden retriever owned by the Morden family. Macie went outside through her doggie door the morning of Aug. 19 and noticed something strange. She began barking loud enough so her owners would check what was going on.

The winners of awards at the Amherstburg Police Service awards dinner gather for a group photo. From left: Chief Tim Berthiaume (with Grant Morden and Macie), Jodi Ouellette and Joanna Conrad from the Essex County Diversion Program, town fleet mechanic Randy Riediger, Pauline Gemmell, Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien and Sgt. Mike Cox. Absent are Sgt. Don Brown (25-year service award) and Sr. Const. Sean Gazdig (10-year service award).

“When Julie Morden looked out the window, she noticed that her vehicle door was open,” said Const. Steve Owen, the community services officer and master of ceremonies for the award presentations. “As a result, police were contacted and within 15 minutes a male was arrested in the area with several stolen items located on him that had been taken from numerous vehicles in the area.”

Also honoured with a Citizen Recognition Award was Pauline Gemmell, who served on the Amherstburg Police Services Board (APSB).

The Community Partnership Award went to the Essex County Diversion Program. Youth justice case manager Jodi Ouellette (left) and executive director Joanna Conrad (right) accept the award from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

“During this time, the service has maintained a competitive budget while improving the look of our police vehicles and implementing new equipment such as less lethal shotguns, carbine rifles, and body cameras. The town was also one of the safest town’s in Canada during her tenure,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents a Citizen Recognition Award to Pauline Gemmell.

The Essex County Diversion Program was honoured with the Community Partnership Award.

“The Essex County Diversion Program seeks to promote and foster a healthy community by providing timely and effective intervention with at-risk youth. For those who are not familiar with extrajudicial measures, it is a program that allows youth to avoid going to court and receiving a sentence, by taking responsibility for their actions and making amends for the wrongs that they have done, through methods such as rehabilitation, community service, paying for damages, and apologizing to those they have affected,” Owen stated. “They also offer outreach programs which act as a preventative strategy to educate youth on a variety of topics such as bullying, sexting, drugs abuse, and video game addictions to name a few. Youth Diversion is a strong partner of the Amherstburg Police service and the community of Amherstburg.”

Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien receives a 25-year service award from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

Officers receiving long-service awards included Sr. Const. Sean Gazdig, who was recognized for ten years of service. Gazdig was unable to attend the dinner.

Gazdig began his policing career in 2005 with the London Police Service and was later hired in 2007 by the Amherstburg Police Service. He began working in general patrol and is now in the traffic enforcement unit. He is a trained police motorcycle operator and he acts as a coach officer to newly hired constables.

“Each year Sean participates as an instructor for annual firearms training for the officers of both the Amherstburg and Windsor police,” Owen added.

Two officers were recognized with 25-year service awards.

Chief Tim Berthiaume presents Sgt. Mike Cox (left) with a 30-year service award.

Sr. Const. Margaret O’Brien began her policing career with the Amherstburg Police Service in 1992. She is currently a detective in the criminal investigations division.

“Maggie has received training in interviewing and interrogation, search warrant writing, asset forfeiture, and is a certified property and evidence specialist to name a few of the assets she brings to the service,” Owen pointed out.

Sgt. Don Brown, who was also unable to attend the dinner, also began with the Amherstburg Police Service in 1992. His background includes being a patrol constable, marine operator, patrol sergeant and is now the detective sergeant in the criminal investigations division.

Randy Riediger (left) receives a Chief’s Award of Excellence from Chief Tim Berthiaume.

“Don has been trained in many areas including investigating offences against children, investigative interviewing and has been a trained breath technician,” said Owen.

Receiving a 30-year service award was Sgt. Mike Cox, who began his policing career in Amherstburg in 1987.

“Mike Cox was a community police officer before there was community policing. Mike has been a fixture with our local community living organization and with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics,” said Owen. “In 2004, Mike co-founded the Amherstburg Heroes, a basketball league for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Despite not seeking recognition, Mike has been recognized for his work by the community several times. Mike has received the Exemplary Service Medal, the Chief’s Award of Excellence, the Windsor Parade Corporations 911 Community Service Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the CanDo 150 Award of Distinction.”

Cox has been trained as a breath technician and coach officer to name a few of his specialties, Owen added. He has served in many roles including constable, patrol sergeant, operations sergeant, and has previously co-ordinated our auxiliary program.

Chief Tim Berthiaume recognizes Macie, a golden retriever, with a Canine Recognition Award. Holding Macie is one of her owners, Grant Morden.

The Chief’s Award of Excellence is described as “the highest award of the Amherstburg Police Service.” It is awarded to an individual, organization or institution that has made a significant contribution to the Amherstburg Police Service or the community.

Randy Riediger, a fleet mechanic with the town since 2004, was this year’s recipient and was described as “one of the hardest workers the town of Amherstburg has known.”

Owen stated “the doors at his garage are always cycling vehicles in and out and keeping our town vehicles and notably our police vehicles on the road. His relentless work ethic has allowed our police vehicles to remain in-house for service and allowed our operating budget to remain competitive and has saved money for the taxpayers.”

Riediger’s efforts assist the Amherstburg Police Service in doing its job, Owen added.

“When our residents call police for assistance and we show up, they just see the police car pull up and the police officer get out. What they don’t see are the people like Randy who keep our service operating effectively and efficiently,” said Owen.

Chief Tim Berthiaume said the awards night was created to honour officers, residents and partners of the police service.

“Taking the time to recognize their contributions brings us together and allows us to grow together,” said Berthiaume. “Our success is dependent on all of us coming together in a positive way.”

Berthiaume thanked town staff for their roles in assisting the Amherstburg Police Service and managing its $6 million budget. Berthiaume also thanked the Amherstburg Fire Department, but joked “thanks for making the Amherstburg Police Service look so good.”

Berthiaume said working together assists everyone.

“The benefit of all this hard work is the community, our community,” the chief added.