Emergency Department

It takes a great deal of teamwork and efficiency to manage an Emergency Department that provides care to 76,000 patients a year – a 20% increase in just four years. Everything from broken bones to life-threatening illnesses are daily challenges and this team is doing exemplary work to meet the increasing demand for services, identifying opportunities for quality improvement, and enhancing patient safety.

Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) is situated in British Columbia’s Okanagan region and is one of two Interior Health tertiary referral hospitals. Their Emergency Services operates 24/7 and follows a patient and family-centred approach to care delivery. John Cabral, Director, Demetrios Karogiannis, Manager, and Joyce Hebert, Quality Patient Care Coordinator, are a dynamic team with over 30 years of Emergency healthcare experience between them. Together with Dr. Devin Harris, they’ve implemented some changes on the unit to improve efficiency, communication, and safety, turning to BC PSLS to understand where these improvements are needed most.

“The growth we’ve seen over the past few years has been challenging, but there are also a lot of opportunities for us in many ways,” says John. “BC PSLS has been part of helping us to fine-tune these improvements – it stops the conversation that an event is a one in a million case because it’s probably not.”

One of the most significant steps in the unit’s transformation has been to establish a new role that focuses on safety event investigation, staff education, and data analysis of trends in BC PSLS. Joyce was appointed to the role in January and has been working closely with staff ever since, providing guidance and leadership to promote learning and improvement among care specialities and programs.

“Since I came into this new role, I’ve noticed that staff is more aware of patient safety and they feel more comfortable talking about it,” she says. “They have a better understanding of why reporting is important for making positive change in our area. And, we’re working more closely with other areas of the hospital so we can build stronger partnerships – there’s more discussion about how we can improve the system together.”

A new quality and safety dashboard allows Emergency Services staff to see where the majority of events are occurring on their unit and, when possible, how this data correlates with Accreditation Canada’s Required Organization Practices for falls prevention and narcotics safety, for example.

KGH Emergency Services staff: (l to r) Jessica Baskerville, Patient Care Coordinator, Dr. Jen Williams, Betty Dube, Registered Nurse

KGH Emergency Services staff stand next to their quality and safety dashboard: (l to r) Jessica Baskerville, Patient Care Coordinator, Dr. Jen Williams, Betty Dube, Registered Nurse

“Our dashboard is not as sophisticated as we’d like it to be, but it’s a foundational step to where we want to go in the future,” says John. “The next phase is looking at this information from an aggregate perspective and communicating our findings with the staff by sharing stories that come out of safety events – that makes the data more meaningful to them.”

Staff safety huddles are a daily activity that KGH Emergency Services takes pride in. These meetings promote open dialogue about process improvement, rather than finger-pointing at people or services when something doesn’t go as planned.

“For me, that’s the key take away of PSLS – using the system as an active process,” says Demetri. “That’s what I value in the system because it gives us the ability to connect with other people in the hospital who are also committed to improving quality of care and patient safety.” 

Lastly, as part of her new role, Joyce assists Handlers with closing-off overdue BC PSLS events, an important step to optimize learning and improvement. “The volume of events in PSLS can be overwhelming for Handlers, so I help them with that because I think it’s a great opportunity to educate staff and talk about how we can do better.”

Kudos to KGH Emergency Services!

BC PSLS Central Office would like to acknowledge the staff at Kelowna General Hospital Emergency Services for making patient safety a priority. Thank you!

Additional blog stories about Emergency Services in BC:

John Cabral has been in healthcare for more than 30 years. He trained as a Pharmacist in Grand Prairie, Alberta, and has filled several leadership roles throughout his career. He moved to Kelowna four years ago to take on the role of Director, Health Services – Critical Care, and is responsible for Emergency, Ambulatory Care, Spiritual Care, Volunteer Services and emergency planning for KGH. 

You can reach John by email at john.cabral@interiorhealth.ca

Demetrios (Demetri) Karogiannis started his nursing career in 2001 in Neurosciences at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Alberta. He moved into Emergency nursing in 2004 and later moved to Kelowna as Patient Care Coordinator for Emergency Services at Kelowna General Hospital in 2009. He was appointed Manager of Emergency Services in April 2016.

You can reach Demetri by email at demetrios.karogiannis@interiorhealth.ca

Joyce Hebert has worked as an Emergency Nurse for over 30 years and has been with Kelowna General Hospital for 23 years. Prior to that, she worked at Royal Inland Hospital for nine years. She was appointed Quality Patient Care Coordinator in January 2016.

You can reach Joyce by email at joyce.hebert@interiorhealth.ca


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