By MELISSA SMITH
The results are in for the McMaster Community Engagement and Reputation study for the Niagara Health System (NHS) begun in July.
The survey report on Nov. 9 has shown “there is a significant lack of trust in the Niagara Health System, related to its negative reputation.”
The study was conducted by Dr. Terry Flynn, an assistant professor of communications management in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University in Hamilton, and Rebecca Edgar, studying for her Master of Communications Management degree at McMaster. Edgar also teaches at Niagara College in the Environmental Management and Assessment Graduate Certificate program.
The purpose of the survey was to obtain a “deeper understanding of the various thoughts and opinions of the Niagara Region residents.”
The survey was composed of more than 530 stratified random sample telephone surveys, 1,550 online survey responses, 300 community newspaper print surveys, 27 in-depth interviews with community leaders, 4,000 lines of personal comments and a larger look into the past seven years of media coverage regarding the NHS.
The results indicate Niagara Region residents were “highly engaged” in participating in the surveys provided.
But the NHS is the subject of another analysis report, expected from NHS supervisor Dr. Kevin Smith.
With the health ministry’s appointment of Smith in late August, an ongoing feedback review of the health system is under way.
Niagara Falls Liberal MPP Kim Craitor says Smith has conducted “these reviews before, and with his skills and ability track record, the results have been positive in the past.”
“[Smith] is talking with doctors, nurses, mayors — anyone and everyone that would like to see him. He doesn’t tend to make many comments on how things are going with [the review], as it will take him six or seven months to put together a report,” said Craitor.
Smith participates in a blog on the NHS website and encourages feedback from Niagara region residents.
He blogged an apology statement on Nov. 7 following 82-year-old Doreen Wallace’s fall in the Greater Niagara General Hospital’s entranceway, where hospital staff responded by calling for an
ambulance rather than directly assisting her.
“This incident does represent poor judgment by some members of our team, as well as management’s failure to ensure the clarity of our processes and procedures for assisting individuals in distress and communication of our standard of care.”
Craitor said, “The nurses who were on duty did not have enough staff on duty to properly help and needed special skills to move her [Wallace]. From looking at other reports, there’s more to it, but when you help a certain person, you need particular people to pick her up properly.”
Smith also added, “A small working group has been struck to review all NHS codes to ensure we are aligned with peer hospitals, to be completed by Nov. 18.”
The NHS is examining the McMaster Community Engagement and Reputation study report in close detail with Flynn to “develop an action plan to address his findings and recommendations” and thanks the community for their “willingness to work with us and Dr. Flynn in finding solutions to our challenges.”