Safety First: Southbridge Capital Inc. helps support an innovative solution for staff and patients

This article is being republished with the permission of the Sinai Health Foundation.

‘Preventative medicine’ is taking on a new meaning at Mount Sinai Hospital where a proactive approach to keeping both patients and staff safe has just been recognized with a national award. The 2015 National Healthcare Safety Award from the Canadian College of Health Leaders celebrated the success of Mount Sinai’s Safe Patients/Safe Staff Program, which provides resources to help staff safely and effectively care for patients who are at risk of aggressive or dangerous behavior while in hospital. Southbridge Capital Inc. is a major funder of Safe Patients/Safe Staff™, and is working with the program’s developers to explore how some of its key features can be adapted for use in long-term-care environments through Southbridge Care Homes.

Hospital stays can be very distressing and disorienting for some patients, particularly elderly patients who suffer from dementia or other mental health issues. Certain health conditions can also cause delirium in patients with no history of mental illness. The result can be impulsive or defensive behaviour that can put patients at risk by compromising their care, and increasing the likelihood of staff experiencing harm and burn-out as they care for these patients.

The program has two key areas of focus:

  • Identifying risk factors for dangerous behavior early, before an incident takes place. This ensures that staff can deliver compassionate care and ease vulnerable patients through stressful situations. It is done using staff training, electronic screening of medical chart and regular updates at meetings.
  • Mobilizing of a special team of nurses called BOOST (Behavioural Optimization and Outcome Support Team), who immediately perform an assessment and engage any specialists required. Led by clinical nurse specialists Carla Loftus and Mavis Afriyie-Boateng, BOOST is always on-call. Together with the original care team, they determine a strategy for managing the risk and a care plan that will meet the patient’s needs.


“This award speaks to the national leadership of the Safe Patients/Safe Staff Program,” said Dr. Molyn Leszcz, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital. “We are very proud of the team for creating an innovative solution to this growing challenge. This is an important part of our efforts to treat the whole patient, offering an integrated approach to care for both the body and mind by bringing together our medical and psychiatric expertise.”

Mount Sinai is a national leader in the care of older Canadians.  Leading the development of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy is Mount Sinai’s own Director of Geriatrics, Dr. Samir Sinha.  Of the partnership, Dr. Sinha remarked, “Mount Sinai is immensely grateful for this investment by Southbridge Capital Inc.  New, innovative models of care that ensure that our older patients receive the right care, at the right time are best developed by clinical leaders, with public and philanthropic partnerships. I believe that the Safe Patients/Safe Staff™ program is a terrific example of this partnership and will serve as a best practice for other health-care facilities.”

“Keith McIntosh, President and CEO of Southbridge Capital stated, “We congratulate Mt. Sinai’s on their winning of the 2015 National Healthcare Safety Award from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.  We are pleased to continue to partner with one of Canada’s most respected hospitals to develop this innovative solution to a very pressing issue that face both hospitals and long-term care homes.”

Safe Patients/Safe Staff is the type of innovative program that may be adapted for different care environments as we continue to build Sinai Health System, an integrated health system comprising of Mount Sinai Hospital, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Institute and Circle of Care.