A decrease in staff injuries, dysphagia management, and awards discussed at Northern Health’s board meeting

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During a meeting last Wednesday, the Northern Health Board recognized the work underway by Workplace Health and Safety to reduce staff injuries and lost time in health care facilities across northern BC.

From 2010 to 2015, Northern Health says they have seen a decrease in the duration of lost time for WorkSafeBC claims.

This decreased has also resulted in a decrease in claim dollars; the programs that have been put in place have prevented people from becoming injured in the workplace, thus saving Northern Health over $1.1 million.

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“We want our staff and physicians to work in a safe environment, and for them to know that there is support available if they are injured at work,” said Dr. Charles Jago, Northern Health Board Chair.

“A focus on our people is a pillar of the Northern Health Strategic Plan and these results are a reflection of the work that is being done.”

Programs that have been implemented include:

  • The Violence Prevention Program,
  • The WorkSafeBC High Risk Strategy,
  • The Workplace Health and Safety Orientation for new hires and their managers,
  • improving inspection guidelines for Workplace Health and Safety,
  • and a work alone check-in program.

The Regional Dysphagia Management Team also presented to the Board of Directors the work they have been doing with clinicians and patients.

Dysphagia is a term used to describe difficulty, discomfort and disorders associated with swallowing. The regional team told the board it has created better methods for screening people who live in long term care facilities to identify those who are experiencing dysphagia.

“We want to ensure the people we serve are getting the best care possible,” said Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health’s President and Chief Executive Officer. She said the collaboration with the Dysphagia Management Team helps Northern Health improve the quality of life for the people living with the condition.

Also celebrated by the Northern Health Board were nominations and accolades for:


  • HEABC Golden Apple Awards
    • Heather Floris, Head Nurse at St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof received a Health Care Hero golden apple
    • The Duty to Accommodate Pilot Project received an Award of Merit. The Duty to Accommodate Pilot Project is a collaboration with HR Operations and disability management for Northern Health and Interior Health
  • Canadian HR Awards 2015
    • Northern Health, with Interior Health, were finalists for The Winds of Change Award for Best Health and Wellness Strategy for corporate health and well-being – ultimately losing to the David Suzuki Foundation.
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