Reimagining patient education: building better tools to improve health literacy

Kidney transplant patient information booklet cover

With support from the Patient and Family Education program, Lucy Chen has learned valuable lessons to help patients with kidney disease better understand and interpret complex health information. As a frequent participant in the program’s Community of Practice sessions, Chen has embraced Unity Health Toronto’s proactive approach to tackling health literacy issues and their impacts on patient care and the hospital experience.

In the last decade, research has confirmed that low health literacy is associated lower adherence to medication, poor chronic disease management and outcomes, and increased hospitalization.

 In response, the program’s team has created workshops and courses that help staff, physicians, and learners develop more impactful patient education strategies and resources based on best practices.

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Honouring the wishes of ICU patients

How the Three Wishes program is providing comfort during difficult times

At age 33, Darrell Smith had been an accomplished professional skateboarder with a community of friends and admirers around the world. He was a talented photographer with a passion for shooting on black and white film and developing his work in a home darkroom. And, he was the love of Ashley Henderson’s life.

Smith died at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Trauma and Neurosurgery Intensive Care Unit on Sept. 3, 2017, on the couple’s seventh anniversary and two days before what would have been his 34th birthday.

Read June 2019 Our Shared Purpose newsletter


Bringing our Mission and Values to life

Our people tell you why these are foundational to our organization

Zeny Marquez (left), registered nurse, ProvidenceMay 21, 2019 – Providence, St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s were founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph with a mission of caring for all in need, with a particular focus on the poor, vulnerable and forgotten in society. Across three centuries, we’ve continued to honour this tradition of compassionate quality care.

Last June, we set out to develop a new mission statement and set of values for Unity Health Toronto. We asked you to help us find the right words to reflect how. In the coming months, the Mission Integration team will be sharing more about how our Mission and Values will shape our future.

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Speech and Hearing Month

Celebrating those who empower the ability to communicate

Cover of Unity Health Toronto Strategic PlanMay 13, 2019 – Speech, language and cognitive disorders can adversely affect academics, work and social interaction. Speech language pathologists and audiologists train extensively to optimize these most human of functions: communication and swallowing – talking and eating.

When an individual’s ability to effectively communicate or swallow changes because of conditions such as stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, head or neck cancer, or dementia, it can have a huge impact on their quality of life.

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Celebrating physiotherapists

Restoring movement, ability and quality of life

May 13, 2019 – May is Physiotherapy Month at Unity Health Toronto! We are celebrating our physiotherapists (PTs) by highlighting the work that they do to support our patients, families, caregivers and community.

Across Unity Health Toronto’s three sites, physiotherapists work clinically as part of the interprofessional team in the majority of medical and surgical units, critical care, ambulatory care, family health teams, specialized clinics, inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs, and the community. Physiotherapists refer, supervise and work with Physiotherapy Assistants.

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Introducing Unity Health Toronto’s first strategic plan

Cover of Unity Health Toronto Strategic Plan

This plan is the culmination of months of research and engagement. We reviewed emerging local, provincial, national and global trends in health care. We took a deep dive into our own work to examine our service areas and patient mix across our three sites. We looked carefully at the communities we serve and how they are growing and changing.

We invited our partners, our patients, families and our communities to join us in our planning journey. Through interviews, focus groups, surveys and pop-up booths, we asked people to tell us what they want from Unity Health Toronto, where they feel we should and must contribute, and we asked people to tell us about their aspirations for Unity Health. We asked people to dream big.

This plan is the result. This document outlines our vision for the future of Unity Health Toronto and the commitments we are making – together.

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May 1, 2019: Get to know our new vice-president of Research and Innovation: Dr. Ori Rotstein

April 30, 2019: Dialysis at Unity Health Toronto often seen as a ‘bridge to transplant’

April 18, 2019: A patient’s journey from dialysis at St. Joseph’s to transplant at St. Michael’s

April 15, 2019: Providing care for pregnant women with addictions

April 2, 2019: Better techniques help doctors and staff manage responsive behaviours

March 25, 2019: A day in the life of a NICU/pediatrics registered dietitian

March 14, 2019: The importance of remembering sun exposure harms in the wintertime

March 11, 2019: Partnership highlights how music helps people living with dementia

March 1, 2019: “Utilizing the power of food as medicine”

March 1, 2019: From everyday issues to complex needs, social workers are on the front lines of care

Feb. 27, 2019: How did psychotherapy help you?

Feb. 22, 2019: Dr. Ori Rotstein named new VP of Research and Innovation

Jan. 15, 2019: New research appointment recognizes nurses and health disciplines

Jan. 9, 2019: Early rehabilitation in critical care the focus of pilot project

Dec. 13, 2018: It’s official – we have a network name!

September 2018: Strategic planning – building our network’s future together

Aug. 1, 2018: Happy anniversary to us!

July 2018: Our inaugural Annual Report is here

July 2018: Have a voice in shaping our Mission and Values statements

Jan. 3, 2018: Dr. Tim Rutledge appointed new president and CEO

Aug. 1, 2017: It’s official – welcome to our new health network!

June 2017: Joint message from the chairs

June 2017: TC-LHIN supports integration proposal

April 2017: Proposal for integration between Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital submitted to LHIN

February 2017: Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital explore creation of health network

September 2016: St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital partnership discussions