What is chronic complex illness? It’s when a man, woman or child has more than one life-threatening illness. A growing number of Canadians is affected, President and CEO of Bridgepoint Health Marian Walsh told CEMA members at our May Speaker Series meeting.
Bridgepoint President and CEO Marian Walsh chats with Frank Ruffolo
Putting it simply, she said, medical science has so advanced that people are living longer, including those who’ve been affected by such chronic ailments as heart disease, stroke and cancer. Often one person can experience two or more such illnesses.
Bridgepoint Health, a 470 bed facility occupies the former Riverdale Hospital which in previous incarnations has been an isolation hospital for infectious diseases and a geriatric hospital. It was saved from demolition by the Ontario Department of Health. It will however disappear once a new 500-bed hospital being erected beside it is completed.
Heather Gillley, award winning specialist in internal and geriatric medicine and newly appointed Vice President of Medicine at Bridgepoint, spoke of the need to create greater public awareness of complex chronic illness. Bridgepoint will share its knowledge and research with other health care facilities, she said.
“There are five major risk factors for chronic illness; two are out of our control — age and heredity — while three are preventable — poor diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use, Gilley said.
She emphasized the fact that Bridgepoint’s patients reflect Canada’s diversity and that efforts are being made to admit foreign trained professionals who haven’t yet qualified to practise in Canada. They can perform in highly effective and useful areas until they have qualified.
A very complete media kit was distributed to members, and John Poldre, director of communications says he’d be delighted to supply a kit on request to him at <[email protected]>