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Letters to the Editor & News from the Field, September 25, 2009

I. Smoking in the Workplace When the Workplace is Home

[response to Feature Article "Smoking in the Home When the Home is Also a Workplace," OHPE 277,]

I am a registered nurse working in the community or in other words, in the homes of patients. I read this article in it's entirety and feel that it is lacking in defining "not smoking during the visit". This is not always a viable solution. For those patients who chain smoke all day, walking into their home can almost knock you over with the smoke. Windows are usually not open and there is no method of circulating the air. Asking this type of patient not to smoke while I am there has no benefit to my health regarding the effects of second hand smoke. CCAC in Ontario asks that patients not smoke during the visit. As I have pointed out that does little to protect my lungs and heart from the effects of second hand smoke. I would rather be able to refuse the visit than cope in a smoky environment. Each moment I'm exposed, makes me feel panicky. I can't focus on my duties...all I want is to get out as fast as I can. I also have asthma. That does not seem to hold any weight in the argument of smoking or not smoking. Cutting out cigarettes during the visit is too little and falls short of the meaning of the laws which demands a smoke free environment for workers. Smoke free is not the same as asking a chain smoker to but out for half an hour while I'm there. The meaning behind this law is that no worker should be made to breathe in second hand smoke. An analogy would be to ask patrons in a bar not to smoke while the waitress is taking their order. They can smoke before and after she takes the order. How does that protect the worker? It's no different for the health provider going into a smoky home. This is just something to consider, when the solution seems as simple as to ask for compliance in not smoking while the nurse is in the home. It's a real problem but nurses aren't supposed to complain.

Nancy Rowe R.N.


[see our original round up at]

  • Thought I’d put out another H1N1 resource – for South West Ontario -- to the attention of your readers: A new section on’s Health Library provides H1N1 Flu Virus resources with a focus on South West Ontario. It features the latest news from local and regional sources, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Public Health Agency of Canada. A special page provides resources for health professionals. Additional information includes links to the major H1N1 flu virus sites, travel advisories and pandemic plans. Teresa
  • The Lancet: WHO reports that H1N1 has rapidly established itself as the dominant influenza strain in most parts of the world and is advising countries in the northern hemisphere to prepare for a second wave of the pandemic. The increasing number of cases will put an enormous strain on healthcare systems and so preparedness plans need to be firmly established to deal with this increased burden.The Lancet's H1N1 Resource Centre is constantly growing, providing healthcare workers with freely available up-to-date content on the H1N1 pandemic:

3. New Address: Care for Health & Community Services

Care for Health & Community Services, a not-for-profit home healthcare organization providing community services in the Ottawa and Champlain area since 1897, has moved its head office and St. Laurent Clinics to 760 Belfast Rd. Carefor’s move to a larger facility offers additional nursing, leg ulcer and foot care clinics at 760 Belfast Road, close to Trainyards Drive. The new office is open for business on Saturday, September 19, 2009. With a mission to deliver innovative, comprehensive, timely, high quality home health care and community support services to residents of the Champlain District, Carefor looks forward to serving more clients in more clinics, at the new Belfast location. Carefor Health & Community Services has been caring for the community since 1897. For more information, please visit or contact Donna Deknatel, Manager of Marketing & Fundraising, at or (613) 749-7557.

4. Alberta Centre for Active Living celebrates 20 years of promoting physical activity

The Alberta Centre for Active Living celebrated its 20th anniversary in Edmonton on September 24, and there was much to celebrate. In its 20-year history, the centre has firmly established itself as one of Canada’s premier advocates of physical activity. The centre is also a key source of evidence-based information and resources for people who promote physical activity as part of their work. Whether a practitioner is a fitness leader, a workplace wellness coordinator, a researcher, a health professional, or some other kind of practitioner, the Centre offers a myriad of resources to help them. Examples include the Alberta Survey on Physical Activity, the Physical Activity at Work website, the Rural Route to Active Aging website and printed guide, and the centre’s flagship publications WellSpring and Research Update. The centre has flourished thanks to the continued support of founders the University of Alberta Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation; Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation; and the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation. “Longevity is a noticeable feature that differentiates the centre from many others,” says Mark Tremblay, director of healthy active living and obesity research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. “The centre can be counted on to be there, generating, coordinating, and disseminating active living research and information. This is a testament to its value, work, and leadership. I am proud to be a research affiliate with the centre,” says Tremblay. For more information on the Alberta Centre for Active Living and the services it provides, visit the website:

5. Barbara Neuwelt Joins the Mental Health Commission

I have accepted a position with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. I will be a senior policy and research analyst at the Ottawa office, on the team that is developing a national mental health strategy for Canada. My last day at CMHA Ontario will be October 9, 2009. Barbara Neuwelt

6. Ann Makin Leaves the Alberta Healthy Living Network

As my provincial colleagues in health promotion and chronic disease management, I wanted to let you know that effective Friday, August 14th I will be leaving my position as Manager of the Alberta Healthy Living Network. During my 31 month tenure, I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with individuals of such breadth, depth and caliber of expertise, commitment and passion. As our provincial health care system continues its transition, I am reassured knowing that you and other quality folks are involved. Perhaps our paths will cross again and I for one would welcome that. I wish each of you the very best in good health and happiness as you continue along your life’s journey. Thank you and be well, Ann Makin

7. Health In Action Website Closes

The Health In Action website has long been a comprehensive resource on events, news, networks, databases, programs, and other information having to do with health promotion, injury prevention, and population health in Alberta. A recent decision by Alberta Health and Wellness to discontinue funding to this project means that at the end of August 2009, the Health In Action website will close down. Karena Apps Eccles and Gwen Farnsworth, the two current Health In Action staff, have done an excellent job of ensuring that Health In Action was responsive to the needs of practitioners in Alberta. The project team of representatives from the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health and Wellness, and the Alberta Centre for Active Living met regularly to contribute to planning and decisions.

7. Staff Changes in Alberta Centre for Active Living’s Older Adult Area

[Source: Alberta Centre for Active Living, August WellSpring]

Maria Tan is leaving the interim older adult coordinator position with the Centre this August. She will be returning to school to pursue a master’s degree in library and information studies. We are sorry to lose Maria, but we know there may be opportunity to work with her again in the future. The Centre’s older adult projects for 2009-10 will be in the capable hands of Jennifer Hystad and Lesley McEwan, who are contracting their services to the Centre. Information services concerning older adults will be handled by our resource coordinator Rosanne Prinsen. Requests for older adult publications and Active Independence (HSEP) materials will continue to be handled by Lynda Matthews-Mackey.