Two Halton services achieve top accreditation rating

I’m very proud to share that recently, the Region’s Services for Seniors and the North Halton Mental Health Clinic received accreditation with exemplary standing from one of the leading national accreditation organizations, Accreditation Canada.Creek Way 13

Completing accreditation means that Halton’s programs are measured against national standards of excellence. These standards examine all aspects of health care, from patient safety and ethics, to staff training and partnering with the community. Exemplary standing is the highest level of performance an organization can receive and AC has only given this standing to 20% of those they have surveyed. It’s an incredible achievement and shows our services not only met national standards, but exceeded them.

The high rating from Accreditation Canada is also consistent with the high satisfaction rating we received from Halton residents. In recent polling, 97% of residents indicated they are satisfied with the overall services provided by Halton Region. Another achievement of which I am very proud.

To find out more about Services for Senior and the North Halton Mental Health Clinic, or the many other services offered by Halton Region, please visit www.halton.ca or give us a call by dialing 311.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Creating healthy communities through active transportation

In Halton we have many programs and policies in place (and in development) that support Halton as a great place to be active and live sustainably. We value citizen’s input in the work that we do, and a great example of this is the Health Department’s walkON program.

walkON is a program that promotes the idea of the walkable, bikeable, and transit walkOnsupportive communities, encouraging people to walk, bike or take transit as an alternative to driving.

One of the unique features of this program is that it is based on a partnership that includes many different members of our community. Some of these members include:

  • Citizens
  • Activists
  • Government staff
  • Elected officials
  • Service providers
  • Businesses

The role of the Health Department is to coordinate and bring people together and to support communities that are working to organize and improve their neighbourhoods. walkON also offers a variety of tools to help support those interested in making a change. In 2012, the program focused on delivering two successful multi-sectoral workshops, as laid out in our Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.

The first workshop was held in Georgetown and focused on the walkability, safety and accessibility of older adults. The end result of the workshop was that commitments were made by both the Town and residents to inquire about local infrastructure changes to help seniors access local shops with ease.

The second workshop held in Oakville has led to a coalition of many existing partners called the Oakville Sustainable Transportation Coalition. This coalition is still in its infancy and they are building on the Town’s strong policy base to work hand-in-hand making walking, cycling and transit use more practical for its local residents.

Currently Halton Region is creating an Active Transportation Master Plan to help connect our communities.  To learn more about how you can get involved, or if you would like to learn more about walkON and other health related programs, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Heart Health in Halton

At Halton Region, we encourage and support our residents to make healthy choices.  In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about how making healthy choices can help prevent the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for both men and women in Halton but it is preventable and manageable. Eating healthily, keeping physically active and living tobacco-free can help reduce risk of heart disease.

Halton Region offers many programs and services that support healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco cessation. Below are some examples of the programs and services that the Halton Region Health Department provides.

  • Our Community Food Advisor Program helps educate community groups about the skills needed to adopt healthy eating habits. Participants also learn more about safe handling and food storage.
  • Farm to School works with local organizations to bring fresh, locally grown produce into Halton elementary schools to help influence healthy eating habits in a positive way that can also help children understand where food comes from.
  • Eat Smart helps employers in the Region provide healthy food choices to employees by offering awards to companies that maintain high standards of food safety while also offering nutritious food choices in the work place.
  • Walking is a great way to add physical activity into the day. The Count Your Steps Program is a partnership between Halton Region and participating libraries and municipalities that allows residents to borrow pedometers to help track their progress.
  • Through WalkON , Halton Region works to engage the community, municipal staff, and elected officials in the creation of built environments that support walking for active transportation.
  • Halton’s Stop Smoking Clinics work directly with residents who smoke to determine personalized methods of quitting, free of charge.
  • Our Tobacco Cessation Community of Practice brings together health professionals interested in helping people live smoke free to share and learn more about cessation.

If you would like to learn more about these and other programs, please dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/healthresources.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Beach Water Monitoring

Summer in Halton Region is a wonderful time and our waterfront and beaches are some of Halton residents’ favourite destinations.

To help residents stay healthy while being active, the Halton Region Health Department monitors the water quality at recreational beaches in Halton from the first week in June until the first week of September. Monitoring and samples are taken once a week at all public beaches.

The biggest influences on beach water quality are things we don’t have much control over such as:

  • Environmental factors: the amount of rain water, wind & waves
  • Warm water temperatures
  • Large numbers of geese, seagulls, ducks and other water-birds

The full list can be found here.

We can help keep Halton’s beaches clean by following these few tips:

  • Practice pollution-free boating and dispose of waste properly
  • Don’t use soap in the lake water. Soap feeds algae and bacteria, helping them to grow
  • Don’t feed animals or birds, and securely close garbage bins
  • If pets are permitted on the beach, clean up after them right away

So before heading to the beach this summer, call Access Halton for information about the water quality at Halton’s beaches. Beach monitoring information is available 24 hours a day by dialing 311, calling 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9833. During regular business hours, ask for beach information; after regular business hours, press 2 for health information. Information is updated weekly and also posted on Halton Region’s website at www.halton.ca/beaches.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook.