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St. Mary’s and Revera are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, families and friends of residentsKitchener, ON – September 14, 2020 – On Friday, September 11, the Ministry of Long-Term Care lifted the mandatory management order that was in place since June 2, 2020 at Forest Heights Long Term Care Home in Kitchener, Ontario. Management of the home, which was assigned for 90 days to St. Mary’s General Hospital, reverts back to Revera Inc.

The order was issued to provide much-needed assistance to the home, which had been battling an extremely complex and challenging outbreak of COVID-19 under the guidance of Region of Waterloo Public Health and with the support of local hospitals. The outbreak was declared over on June 30.

“The teams from Forest Heights, St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Health System worked quickly and collaboratively to execute the action plan we submitted to the Ministry of Long-Term Care,” said Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary’s General Hospital. “We were pleased to support the Forest Heights team in stabilizing the home, re-starting services and bringing home the residents who had been moved to local hospitals during the outbreak.”

They express thanks to cross sector partners for embracing this effort throughout, including Waterloo Region Public Health, local hospitals who supported residents (Grand River Hospital and Cambridge Memorial Hospital), community partners, and co-leads for Waterloo Region’s Pandemic Response Tri-ad,  Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang and Dr. Sharon Bal, and colleagues at Ontario Health West.

The action plan’s goals were to end the outbreak, safeguard the health and safety of residents and staff at Forest Heights, support the care of Forest Height’s residents and stabilize the home. All items on the action plan have been completed.

Revera extends its sincere appreciation to the teams from St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s, who provided much-needed support for Forest Heights staff and managers who were exhausted after working tirelessly under extremely stressful circumstances to battle the devastating virus.

“This pandemic has underscored the importance of partnership,” said Wendy Gilmour, senior vice president of Long Term Care at Revera. “The many different players in the health care system can’t stand alone – we all must work together to improve experiences for people through integrated care. We are grateful that we now have a very close relationship with St. Mary’s, and look forward to an enduring collaboration with their expert teams.”

In addition, the management and staff of Forest Heights wish to express their gratitude for the outpouring of support from the community and from the families and friends of residents. Their words and gestures of support provided much-needed encouragement during a very difficult time.

About the outbreak

  • Outbreak declared: April 1, 2020
  • Outbreak declared over: June 30, 2020
  • Capacity of home prior to pandemic: 240
  • Number of residents decanted to local hospitals during the outbreak: 43
  • Capacity of home following re-design and reduced number of beds per room: 168
  • Current occupancy of home: 152

Contingencies in place for a potential second wave

  • A stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • A three-bed isolation area
  • A new infection prevention and control (IPAC) specialist on staff and enhanced IPAC practices
  • A liaison with the community hospitals
  • An enduring relationship with St. Mary’s, including ongoing touch points on IPAC, building services, procurement
  • Above-complement staffing

Media Inquiry Contact:

Anne Kelly
Manager, Communications
St. Mary’s General Hospital
519-749-6578, ext. 1501
226-339-1903 (cell)

Larry Roberts
Director, Communications
289-997-5721 (office)
647-330-5383 (cell)

Apr 2, 2020 By: Mark Pare

It was an all-encompassing conversation on the state of hospitals in Waterloo Region, dealing with hurdles they might be facing in the fight against COVID-19.

The three President and CEO’s of our hospitals — Ron Gagnon of Grand River Hospital, Lee Fairclough of St. Mary’s General Hospital and Patrick Gaskin of Cambridge Memorial Hospital — joined in on a special edition of The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS Wednesday night.

Gagnon says the three of them are in constant communication with each other with multiple phone calls and texts at all hours of the day, as they collaborate on a strategy to deal with the pandemic together.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that my two colleagues wouldn’t hesitate to help if our organization needed it,” he said, “And I know we wouldn’t hesitate to help them either.”

One of the big issues is hospital capacity, more notably for intensive care.

Gagnon says the number of ICU beds is growing daily locally.

“Between the three hospitals, we’ve actually identified just shy of 430 more spaces that we will put into operation over the course of this,” he said.

As for extra space, Gagnon says they’re talking with hotels, as well as large facilities to meet what could be a “super-surge” in patients.

“We’re working very actively with people in the community to identify spaces outside of hospital,” he said.

As for having the equipment, Gagnon says his, and other hospitals, are working proactively in anticipation for what’s to come, and that includes identifying needs and working with supply chains.

“For the job we have to do right now, and up to the coming weeks, we believe that we do (have the equipment necessary),” he said.

Dr. Fairclough says the supply of personal protective equipment supply is a topic that comes up a lot.

“China was a major producer of the protective equipment we need,” she said, “They’re recovering from COVID now, so things are looking more encouraging.”

“We have the equipment staff needs when they come in to care for patients. We won’t be in a situation where that’s not the case.”

CLICK HERE to listen to the full conversation.

The Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s General Hospital is pleased to announce that Ms. Lee Fairclough will be the new president of St. Mary’s. Ms. Fairclough is a seasoned healthcare leader with broad experience working with patients and healthcare partners to improve quality of care. She will begin her new role on January 6, 2020.

Lee Fairclough

Since 2014 Ms. Fairclough has been Vice President, Quality Improvement at Health Quality Ontario, the provincial advisory body for quality of healthcare. In that role, she has led the design and implementation of quality improvement programs and ensured the accelerated spread of proven models of care. Beginning in July of 2019, Ms. Fairclough has also served as an Interim Lead with the new Ontario Health agency, laying the foundations for a proposed Centre of Excellence in Mental Health and Addictions.

She was chosen as St. Mary’s incoming President after a national search by St. Mary’s Board of Trustees.

“Lee’s long and varied experience in Ontario’s healthcare system will be a tremendous asset to St. Mary’s,” said Dr. Thomas Stewart, President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph’s Health System, of which St. Mary’s is a member, and Chief Executive Officer of Niagara Health. “Her recent leadership at Health Quality Ontario will undoubtedly propel us forward in our pursuit of the highest quality. Finally, her affable nature is the perfect fit for us.”

Scott Smith, Chair of St. Mary’s Board of Trustees said, “At this time of exciting health system transformation, Lee is the ideal leader to build on our standing as a national leader in patient safety and on our commitment to improving quality within St. Mary’s and beyond our walls.”

Ms. Fairclough said she is honoured and excited to join the team at St. Mary’s and to exchange ideas and innovations with colleagues at the St. Joseph’s Health System. “St. Mary’s is a really great fit, given its values and focus on quality improvement, transparency, and active engagement with service providers in the region,” she said.

“I am keen to work closer to the front lines of care again and to be deeply immersed in the issues of how to best serve patients and families in this community.”

Ms. Fairclough holds a master’s degree from the University of Toronto, Institute of Health Policy and Management. She trained as a Medical Radiation Therapist and provided cancer care to patients at Princess Margaret Hospital early in her career before moving into management in various roles at Princess Margaret and the University Health Network. She is also a former Vice President at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

A former competitive athlete in rugby, swimming and water polo, she was a member of the Canadian Women’s Rugby Team from 1995-1998 and was on the 1998 World Cup team.

“My sporting experiences have heavily influenced my approach to teamwork and leadership throughout my career,” said Ms. Fairclough. The Southampton native and outdoor enthusiast enjoys an active lifestyle with her husband and two sons, ages 10 and 13. She looks forward to building relationships within Kitchener-Waterloo and the many rural communities St. Mary’s serves.

John Woods, Interim President at St. Mary’s, will continue to lead St. Mary’s until early January 2020 when Ms. Fairclough begins her role.


About St. Mary’s General Hospital
St. Mary’s General Hospital, in Kitchener, is the second-largest acute care hospital in the St. Joseph’s Health System and one of Canada’s top Regional Cardiac Care Centres. True to its vision to be the safest and most effective hospital in Canada, St. Mary’s is a consistent leader in national safety measures. Nearly 2,000 staff, physicians and volunteers provide innovative, compassionate care to approximately 1 million residents of Waterloo Wellington and beyond. Key areas of clinical focus include cardiac care, respiratory care and thoracic surgery, outpatient day surgery, general medicine and emergency care.

About St. Joseph’s Health System
St. Joseph’s Health System is a unique 15-site health system partnership dedicated to pioneering innovative ways to improve the health of communities and a system-wide approach to health care through citizen-centred integrated care. We serve Niagara to Kitchener and beyond, and a population of more than 2 million.

St. Joseph’s Health System introduced its internationally recognized Integrated Comprehensive Care (ICC) program to the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network in 2013, providing patients smoother transitions from hospital to home accompanied by one health care team and a 24/7 access to a clinician.


Anne Kelly
Manager, Communications
St. Mary’s General Hospital
519-749-6578, ext. 1501
226-339-1903 (mobile)

Kitchener, ON, September 24, 2019 

On Tuesday September 24, TGLN presented the Provincial Conversion Rate Award to St. Mary’s for exceeding the 2018/19 target conversion rate of 63 per cent. The conversion rate is the percentage of actual donors from the total number of potentially eligible organ donors. St. Mary’s achieved a conversion rate of 75 per cent.

In 2018-19, St. Mary’s facilitated the recovery of 28 organs from six donors. These organs were transplanted into 24 recipients. There were an additional 25 tissue donors who have helped many more people.

The Hidden Hero Award was presented to both the OR and Cath Lab teams, nominated by their colleagues for their passion and commitment to supporting organ and tissue donation.

St. Mary’s General Hospital OR Team

“The compassionate approach taken by our critical care staff and physicians is vital as they support families through the organ and tissue donation process,” says Angela Stanley, Executive Lead for Organ and Tissue Donation at St. Mary’s. “It is our honour to assist those who wish to give the gift of life.”

“St. Mary’s General Hospital is an outstanding example of how applying leading donation practices can save lives,” says Ronnie Gavsie, President and CEO, Trillium Gift of Life Network. “The award is a reflection of the culture of donation established at St. Mary’s, and a reminder of the work that we still need to do in other communities across Ontario. We will not be complacent.”

Today, more than 1,600 people in Ontario are on the waitlist for a lifesaving organ transplant, and every three days someone will die without one. While the majority of Canadians support donation, only 34 per cent of Ontarians have formally registered their consent for organ and tissue donation.

Some people believe that their age or medical condition prevents them from being a donor. In actuality, age does not preclude someone from becoming a donor, and each potential donor is assessed at the time of death for medical suitability. Others may not have registered under the misguided assumption that doctors won’t work hard to save a life if that patient is a registered donor, but in fact, the priority is always to save a life. Donation is only considered after all life-saving efforts are exhausted, there is no chance of recovery, and the family accepts the diagnosis of death.

Visit www.beadonor.ca to register or to learn more.

For more information on organ and tissue donation in Ontario, or to learn more about Trillium Gift of Life Network’s Achievement Awards, please contact Jennifer Allan at jallan@giftoflife.on.ca or 416-619-2327.

We are delighted to announce that St. Mary’s General Hospital has achieved the result of Accredited with Exemplary Standing from our on-site Accreditation survey in June. This is the highest rating for a Canadian hospital.

This significant achievement is the result of our collective commitment to providing our patients with safe, high-quality care. The final decision indicates that St. Mary’s performs above national standards. Accreditation Canada surveyors evaluated 2010 criteria – 133 more than our survey in 2015 – and described our score of 99.5% as exceptional. In fact, 100% of Required Organizational Practices (ROPs) were met.

St. Mary’s continues to be a national and provincial leader in quality and patient satisfaction. Participating in accreditation is a welcomed opportunity to evaluate our care, identify areas for improvement and celebrate our achievements. The final report will be available online and will be shared once it becomes available.

St. Mary’s was recognized for our cardiac and respiratory excellence, our relationships with community partners and for the investments we have made in our people, including the enhancements to health and wellness programs and our LEAN culture of problem solvers.

Thank you to all staff, physicians and volunteers whose hard work and dedication was vital in this process.