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‘Socks Off’ seeks to ward off Ontario’s high rate of diabetes-related foot amputations



An Ontario doctor says taking ‘Socks Off’ in a primary care setting could be a step in the right direction in reducing a rising number of lower limb amputations across the province connected with diabetes and vascular disease.

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) together with the Greater Hamilton Health Network (GHHN) is launching the campaign, called Socks Off, on July 17, with goals to reduce the number of lower Hamilton, Ont., residents who lose a foot to amputation due to diabetes and/or vascular disease.

Dr. Brian McKenna, a family doctor and deputy lead physician at Hamilton Health Sciences, is hoping the late July campaign will push more health-care providers to add foot checks to routine diabetic visits in hopes of combating Ontario’s high amputation rates.


“In short, we want clinicians to tell patients to get their socks off in the office during routine diabetes visits so that we can inspect feet to prevent downstream outcomes related to wounds, ulceration and amputation,” McKenna explained.

Cuts, blisters, cracks and callouses are just some of the signs of poor circulation and potentially unhealthy blood vessels that contribute to the problem, according to McKenna.

Hamilton finds itself in one of the Local Health Integrated Networks with a high rate of amputations connected with heart disease and diabetes.

Cases are most prominent in Hamilton’s lower end primarily due to sociological issues connected with poverty and health equity.

Age- and sex-standardized rates of minor or major amputations for diabetes or peripheral arterial disease across Ontario.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information

Diabetes is the leading cause of nontraumatic lower limb amputation in adults living in Canada and is associated with about 70 per cent of amputations performed in hospitals.

Foot ulcerations will affect 15-25 per cent of people living with diabetes over their lifetime.

Adults living with diabetes are 20 times more likely to undergo non-traumatic lower limb amputations,  with 85 per cent preceded by foot ulcers.

Laura Hoffe, senior manager of policy for Diabetes Canada, wants federal and provincial governments to step up initiatives to mitigate amputations through affordable and timely access to medications, devices, education, and care necessary to achieve optimal diabetes management.

“People who experience a lower-limb amputation undergo tremendous emotional and financial distress,” Hoffe said.

“We also urge people with diabetes to check their feet daily for cuts, cracks, bruises, blisters, sores, infection and unusual markings.”

Ontario’s health care system is expected to take a $1.7 billion hit due to diabetes with about 80 per cent of that attributed to treating complications in acute care settings.

‘Socks Off’ seeks to ward off Ontario’s high rate of diabetes-related foot amputations - image

CorHealth Ontario

Improving blood sugar control through medicines and diet as well as kicking bad habits like smoking can prevent the progression of the peripheral vascular disease for those already with diabetes, according to McKenna.

“I do really think this demonstration is going to provide some good data that can help to underpin the kinds of long-term solutions that we need to change these numbers,” he said.



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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life




Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.


Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.


Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home



THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.




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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister



Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”


Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News



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