Back to school driving Dos and Don’ts

As September rolls in, it’s always good to do a mini check in with your driving routine; your summer habits behind the wheel may need some regulating as back to school season is underway. Many people unknowingly pick up bad driving habits during the summer months that may limit their attentiveness on the road. Something as simple as playing loud music could have a considerable impact on someone’s reaction time!

Children don’t have a lot of experience sharing the road with moving cars, drivers have to be extra cautious when navigating residential and school areas. This means ignoring any distractions inside the car and keeping your focus on everything outside of the car.

Here are a couple friendly reminders to fine tune your driving skills to be school zone friendly.

Sharing the road with our little pedestrians

  • Always be aware of school crossing zones and cross walks.
  • Take a little extra time at stop signs and make sure your checking all blind spots.
  • Always be aware of j-walkers and your surroundings.

Sharing the road with school buses

  • School buses, unlike their city counterparts, require drivers to yield and stop, regardless of the direction you are traveling in.
  • When stopped, there should be at least 10 feet between you and the bus.
  • Never pass a school bus with its stop arm out and lights flashing.

Driving in a school zone

  • School zone speed limits start at 40 kms in residential and urban school zones. In rural areas they are up to 100 kms. Always be aware of signage.
  • Always remember that if the speed limit is not posted, it means 50 kms maximum


Back to school means many young pedestrians on the road and increased chances of automobile collisions. Help keep our roads safe by doing your part. Always be alert behind the wheel, and stay up to date on traffic regulations.  


Here are some quick tips from the Peel Regional Police:

  • Be aware of school zone signage.
  • Reduce speed in school zones.
  • Be ready to stop at all times.  Children do not always notice oncoming traffic.
  • Always try to make eye contact with children waiting to cross the road.
  • Be patient and wait for children to complete their crossing before proceeding.
  • Stop when directed to do so by a crossing guard.

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Spectrum Patient Services Employees Demonstrate Act of Heroism

At Spectrum Patient Services are employees are the corner stone of our business. Their dedication and commitment to the care of our clients is a key component to our delivery of client centred care. 

On August 8, 2015 two of our employees Ken L. and Rick V. demonstrated their dedication to the safety and care of others in an act of sheer heroism.   

Below is a statement from a bystander who witnessed their great act of bravery.   

I am writing to address what I witnessed and what I would call an act of heroism provided by three*  of your employees on the morning of August 8, 2015 around 2am on the QEW near Fifty road.

I hope by now you have already received the news from somewhere about this and not hearing about this for the first time from myself.

I personally work in one of the nursing homes in Oakville as a PSW and have seen your trucks couple of times.  I understand that Spectrum Patient Service is a non-emergency patient transfer company and that you guys have no affiliation or obligation to respond to 911 calls.

On Saturday August 8, 2015 at around 2Am I was driving not far behind a car that got into an accident, although I did not really see how the accident happened, I sure did see the result of it.  I pulled over immediately and stopped along with maybe 8 other cars and from what we could see from a distance away, the car that was involved had caught on fire seconds after it crashed into an 18 wheeler.  The car was completely destroyed with car parts and pieces spreading all across the highway.  It was a very horrific scene to have witnessed.

I along with the other people that got out of our cars, wanted to help but was too scared to run across the highway while other cars were still rushing by and surely we did not have the courage to run into a burning car, even though one of us had a fire extinguisher.

Unfortunately I did not have a chance to get any of the names of these three employees of yours: one was a young man in his mid 20's, Asian background, the other gentlemen was probably in his early 50's wearing a baseball hat with long hair.  The third one is a mid age lady in her late 30's to early 40's, blonde highlights hair, wearing a nurse uniform.

All three of them were just passing by and came across the accident scene maybe a minute after it just happened.

I thought I saw an ambulance and I was going to start waving for help and then I realize it was a spectrum truck and I even told the other bystanders that they are not an ambulance they only do transfers as they were pulling over to the right shoulder and what seems like they were slowly driving pass the accident scene.  Which to my surprise they stopped abruptly and all three of them rushed out and quickly put out the burning car and pull the guy out of the car and started doing CPR.

It felt like 10 minutes have gone by since these individuals jumped out of their truck and offered help before another ambulance showed up. Unfortunately the individual did not make it according to the newspaper but if he had any chance of surviving the horrible accident, it would have been because of these three individuals.

After witnessing what these three individuals did without hesitation, putting their own lives in danger, trying to put out the fire, pulling the guy out of that car and doing CPR, etc. I almost felt ashamed for doubting these heroic individuals in the first place while I uselessly stand on the side of the highway too afraid to go in and help.

Spectrum Patient Services offers its deepest condolences to the family of the individual involved in the accident, our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.

*Note: Of the three individuals, two were Spectrum Patient Services employees. The other was a nurse from a hospital who does not work for Spectrum Patient Services.  

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Press Release: Spectrum Patient Services Announces Closing of Community Patient Transfer Group

(Toronto, Ontario) Friday, June 26, 2015. Spectrum Patient Services is pleased to advise that it has successfully closed the previously communicated acquisition of Community Patient Transfer Group (CPTG) inclusive of Niagara Patient Transfer and Sports Medic. With this acquisition Spectrum Patient Services becomes the largest provider of non-urgent patient transfer services in Ontario.

“Spectrum Patient Services and CPTG are committed to the highest standards of service delivery. The acquisition will build upon high standards and set new goals in quality delivery of non-urgent patient transfer services on a provincial and national level” said Lori Lord, CEO of Spectrum Health Care, parent company of Spectrum Patient Services.

CPTG and Niagara Patient Transfer will be integrated and rebranded into Spectrum Patient Services and will continue to provide non-urgent patient transfer services to hospitals, retirement homes, long term care/ health care facilities and private residences. Sports Medic will be integrated and rebranded into Spectrum Event Medical Services.

For more information regarding the above please contact:

Irene Mukasa
Manager, Communications
416-964-0322 ext. 2295

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Safe Patient Handling: Transferring Seniors

In recognition of Seniors’ Month in Ontario, today’s Safe Patient Handling topic involves tips and suggestions for caregivers when assisting with transfers of their elderly loved ones or clients.

Seniors sometimes need assistance to help them move around as their bodies grow more frail with age. When providing this assistance, caregivers must be cautious and careful in order to avoid harm or injury to themselves or the senior they are transferring.

To help, we’ve put together a list of DOs and DON’Ts for caregivers assisting with the transfer of a senior!

When assisting a senior with a transfer, DO:

  • Encourage them to do as much of the moving on their own as they can safely handle.
  • Clear the area of any objects, pets, or small children that could obstruct their path.
  • Encourage the senior to communicate any discomfort to you.
  • Ask for extra assistance if you cannot safely assist the senior on your own.
  • Utilize special equipment designed for safe patient transfers if necessary.
  • Call a doctor immediately if you or the senior are injured during the transfer.

When assisting a senior with a transfer, DON’T:

  • Attempt to lift more weight than you can comfortably manage.
  • Help transfer a senior if they have refused your help or are unwilling to cooperate.
  • Lift using your back. Instead, lift from your knees.
  • Attempt to carry a senior for an extended period of time. If you must lift them, place them immediately onto a wheelchair or other piece of equipment designed to transfer them greater distances.
  • Continue to move a senior who is in discomfort or pain as a result of the transfer. Stop immediately and call a professional for help.
  • Feel obligated to help move a senior if you do not think you can do so safely. There are trained patient transfer professionals such as those at Spectrum Patient Services who can help get the job done safely.

This Seniors’ Month, encourage a senior in your life to be tested for signs of frailty and speak to a doctor about ways to strengthen their bodies and tips to keep themselves moving independently. If they do need assistance with mobility, always remember that your safety and theirs is the number one priority and be cautious when helping them with transfers.

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Spectrum Patient Services To Acquire Community Patient Transfer Group


Spectrum Patient Services To Acquire Community Patient Transfer Group

(Toronto, Ontario) Tuesday, May 21, 2015. Spectrum Patient Services is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Niagara based, Community Patient Transfer Group (CPTG) inclusive of Niagara Patient Transfer and Sports Medic. CPTG is the second largest provider of patient transfer services throughout Ontario. Closing of the acquisition is expected to take place by June.

“The acquisition of CPTG represents Spectrum’s continuing efforts and commitment to growing and diversifying our health services businesses.” said Lori Lord, CEO of Spectrum Health Care, parent company of Spectrum Patient Services. “We are excited to expand our client base and geographic reach in the non-urgent patient transfer and event medical services businesses and welcome the breadth of knowledge and expertise that CPTG and its employees bring to Spectrum Patient Services’ innovative services delivery model.”       

CPTG and Niagara Patient Transfer will be integrated and rebranded into Spectrum Patient Services and will continue to provide quality non-urgent patient transfer services to hospitals, retirement homes, long term care/ health care facilities and residents. With this acquisition Spectrum Patient Services becomes the largest provider of non-urgent patient transfer services in Ontario. Sports Medic will be integrated and rebranded into Spectrum Health Care’s event medical services business, Spectrum Event Medical Services.

“Spectrum Patient Services is a leader in the patient transfer industry and we are excited that our employees will be joining a dynamic organization” said Casey Mcnab, President of CPTG.

Spectrum Patient Services will continue to focus on growing its non-urgent patient transfer business and remains committed to providing the highest quality client centred care in concert with Spectrum Health Care’s home care business and Spectrum Event Medical Services and Seniors for Seniors.     

For more information regarding the above please contact:

Irene Mukasa
Manager, Communications
416-964-0322 ext. 2295

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Safe Patient Handling: Transferring Patients With Dementia

Today’s Safe Patient Handling topic involves tips and suggestions for transferring loved ones with dementia.

What is Dementia?

The Canadian Mental Health Association defines dementia as a decline in mental ability which affects memory, thinking, problem solving, concentration and perception. The gradual decrease in cognitive ability means that the capacity to think and communicate gradually decline and the affected person may find it difficult to learn new information and express their needs. Dementia is progressive, meaning symptoms tend to worsen over time.

Transferring Patients With Dementia

It is important for those moving and handling people with dementia to consider the severity of the person’s symptoms in order to assist them safely. Cognitive impairment in dementia often limits the ability of the person to communicate effectively, which could impinge on an individual’s ability to clearly identify the person’s needs before attempting to move them.

When attempting to move or assist someone with dementia, you should:

  • Assess the situation to determine the ability of the person and the level of assistance required—remember, when it comes to dementia an individual’s cognitive ability can vary from day to day, and even minute to minute. They might require more or less assistance in the present than they have in the past.
  • Explain to the patient the reason why they are being moved, before you move them—remember to be patient and repeat the explanation as frequently as seems required.
  • Identify any equipment you will need to assist you with moving the patient, and ensure that the patient knows it is there.
  • Adapt the environment in order to make the patient feel safer—you may want to reduce noise level, improve lighting, and minimize distractions in the room (children, pets, television, etc.)
  • Continue to talk to them as you assist them with the move and repeat yourself when necessary to explain what you’re doing, as you’re doing it, especially if they show signs of confusion or distress.

If a dementia patient’s symptoms worsen over time, you may no longer feel capable of moving them on your own. If you find that you can no longer assist in transferring an individual with dementia without risking the safety of yourself or the patient, contact a professional with knowledge on safe patient handling to assist you with the move. Spectrum Health Care and Spectrum Patient Services offer a variety of services and options that can help you safely assist your loved one suffering from dementia.

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Safe Patient Handling: Transferring Arthritis Patients

Today’s Safe Patient Handling topic involves tips and suggestions for handling patients who suffer from arthritis.

What is arthritis?

According to The Arthritis Society of Canada, arthritis consists of more than 100 different conditions. The common denominator for all of these conditions is joint and musculoskeletal pain.  Often this pain is a result of inflammation of the joint lining. When a joint becomes inflamed, it may develop redness, swelling, heat and pain, which can prevent in the normal use of the joint and/or loss of function in that joint.

How can I safely handle a patient with arthritis?

If you are assisting and/or transferring someone suffering from arthritis, it’s important to consider their limited movement in order to protect their safety and avoid causing them discomfort.

Before you transfer them, be sure to find out:

  • Where they most commonly feel discomfort from their arthritis
  • If they are currently experiencing any pain, swelling or stiffness in any joints
  • If they have any medical equipment or supplies to support the affected joint and limit the pain they experience

When you are ready to transfer the patient:

  • Any contact with the patient should be with as much of the palms as possible, preventing grip-like holds
  • Points of contact with the patient should be ‘indirect’ as opposed to ‘direct’ as this aids joint protection. An example would be to glide your arm underneath the patient’s joint (indirect) rather than painfully gripping the joint (direct).
  • Help the patient redistribute their weight, where possible, in order to decrease the amount of pressure on sore joints.
  • Keep movements as smooth as possible

If you or your loved one are suffering from arthritis and need assistance moving from one place to another, be sure to speak with a doctor for more information on tools and equipment that can help decrease pain and make movements easier on your/their muscles and joints.

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Wheelchair Safety and Accessibility

If you or your loved one require the use of a wheelchair or other assistive devices, there are several safety concerns to consider in order to prevent unnecessary injury or accidents. The following are some tips for improving safety and accessibility around the house for those with mobility devices.

Safety and Accessibility in Bathrooms:

  • Wider bathroom doorways may be needed to accomodate the size of you or your loved ones device.
  • People with limited mobility or balance may find it hard to transfer from their wheelchair to bathtub. To help, consider installing:
    - Grab bars
    - Transfer seats
    - Nonslip tub mats
    - Bench that extends outside the bathtub
    - Swivel-style shower seat
    - Roll-in shower
  • Sensor operated faucets are helpful for those who have trouble grasping with their hands

Safet and Accessibility on Stairs/Ramps:

  • Make sure stairway/ramp handles are installed properly
    -Handrails should be able to support 250 pounds
    - Handrails should extend beyond the top and bottom so people have support when they get on and off the last step
  • Ensure stairways have proper lighting
  • Consider installing a chair-lift if you or your loved one have limited mobility

Remember that if you or your loved one require a wheelchair or assistive devices, it is important to create a living space that fits your/their needs. We suggest that you organize a walk-through of you or your loved ones house and make a list of areas that should be redesigned in order to ensure safety and accessibility requirements are met.

Preferred Health Choice Home Medical Supplies
Mobility Basics
Colorado State University: Home Adaptations for the Disabled

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Online Education Forum- Caregiver Information Day

Tuesday April 7th is National Family Caregiver Day in Canada. In celebrating this day, the Canadian Caregiver Coalition is hosting an online education forum on April 7th from 9:30am-4:30pm EST.

The forum will feature recognized leaders in the field who will share strategies and tools through a series of podcasts and supported by a live tweet chat. Feature speakers include the Honourable Alice Wong- Minister of State (Seniors), the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Vanier Institute, Dr. Allison Williams and representatives from caregiver support programs across the country.

For more information on speaker times and how to log-in check out the CCC website on Friday March 27th.

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Safe Patient Handling

Providing care for an individual who has limited mobility can be a dangerous task if not done carefully. Being unaware of the proper techniques for safe handling can result in serious injury. Even trained caregivers, paramedics, and personal support workers (PSWs) report high rates of musculoskeletal injuries as a result of overexertion during patient transfer.

If you or someone you know is caring for an individual who requires assistance with mobility, here are some tips for safe handling that can prevent unnecessary injury.

Before attempting to move someone:

  • Consider your own mobility and strength. Will moving them risk injuring you?
  • Ask someone to help you if you cannot assist them on your own.
  • Be aware of any obstacles in the space (i.e. objects, pets, small children) and have a plan for moving around them safely.
  • Make sure you are wearing suitable clothing and shoes. (Especially if you are on a slippery or damp surface).
  • If using equipment to help move an individual, examine it first to ensure it is functional.
  • Let the individual know that you will be moving them and explain what you are going to do before you begin.

Once you have assessed the situation and decided to move the individual:

  • Make sure you never lift above your shoulder height.
  • Keep any weight close to your body.
  • Be sure your feet are stable.
  • Keep your back straight and bend your knees.
  • Lift as smoothly as possible and use equipment to help you if needed.

Remember, transferring a loved one should not put you at risk of being injured. If you are unable to transfer your loved one without harm, consider hiring patient transfer professionals who can transfer your loved ones safely.

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