Thursday, 31 March 2011

SBS: Ontario statistics

CORNWALL — Eastern Ontario has a higher rate of "shaken baby syndrome" (SBS) incidents, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis told the Eastern Ontario Health Unit board Thursday.
Roumeliotis told the board the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the local Children's Aid Society has data indicating the extensiveness of SBS.
It's not clear why the region has more cases of SBS, Roumeliotis said, but underlying socio-economic and drug/alcohol addiction factors are likely causes.
"As we get into a period of deeper recession, there is higher cases of child abuse, resulting from frustration," he said.
It's a long-known fact that eastern Ontario's poverty level — particularly in Cornwall — and alcohol abuse is greater than most other parts of the province.
Recent national research indicates the median age of SBS is 4.6 months, ranging from seven days to almost five years of age. Of 364 cases, 45% suffered from seizures, 43% from decreased level of consciousness, 34% in respiratory difficulty and 46% from bruising.
Also, 60% of SBT cases involved a previous history and/or clinical evidence of abuse, while 22% of families had previous involvement with a child welfare agency.
To combat SBS, Roumeliotis told the board his staff is preparing to introduce the PURPLE Program.
The PURPLE program is a full-colour 11-page booklet and 10-minute DVD which helps parents of newborns to understand crying in normal infants. PURPLE stands for P, peak of crying; E, unexpected; R, resists soothing; P, pain; L, long-lasting; E, evening.
Excessive crying or colic from babies sometimes can overwhelm parents emotionally who, in turn, shake their baby.
The program, based on 25 years of scientific research, indicates that almost all infants have a 3-4 month period of colic, starting after the second week after birth — the period of PURPLE.

Of course, the severity of PURPLE is greater and lesser depending on the child.
Researchers note that even purely healthy babies can be colic, which mystifies parents, who resort to frequent and subsequently unnecessary trips to a health-care professional.
The program is divided into five categories: sleeping, soothing, crying, protecting your infant and information for fathers.
Roumeliotis explained the program will be offered to expecting parents, much in the same way pre-natal classes are available.
He said the three birthing hospitals within the health unit (Cornwall, Winchester and Hawkesbury) will be involved in the program.
One challenge he hopes to overcome to ensure the program will be available in French, as well as English.
• Roumeliotis told the board he is concerned with the lack of consultation from the Ontario government on changes to public health legislation.
Bill 141 proposes, among other objectives, to allow the Ontario chief medical officer of health to order a local medical officer of health to undertake actions if there is a risk of a pandemic, or emergency that will impact health, also for the chief medical officer to take possession of public buildings if there is health risk from communicable disease or other event.
"They just sprung it on us," Roumeliotis said of the government's notification to the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health, which he chairs, before Bill 141 was tabled.
Roumeliotis said his council get have provided considerable input as the legislation was developed.
"I'm still hoping," he said, of another chance the government could hear out the council, even though its nearly approved by Queen's Park.
• The health unit is finalizing plans to relocate its current Winchester office at 457 Main St., E.
The office will be housed in a new addition next to the Winchester District Memorial Hospital. Roumeliotis noted the current office is need of repairs, whereas the hospital connection will not only greatly improve the environment for staff and clients, but also ideally situated next to hospital services.

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