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Emergency Department

Immunization Awareness Week 2023

For more than two centuries, vaccines have helped keep people healthy.

‘Vaccines are one of the most impactful scientific innovations of all time, helping to protect generations of people against infectious diseases throughout the course of their lives. A culmination of over 200 years of research, worldwide collaboration and rigorous testing has led to the development of safe and effective vaccines for more than 25 diseases.’

 Every April, World Immunization Week brings together people from around the world to highlight the importance of vaccines and how they protect people of all ages against many diseases. This year’s campaign comes with a reminder that it is time to catch-up! The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted essential health services, including routine immunizations and unfortunately many children are still missing the life-saving benefits of recommended vaccines. In PMH we are encouraging parents to contact your local public health nurse or primary care provider to ask about your child’s immunization status. Public office locations in PMH Public Health – Prairie Mountain Health


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March 2023 Donations to PMH

Russell Palliative Care Committee donates for bed purchase

Pictured clockwise from l-r are Louise Trinder Ethel Lungal, Lynette Snow, Russell Care Team Manager Abbey Vorlicek and Darlene Witty. (With picture/files from Russell Banner).

The  Russell and Area Palliative Care Committee recently contributed towards the purchase of  a special medical bed for the Russell Health Centre. The bed has an alternating pressure mattress, which was developed for the comfort of patients to help prevent bed-sores and skin break down. It’s also longer than others to help accommodate taller people. It is through very generous contributions, donated through the Palliative Care program, that the Committee is able to assist with much-needed purchases like these.

The Russell and Area Palliative Care Committee and Prairie Mountain Health thanks everyone for their heartfelt contributions that continue to benefit the Russell Health Centre.

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Barley is a yummy and affordable high-fibre grain with a great texture. It has been cultivated for thousands of years and is Canada’s third largest crop.  Barley was pictured on early currency in ancient Egypt and was eaten for endurance and strength by gladiators in ancient Rome.

We tend to think of it as an ingredient in soups and stews but it is also great in salad, casseroles and as a side dish. There are different types of barley you can buy at the store. The most common are pot and pearl barley. Pearl barley has been polished so the bran layer has been removed. For this reason, pot barley is considered a whole grain and pearl barley is not. Pot barley offers us a little more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. All types are good choices because the soluble fibre in barley is in the entire grain. Pot barley and pearl barley can be used interchangeably in recipes as they take about the same amount of time to cook. Barley can be cooked in a rice cooker just like brown rice, or on the stove by bringing barley and water to a boil then cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Check it often and stop cooking when it has reached your preferred level of chewiness. Extra can be frozen then added to soups or salads later.

Here are some things to do with barley:

  • Try using barley instead of rice to increase variety.
  • Enjoy it as a hot cereal
  • Bake with it by replacing about ½ wheat flour with barley flour in recipes
  • Eat it as a side dish! It’s great with slivered almonds and dried apricots; lemon, parmesan and sautéed greens, or parsley and mushrooms. Here is one of my fav’s Spanish Barley | GoBarley

Chantal Morais RD, MPH

From and

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Mobile food cart cues up better choices within personal care homes

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) is excited to try new approaches to enhancing dining experiences within its long-term care homes. One such improvement was the introduction of a “Suzy Q Cart” within Birtle Personal Care Home (PCH) in late 2022. This mobile cart keeps food hot (or cold for cold meals) and allows Nutrition services staff to bring the food to the table. Residents can see and smell the food and are offered a choice of which food items to have and how much they wish to eat. The food is served at the right temperature right from the cart.

Before Suzy Q, staff prepared meals for residents based on previously communicated preferences. One dining room received meals on trays. Nutrition services maintained lists of likes/dislikes and tried hard to ensure the food met the residents’ wishes. However, food was often wasted as, like all of us, residents may not feel like eating the option or the amount provided. Sometimes food was cold by the time residents arrived to eat.

A lot of work went into the transition to this style of dining. Maintenance staff installed the correct electrical work. Nutrition services revised workflows and experimented with different cart setups and forecasts of resident choices. Staff also stopped closing the dining room and offered beverage choices as residents arrived. Health Care Aide staff also changed their flow assist with meal set up in the dining room.

Staff at Birtle PCH already knew their residents well, but this dining style encourages staff and resident communication. The first week, staff were surprised to see residents’ choices. One resident said, “Suzy Q cart is a great idea.” One resident who always had hot cereal chose cold cereal, and one who never ate vegetables chose vegetables. One resident who could not communicate verbally could choose the soup when staff wrote down the two choices.

The meal service doesn’t take long, which is one worry staff had prior. However, staff are far more interactive with the residents when they are in the dining room. Already, staff notice they have less food waste. Food leftovers are safely cooled and used as a second option the next day, just like at home. The site has been going through a lot of tomato juice, a popular beverage choice.

Ultimately, Suzy Q style dining is not so much about the cart but is about respect and dignity, honouring the residents’ choices and building relationships with the residents. 

 Within PMH, four more PCHs will be introducing Suzy Q carts later this year, and several others are introducing additional options, such as cold beverage choices.

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Suicide Awareness

Suicide is tragic and distressing. Families, friends and communities are deeply affected following a death by suicide. This reinforces the urgency for a better understanding and prevention of suicide. In 2022, Statistics Canada reported that approximately 4,500 people die by suicide every year.  We also know that for every 1 suicide death, there are 7–10 people profoundly affected by suicide loss.

Dr. James Bolton, Medical Director of Shared Health Crisis Response Services and Health Sciences Centre Emergency Psychiatry, said it best, “As difficult as these statistics are to read, they serve to highlight the magnitude of the impacts of suicide in our community and why it’s imperative to remember that, however uncomfortable it can be to discuss suicide, it’s a conversation we need to have.”

People at risk of suicide are often seen in healthcare settings – we want to have that conversation.  We want to connect with you and will ask about your mental and physical health.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out.  We are here to listen and help.

If you or your loved ones need help, please reach out to the below suicide prevention resources.

  • PMH Crisis Line (over age of 18) – 1-888-379-7699
  • PMH Crisis Line (under age of 18) – 1-866-403-5459
  • Manitoba Suicide Line 1-877-435-7170
  • Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-292-7565
  • Klinic Crisis Line 1-888-322-3019
  • Farm & Rural Stress Line 1-866-367-3276
  • Reason to Live –

Help is available; you are not alone. 

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Neepawa Eats Healthy – Meal In 30 Project

The Neepawa Eats Healthy Committee is excited to be introducing the Meal in 30 Project – A partnership with local community groups, agencies, Prairie Mountain Health and the Neepawa Gladstone Co-op and Neepawa Safeway Grocery stores.

March is Nutrition Month and Neepawa Eats Healthy is launching “Meal in 30” kits on March 1st, 2023 at the participating grocery stores. Shoppers can look for the featured “Meal in 30” recipe, try it at home, tell the committee what they think by answering a short questionnaire and have a chance to win a grocery prize pack at the end of each month. The project will also run during the months of April and May.

Neepawa Eats Healthy is a group of dedicated partners representing local organizations and community members working together to improve healthy eating outcomes in the community.

“The goals of this project are to encourage local community members to cook and prepare healthy, budget friendly meals at home, build food skills, eat healthy and shop local” commented, Amanda Naughton Gale, committee member of the Neepawa Eats Healthy group.
During the next 3 months, shoppers in Neepawa can look for a recipe of the month that is quick and easy, includes vegetables and/or fruit, has easy substitutions (based on some basic shelf ingredients) and is budget friendly!

Brittney Bartecki, Registered Dietitian from Prairie Mountain Health is also part of the Neepawa Eats Healthy committee and is also excited about the project. “We are encouraging our community to find ways to cook more at home, experiment with new recipes and have some fun in the kitchen! Hopefully helping to take some guess work out of meal planning by helping to add a few new meal ideas into your week.”

Here is how everyone can get involved:

  • Pick up the monthly featured recipe at Safeway or the Neepawa Gladstone Co-op
  • Look for the Tagged food Items with the Neepawa Eats Healthy Logo on the grocer shelves
  • Take home and cook up your tasty meals / once you are done….
  • Scan the recipe QR code to complete a short survey for a chance to win a free grocery pack drawn each month.

By picking up the Meal In 30 recipe card and purchasing at least 3 of the featured items, people will also receive a Neepawa Eats Healthy Reusable Grocery Bag (while supplies last!)

The committee is excited to have the participation of the Neepawa Titans supporting this project.  Players from the local hockey club spent a day in the kitchen acting as guest cooks for the 3 recipes that will be featured on the local Access 12 station, helping to create awareness and encourage everyone to get involved. “Their participation has been lots of fun and we hope the community will get behind the project and will try the featured recipe over the next 3 months,” commented Bartecki.

For any questions about this project please contact Sherrill-Lee Hyra, Health Promotion Coordinator, Prairie Mountain Health at or call 204-578-2192.

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March is Nutrition Month

The theme for 2023 is Unlock the Potential of Food: Find a Dietitian. Many people are confused about food and nutrition; daily, they are bombarded with conflicting messages about this topic. Dietitians are here to help people unpack the research around nutrition, make sustainable changes in their eating behaviours, and understand their relationship with food. However, many people also don’t know where to find a Dietitian or how to schedule an appointment.

Dietitians work in many roles, including managing food service operations, media and journalism, clinical roles in hospitals or long-term care facilities, public health and health promotion, cancer care, grocery stores and pharmacies, primary care clinics, sports teams, etc.

Some Dietitian services are covered through Manitoba Health, while others have a cost to them and are only covered by private insurance like an employee benefits plan. Unfortunately, not all employee benefit plans cover Dietitian services, however, Dietitians of Canada is advocating for more coverage for Canadians, and you can too! Whether you are an employee or an employer, you can advocate for Dietitian coverage on your insurance plan; for more information, go to Dietitians of Canada – Coverage and Access to RD Services.

If you are struggling with a chronic health condition, food allergies, your relationship with food, or any other aspect of your nutrition, make an appointment with a dietitian today!

Book an appointment with a Dietitian:

Prairie Mountain Health Central Intake 1-877-509-7852.

Learn more about the roles of Dietitians in Prairie Mountain Health by visiting here.

Private Practice | College of Dietitians of Manitoba

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Sweet Potato or Yam?

Did you know? Sweet Potatoes and yams are completely different vegetables.

The orange tapered potatoes commonly called yams are in fact sweet potatoes, while many people have probably never tried a yam before. Yams are brown with a bark-like skin and are not very common in North America. Yams can also grow to be much bigger than sweet potatoes. There are a couple different varieties of sweet potatoes which vary in colour such as rose coloured skin with orange flesh, pale copper/tan skin with white flesh, red skin with dry white flesh, as well as purple skin and flesh.

The nutrition profiles of yams and sweet potatoes are similar, however yams are starchier, while sweet potatoes are sweeter. Sweet potatoes have more Vitamin A while yams have more Vitamin C and potassium. Yams and sweet potatoes can both be prepared by roasting, steaming, boiling or frying. Substituting yams in a sweet potato dish would be like using potatoes instead of sweet potatoes in the recipe—it would work, but the end result would taste very different.

Check out these tasty sweet potato recipes

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