Hero in Health: Ken Mont

Transforming care in the Emergency Department

Ken Mont:  Nurse Clinician, Emergency Department, Rockyview General Hospital.

Ken Mont is a Nurse Clinician in the Emergency Department at Rockyview General Hospital. He has dedicated nearly 30 years working in Emergency, and together with Dr. Christine East, they’ve developed the Frequent Visitors program for the Calgary Zone, which aims to improve care and safety for a population of patients that can sometimes be overlooked in healthcare. That’s what makes Ken our Hero in Health!

The Heroes in Health initiative encourages patients and their families to give back in thanks for the extraordinary care they’ve received. To donate and nominate your health hero, visit our website.

Ken’s nominator for the Heroes in Health program said, “Ken’s impact to Emergency Departments, EMS, and to patients who visit the Emergency Department frequently is often immeasurable. His leadership and passion for this work is profound.”

The Frequent Visitors program was created to help a small but vulnerable population of individuals who have frequent, repeated emergency department visits. The typical approach to this population is to try temporary fixes.

“Moral distress and frustration amongst healthcare providers grows with each subsequent visit, not to mention the patient, whose underlying issues were not being addressed,” Ken explained.

As he progressed in his career, Ken’s interest in serving this population grew. In 2017, together with Dr. East, they recognized an opportunity to create an Emergency Department Treatment Planning Program to provide an innovative response to gaps in our healthcare system.

“Beyond the traditional emergency care model, our program is dedicated to addressing the complex needs of patients who attend the emergency department repeatedly; those dealing with chronic pain, mental health issues, substance misuse, and addiction.”

The program expanded beyond Rockyview General Hospital and was adapted in 2019 to include all urban Calgary Zone adult emergency departments.

“Patients with repeated emergency visits and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) use are at significant risk of harm due to over testing and over treatment. Our program seeks to bring together stakeholders from across the healthcare system to identify gaps and opportunities to better serve this vulnerable population,” explains Ken.

Instead of band-aid solutions that often result in repeat visits to emergency, his team works with community partners to support patients in accessing the care they need in the community.

“This helps protect emergency capacity for all Albertans, and better serves the underlying needs of the frequent visitor population.”

Ken sees the importance of this work growing since the pandemic, as he’s seen an increasing number of patients who don’t have family doctors or can’t access their doctors. This amplifies the challenges that patients face with complex, chronic health challenges.

Ken recognizes that healthcare worker burnout is at record levels and while their work is that much more crucial, challenging, and rewarding, more programs and help are needed to ensure patients find the right care. 

The program aims to create care plans tailored to individual needs by understanding the unique circumstances of each patient. Through collaboration, healthcare teams can develop tailored strategies that address the root causes of each patient’s conditions.

“Dr. East’s guidance has been instrumental in fostering a patient-centric approach, emphasizing the importance of greater consistency, adherence to safe standards of care, and treating vulnerable individuals with compassion and dignity.”

The program also includes plans for chronic pain management, mental health support, addictions, and unhoused populations.

Ken believes healthcare heroism lies in the collective efforts of his teams. Teamwork is a key reason he has stayed in emergency nursing, and having helped build a team that spans emergency, EMS, primary care, multi-disciplinary teams, and addictions and mental health has been very rewarding for him.

“I’m filled with pride for the accomplishments of the Frequent Visitors program and the resilience of our healthcare community. Dr. East’s leadership and the support of my managers in the Emergency Department, coupled with the dedication of our coworkers and staff has been instrumental in transforming emergency care at all Calgary hospitals.”

Thank you Ken, for your unwavering dedication to helping patients get the right care when they come to the Emergency Department.

We’re proud to call you a Hero in Health, and to have you as part of our extended family.  

Heroes in Health is part of our Grateful Patient initiative. Patients and their families can make a gift to Calgary Health Foundation and recognize their healthcare heroes. To donate and nominate your hero in health, visit our website. 

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