The Ontario Long-Term Care Clinicians awarded the prestigious Ontario Long-Term Care Physician of the Year Award to Dr. Peter Derkach, Medical Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre, for his exemplary patient care and outstanding service and leadership.
“Dr. Derkach’s deep dedication to patient care is truly admirable. He exemplifies what it means to be a highly competent physician, a visionary leader and a caring person. The Care Centre would not have that leading edge in long-term care if it were not for Dr. Derkach’s commendable passion for quality care, his outstanding expertise and spirit of innovation. We are extremely fortunate and very proud to have Dr. Derkach as our Medical Director and we cannot thank him enough for all he does for the Care Centre! Dr. Derkach’s contribution to the quality of care of our residents serves as an inspiration to each and every one of us who work at the Care Centre!” says Irena Dounets, Executive Director.
Dr. Derkach has a lifelong passion for geriatrics, clinical medicine, research and education. As a young graduate of the University of Toronto, he got involved in breakthrough research in Parkinson’s disease. After a very successful practice in family medicine, Dr. Derkach decided to dedicate his career to geriatrics – a decision that surprised all his friends as at that time geriatrics was not considered to be a field with a future. In geriatrics, however, Dr. Derkach saw a future for what he believed in and what he thought was much needed –complex continuing care and long-term care for seniors. It was not long after his decision that he was offered a position in long-term care in the Homes for the Aged.
Over the span of his distinguished career, Dr. Derkach has been involved in a number of innovative research projects and studies, among which is the Canadian Study on Health and Aging. This landmark Canada-wide longitudinal study followed over 10,000 seniors over a ten-year period from 1991 to 2001, resulting in the collection of a wide range of information on the changing health status regarding cognitive impairment/dementia in older adults.
Currently, Dr. Derkach is the Medical Director for two long-term care homes, the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre and the West Park Long-Term Care. He is also Deputy Chief of the West Park Health Care Centre.
At the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre, Dr. Derkach has worked for over 19 years. “I enjoy working at the Care Centre, says Dr. Derkach. The Care Centre is a progressive organization. The leadership is strong, caring and open to innovation. People believe in what they do, and going the extra mile at the Care Centre is regarded as business as usual. This is the right environment for innovation and a best practice as implementing new methods and ideas requires a lot of hard work, professionalism and dedication.”
Dr. Derkach has been at the heart of many innovative projects at the Care Centre. Most recently, through Dr. Derkach’s association with CAMH (the Canadian Association for Mental Health), the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre became the first long-term care home in Ontario to take part in a cutting edge project , the Integrated Care Pathway, aimed to improve the treatment of aggression and agitation in dementia patients.
Dr. Derkach has been instrumental in helping the Care Centre develop new partnerships and forge viable relations with leading authorities in geriatrics. The Care Centre is part of the Ontario Telemedicine Network as well as Connecting Ontario in order to improve the communication and collaboration between the Care Centre and other health facilities. An upcoming project with Humber Hospital may involve using telemedicine to reduce transfers to the emergency departments in hospitals. The Care Centre has established a working relationship with Dr. Dallas Seitz of Queen’s University and uses his Optimizing Prescribing Antipsychotics in Long-Term Care (OPAL) study to reduce antipsychotic medication.
“However, there is nothing more fulfilling and satisfying than interacting with my patients, families and staff and providing the best possible care for the residents, helping them have a better quality of life for as long as possible. ”, says Dr. Derkach in his speech, when receiving the award. Everything starts and ends with the resident and we, the physicians, should never lose sight of this. We go through our policies, procedures and clinical protocols but we need to always remember that all that we do is to improve the care of the resident.”
In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Derkach has had multiple educational presentations for the families of the Care Centre’s residents and the community. “He always makes himself available to us, the family members, when we have questions and need to have a better understanding of the health status and complex behaviours of our loved ones.”, says Anna Martyniw, Chair of the Care Centre’s Family Council Executive.
The Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre’s Senior Management, Board of Directors, Family Council Executive, staff, physicians, family members, residents and volunteers congratulate Dr. Derkach on his well-deserved award and wish him every success in his profession, which he practices with exemplary professionalism, care and dedication.