An INSPIRED approach to help you breathe – what can you do about shortness of breath? A whole body approach to better breathing.

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Our lungs are for life!

Individuals with lung diseases like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Asthma might feel shortness of breath after exertion or even following an emotional event. Feeling short of breath can make you feel anxious. Feeling anxious can make you short of breath. Here are some tips to help you breathe easier.


First, find a comfortable position. Stay calm and let your shoulders drop away from your ears. Leaning forward and resting your arms on a table or your thighs can help put your ribcage in a more relaxed position to ease the muscles of breathing.

Pursed Lip Breathing

Try to slow your breathing by inhaling through your mouth at first and exhaling through pursed lips, as if you were blowing out a candle. The breath out should last 2-3 times longer than the breath in. As your breathing slows, inhale through your nose and exhale through pursed lips.

Your Environment

If you are in a public space when you experience shortness of breath, well-meaning individuals may come close and offer help. This can lead to more anxious feelings followed by more shortness of breath. Close your eyes and focus on the air moving in and out of your lungs to tune out the distractions in your environment to ease your breathing faster.

Your Mind

Your brain is only able to focus well on one thing at a time. Putting your focus on the air entering your lungs and the stresses leaving through pursed lips as you exhale will help your breathing return to normal more quickly. Practicing pursed lip breathing when you are relaxed will help you to easily use this technique when you need it in cases of suddenly feeling anxious and short of breath.

Your Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle will help you deal with both the physical and emotional challenges of the day. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, getting a good night’s sleep, pacing yourself with activity as well as getting regular exercise will all help you to enjoy better breathing.

Tracy Bonifacio, BSc., RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist)


Burlington and Caroline FHT

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays from the Burlington Family Health Team and the physicians and staff at the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre.

In the past year, we have had some exciting changes in healthcare.  The biggest change was the introduction of the Ontario Health Team (OHT)model.  We are proud to be a member of the Burlington Ontario Health Team, one of 24 teams chosen by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to be the first wave of OHT’s.  You can find more information on OHT’s by clicking and more information regarding our Burlington OHT will be coming in the New Year.

We are honoured to be part of your primary care team and wish you and your loved ones a Bright and Merry Holiday season and a wonderful New Year.


Burlington Ontario Health Team chosen as one of first in Ontario to move forward with health team model

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BURLINGTON, ON – The Ontario government today announced that Burlington will be one of the first communities in Ontario to move forward with establishing an Ontario Health Team.

Jane McKenna, Member of Provincial Parliament for Burlington, made the announcement this morning at the Burlington Family Health Team site located in the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre, before an audience that included patient and family advisors and partners of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The Burlington Ontario Health Team is a collaboration of health and social service organizations serving the City of Burlington and surrounding communities. To date, the Burlington Ontario Health Team is comprised of 15 partners and 20 collaborators that represent a wide range of health and social services. Patients, families and caregivers with lived experience are actively engaged in the development of the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The Burlington Family Health Team is proud to be an inaugural partner and look forward to working with the community in building the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The vision of the Burlington Ontario Health Team is to co-create a person and family-centred delivery model that wraps health and social services around patients, families and caregivers. The patient-primary care provider relationship is the most enduring relationship that people establish within the health care system. It is a relationship focused on total health and wellness. Primary care is central to the envisioned model, with primary care providers representing the majority of partners in the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

“As a family Physician, I see the challenges in our healthcare system.  Our OHT is focused upon addressing this through improved access, navigation and warm hand-offs throughout our patients’ healthcare journey” says Dr. Harpal Singh, Physician Lead, Burlington Ontario Health Team.

“Our efforts will include securing ways to share health information with our patients and others within the circle of care.  I am heartened by the response from our community primary care physicians and community organizations.  Our partnership is growing as more and more of these key stakeholders join our OHT and we begin to move forward with our plans”.

The Burlington community has a long history of working together. Collaboration and partnership across primary care, acute care, home care, community support services, long-term care and social services has led to the development of a number of integrated care delivery models that will support the Burlington Ontario Health Team.

The Ontario government’s announcement will enable the Burlington Ontario Health Team to move forward with building upon the innovative models that have demonstrated positive patient, provider and system outcomes and continuing to explore ways to offer better, more integrated care. This includes expanding 24/7 navigation and care coordination services for patients and families, and increasing access to digital tools such as virtual visits and patient portals, implemented in phases over time.

“As the Executive Director of the Burlington Family Health Team, I have seen the benefits of providing care from not only a family physician but from other complementary health care professionals” shares Joanne Pearson. “Currently, less than 15 per cent of the Burlington community has access to this type of team-based care. The 15 partner organizations within our Burlington OHT are committed to improving access to this model of care, as well as health education and preventative programs and services.”

“Patient and family advisors are an integral part of the Burlington Ontario Health Team. In this role, our Community Wellness Council is actively engaged in shaping the Burlington Ontario Health Team” says Chloe Gallagher.

“At 15, they called me a miracle patient. Since then, I’ve become a professional patient. I’ve experienced many aspects of our system; from good to bad, paediatrics to now, doctors’ offices to ORNGE helicopters. We have to ensure patients have a strong support network of health care providers, family, and community. That support, combined with advocacy, autonomy, and informed care, is essential to both prevention and treatment of disease.”

“The Burlington Ontario Health Team is a great opportunity to transform the healthcare system from the lens of patients, families and caregivers,” says Sylvia Leonard, Chair of Community Wellness Council. “We have been empowered to play an important role in the planning and design of the OHT. We are looking forward to continuing the work with our Burlington partners on initiatives important to us, including digital access of health information for health providers, patients and caregivers, and the ability for information to flow across jurisdictions; education and prevention with a focus on wellness; and ensuring we continue to do things based on evidence and outcomes.”

The Burlington Ontario Health Team will continue to work closely with our partners, collaborators, and the Ministry of Health to determine how the team will proceed with these initiatives and how it will engage with other Ontario Health Teams.

There are no immediate changes or impacts for patients or providers at this time.

Quick Facts

  • The Burlington Ontario Health Team submitted their full application in October 2019 and hosted a site visit in November 2019.
  • Through the Burlington Anchor Table, the health and social service organizations that are part of the Burlington Ontario Health Team have a strong history of working together to improve care and services.
  • By making services more integrated and accessible, Ontario Health Teams will achieve better patient and population health outcomes, better patient and family experience, better provider experience, and better value and efficiency.

Additional Resources

Burlington OHT in the Media:

Government of Ontario News: 

The Spec:

Inside Halton:

In Halton:


Media Inquiries

Media Relations,

Burlington Ontario Health Team

905-632-3737 Ext. 1283

OHIP: Insured Services Update Effective Oct 1st, 2019

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Dear Patients,

Recently, the Ministry of Health working alongside the Physician Appropriateness Working Group have updated the OHIP insured/uninsured benefits to reflect current evidence-based guidelines to provide best care for patients. The following changes were made to ensure Ontarians get the best possible care, while reducing redundancy and health system waste (Choosing Wisely).If you have questions about the below changes –please talk to one of your healthcare providers about the changes.


WHAT:Previously, routine pre-operative assessment by a primary care provider was required by the Ontario Hospitals Act. However, Pre-Operative assessments are often best done by those involved with the surgical procedure (the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, or the medical doctor who provides hospital care/follow up). Routine pre-operative assessments will no longer be insured for primary care providers

WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR ME: Your primary care provider and surgeon can still make referrals to Preoperative Assessment clinics which will continue to help with pre-operative planning. These visits will still be insured by OHIP. If your surgical provider still feels they require your family physician to do a Pre-Operative physical form in addition to this assessment, there may be a cost associated of $65.00 with the completion of this assessment and forms.


WHAT:Ear wax removal will only be insured when it results in hearing loss and applying topical medications has been unsuccessful, or when immediately removing the wax is necessary for diagnosis and/or therapy.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU:Your physician may ask you to try topical medications to remove ear wax prior to manual removal at an associated cost of $11.25 per ear.


WHAT: Urine pregnancy tests will only be insured when an immediate determination of pregnancy is required.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: If you are pregnant, a home pregnancy test is one way to confirm pregnancy. You can discuss with your provider if other testing including blood tests and ultrasounds might be used to confirm or date your pregnancy (these tests are still covered by OHIP). If your doctor needs to do a pregnancy test to rule for a medical reason, these will still be covered.

Upcoming workshops at the Burlington Public Library!

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The community team at the Burlington Family Health Team will be offering the following sessions at the various Burlington Public Library locations.  Registration starts Nov 15th, 2019 – All are welcome!!

Don’t Hibernate!

4 Dec: 10:30 am-11:30 am, Aldershot

27 Jan: 7-8 pm, Alton


Living Better with Osteoarthritis

16 Dec: 11 am-12 pm, Central

5 Feb: 10:30 am -11:30 am, Aldershot


Come Fall with Us

29 Jan: 10:30 am -11:30 am, New Appleby

11 Feb: 2-3 pm, Brant Hills 


Improve your Sleep Routine

10 Feb: 7-8 pm, Central – Jake and Shannon

26 Feb: 10:30-11:30 am, New Appleby – Jake and Shannon


SPRING 2020:

End Hibernation!

1 Mar: 2-3 pm, Alton