Hospitals and Family Health Teams in Grey Bruce are joining together to support the Grey Bruce Health Unit and local long-term care homes in responding to COVID-19.
It has become clear that the impact of COVID-19 that was anticipated to be felt in hospital ICUs and acute care units across the province is instead being felt in long-term care homes and retirement homes.
Healthcare organizations in Grey Bruce have been working shoulder to shoulder throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a coordinated response, and recently the conversation has turned to how support can be provided to long-term care.
In the southern part of Grey Bruce, South Bruce Grey Health Centre (SBGHC) and Hanover & District Hospital (HDH) leadership and physicians have been meeting weekly with the leaders of eight long-term care homes in the region, and EMS for the two counties. “The intention is to support each other – a safe space to identify gaps or challenges our organizations are facing so we can help each other, as we are all in this together,” says Michael Barrett, SBGHC President and CEO. “We are committed to providing help where we can, including sending teams of hospital staff into long-term care homes to assist with universal swabbing of residents and staff, and preparing to redeploy hospital staff to work in long-term care if staffing challenges arise.”
Under the leadership of the Grey Bruce Health Unit, SBGHC staff, alongside the Brockton and Kincardine Area Family Health Team, have assisted four long-term care homes with swabbing residents and staff. “This has truly been a team effort between the hospital, Family Health Team, the Grey Bruce Health Unit and our long-term care partners,” explains Angela Stanley, Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive for SBGHC. “Every home we have worked with has been extremely welcoming.”
“HDH has partnered with three local long-term care facilities to provide clinical support in swabbing their staff,” says Dana Howes, HDH President & CEO. “We firmly believe in supporting our health care partners beyond the walls of our hospital and we will continue to collaborate with local LTC facilities to address their pandemic response needs. We would also like thank our LTC partners for the warm welcome to their facilities and our Hanover Family Health Team colleagues for providing additional support in this venture.”
Grey Bruce Health Services sent a team of nurses, occupational health, and Infection Control specialists into eight local long-term care homes to provide COVID-19 testing for staff and residents. “We are pleased to work with our partners to offer assistance in any way that is needed. We also have a full team on standby should one of our long-term care homes require any assistance with direct patient care during this pandemic,” said Gary Sims, GBHS President and CEO.
“The partnership among Public Health, hospitals, and primary care to provide the enhanced surveillance testing of all residents and staff in long-term care homes has been a great success. As Public Health is responsible for coordinating this enhanced surveillance, we acknowledge the significant effort of the local hospitals and staff to achieve our objectives.” Says Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health. “These partnerships show that Grey Bruce has the capability to respond when it is needed, to meet the challenge we all face from the COVID pandemic.”