COVID-19 Response and Update: Message of thanks from Providence Care and KHSC Page 2
Virtual cheers, to your health! fundraiser Page 4
KHSC and providence care: Stronger together Page 6
Celebrating the Unsung Heroes at Kingston health sciences centre Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) hardworking team of clinical laboratory professionals are always committed to providing accurate and timely test results for patients. In recent weeks, they have rapidly changed the way they work in order to provide quick and accurate testing for the entire southeastern Ontario region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, it would take months to prepare the laboratories for a new test, but KHSC was able to get the necessary licensing, equipment, supplies and staffing in just a couple of weeks, which is truly remarkable given the stringent requirements for accreditation. “What people often don’t realize is just how specialized a skill set it is to extract genetic information and do the molecular testing,” says Dr. Sandip SenGupta, Laboratory Medical Director, KHSC. “It’s not routine testing by any
means. Since there just weren’t enough staff in the microbiology laboratory alone, we cross-trained some of our staff from the genetics laboratory because of their similar level of expertise so that we could ramp up our testing capability further.” This type of skill set in laboratory medicine, especially in fields such as molecular microbiology, is not ordinarily taught in colleges to students. KHSC is fortunate to work closely with the KFL&A Public Health Laboratory in Kingston for testing. Samples for testing are also received from hospitals in Peterborough, Cobourg, Smiths Falls, and Brockville which depend on KHSC’s ability to support them with timely results. Continued on page 2...
Celebrating the Unsung Heroes at Kingston health sciences centre Continued from page 1. “We have an incredible team of laboratory professionals and we’ve risen to the challenge,” says Dr. SenGupta. “I’m really proud of the way we’ve come together. KHSC is aligned with Ontario Health’s requirements of test results in 24 hours. I think that all of our medical staff are really happy with that.” This difficult time has drastically changed what it means to plan
for the future, especially for the laboratory teams in relation to KHSC’s massive rebuilding project. “The whole experience with ensuring physical distancing for our staff and securing additional storage capacity for our laboratory equipment, supplies and reagents has made us reassess our space plans. We must be prepared for the next pandemic,” says Dr. SenGupta.
“Laboratory professionals are not just the unsung heroes of this time,” says Dr. SenGupta, “they’re the unsung heroes of all times.” Given the vital importance of laboratory testing in making correct diagnoses and treatment plans, it is fitting that National Medical Laboratory week was celebrated in April.
Message of Thanks from Providence Care and KHSC During these challenging times, our values are what sustain us and help us work effectively together. In the last few weeks, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care have been transformed by the tremendous work of our people. Redeploying staff, transferring patients, creating additional beds, increasing our lab testing capacity, and managing personal protective equipment supplies are just a few examples of the dedication and flexibility of our staff.
Our ability to limit and prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 is also a testament to our Infection Prevention and Control teams, as well as all staff following protocols to ensure we keep our healthcare sites safe during this unprecedented time. We want to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their tireless efforts and our donor community for their ongoing support. Without the support of unrestricted funding, we would simply not be able to react and prepare the way we have. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
Protecting our community continues to be our number one priority. We will take every precaution we can to ensure the safety of our staff, the people we care for and the Kingston community. Thank you for your continued support as we navigate through this challenging time together. Many thanks, Cathy Szabo, President and CEO, Providence Care Dr. David Pichora, President and CEO, KHSC 2 | SUMMER 2020
UHKF BENEFIT DINNER UHKF is excited to announce that this year’s Benefit Dinner raised more than $94,000! We couldn’t have achieved this without the sponsors and individuals who continued to support the event after it’s cancellation due to COVID-19. We are also grateful for everyone who participated in our Benefit Dinner online silent auction. Thank you for your generosity and support of Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care.
Community support for #YGKHealthcareHeroes during covid-19 UHKF received many messages of support for our healthcare teams. These messages go a long way in helping staff feel supported during COVID-19. Here’s what some community members have to say: “Our healthcare teams at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Providence Care, and in the community, are dedicated and courageous. Thank you to the receptionists, environmental staff, PSWs, nurses, doctors, clinicians, scientists, technologists, those in research and everyone in between!” “We are so grateful for the many in our healthcare facilities that are doing so much right now. We see you. We appreciate you. We thank you so very much.” “Bless you as you continue to work on the front line. This volunteer misses her Friday afternoon job in the ER.” “Providence Manor staff, I am thanking you for the difference you are making in residents’ lives. You are amazing!” UHKF appreciates our community coming together during the COVID-19 crisis. Your generosity is inspiring. Whether you made a donation or donated personal protective equipment, supplies and audio/visual equipment, thank YOU! Our patients, residents and clients thank you too!
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Virtual fundraising Virtual Cheers, To Your Health! is a region-wide fundraiser to help support Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care organized by UHKF. Over the next few months, each Virtual Cheers, To Your Health! host will select their date (any date and any time), plan their event and invite guests. Hosts and event guests are encouraged to make a donation to UHKF to raise money in support of KHSC and Providence Care. “The Virtual Cheers, To Your Health! online event is a great opportunity for community members to get involved
in supporting health care in Kingston,” says Dr. David Pichora, President and CEO, KHSC. “We hope to see many of these events taking place across the city, and we are so thankful for every dollar donated during this very challenging time. Thank you, Kingston, for your generous support.” You could host a virtual dinner party, games night or happy hour. Each event is completely customizable. “We are truly fortunate to live in such a generous community that understands the value of exceptional healthcare. Our hope is the Virtual Cheers, To
Your Health! online event not only rallies the community to get behind healthcare in Kingston, but also brings community members closer together in the process,” says Cathy Szabo, President and CEO, Providence Care. “Your incredible generosity and the contributions you make directly impacts the lives of the people we serve. Our entire organization is so grateful for your gifts because we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, without community support. Thank you to all of our donors and volunteers.” Learn more at www.uhkf.ca! 4 | SUMMER 2020
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Providence Care Hospital helps combat COVID-19 As part of their regional role in supporting post-acute needs in aging, rehabilitation and mental health, Providence Care Hospital receives a significant portion of patient admissions from Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). Regional preparations for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients have led the state-of-the-art facility to create more than 200 additional beds in unconventional spaces to support the local fight against the virus. “Regionally, we have to plan to accommodate the flow of patients in the event of a COVID-19 surge,” says Krista Wells Pearce, Vice President of Planning and Corporate Support Services, and COVID-19 Incident Commander at Providence Care. “Providence Care has worked very closely with KHSC in the last few weeks to transfer patients in order to maximize their vacant space at the KGH site. We’ve also adapted a number of our clinical and non-clinical spaces such as conference rooms, patient lounges and outpatients clinics to add more than 200 beds. Where required, our teams have converted the flooring in these areas by removing the carpet in the Learning Centre and installing sheet vinyl, as well as installing privacy curtains.” Creating this additional capacity has required creativity. Across all healthcare organizations, the hardest challenges of this crisis are the uncertainties of personal protective equipment supply, daily COVID-19 developments and the physical distancing requirements.
“It’s been constantly evolving, not even day-by-day in some cases, sometimes hour-by-hour as new directives have emerged,” says Wells Pearce. “We’re preparing for the worst-case scenario and truly hoping that most of the new beds we’ve opened are never used. It goes without saying that we also wish we had our volunteers here, as well as families and visitors, to help ease the uncertainty of all this for the people we serve. But we’re getting by with the restrictions and we’re looking forward to the day when they come back.” April 23, 2020, marked three years since Providence Care Hospital first opened its doors. The site was designed to meet Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee (PIDAC) standards and this has given the staff the ability to keep our patients and clients as safe as possible. The design has also allowed us to use our space creatively to meet the COVID-19 surge needs. It was generous donations from the community that made the hospital a reality and this community spirit is what still drives the hospital forward today. “While we were unable to celebrate in the traditional sense, we want to express our sincere thanks to our community who continue to show encouragement and support during these uncertain times,” says Wells Pearce. “Our community supported us then and they continue to show their support now, when we need it most.”
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KHSC and Providence Care: Stronger together Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) and Providence Care have always worked closely together, especially in the transfer of patients back and forth between KHSC’s Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site and Providence Care Hospital site. The COVID-19 crisis has required new levels of co-operation between the two organizations. “We’ve had to be really creative,” says Sandra Carlton, Chief Human Resources Officer for Providence Care and KHSC. “More than two hundred staff have been redeployed across all KHSC and Providence Care, performing roles they perhaps never envisioned previously.” Before the health care crisis, there were already a few joint teams in place such as Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), Human Resources and Occupational Health, Safety and Wellness. These teams can share resources
across both organizations, collaborating closely to keep staff, patients and the community safe. Throughout the pandemic, these strong relationships between the sites have provided continuity and consistency in practices, especially with infection control practices and the use of personal protective equipment. However, it has been the unprecedented numbers of patient transfers that has benefitted most from these relationships. “We decanted a lot of our Acute Level of Care patients in different places and Providence Care were very supportive and helpful,” says Rachael Smith-Tryon, Director of Patient Flow, Registration and Health Information Services at KHSC. “During that time the teams were in constant contact during the day for multiple days at a time. So the collaboration between the teams has been huge and significant but it’s not new. These teams have been in
contact and had a relationship prior to now, which has made our lives a lot easier during this pandemic.” To prevent the spread of the virus, KHSC and Providence Care are working hard with their partners across the region, and, locally, with the City of Kingston and KFL&A Public Health. Together, they are keeping our community safe. “Our vision has always been that if we can work as a healthcare system, versus separate sites, it would benefit the community,” says Carlton. “Despite the fact that the two organizations are managed under their own leadership, the relationships and networks already established have ensured for very functional and easy collaboration during this pandemic. We are working together, like never before. It’s a really proud moment to be a Kingstonian.”
uhkf.ca 55 Rideau Street, Suite 4 Kingston ON, K7K 2Z8 613.549.5452 uhkf.ca
Read about COVID-19 response and updates at Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Providence Care.