Ten Great Things That Happened This Week

Living and working through COVID-19 is tough, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the wonderful things that are happening at our sites – and for our people – along the way.

Each week, we’re sharing a list of 10 great things that happened this week. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Send it to communications@unityhealth.to.

1) The COVID-19 outbreak in 6G at St. Joseph’s was declared over

The COVID-19 outbreak in the 6G Unit at St. Joseph’s was officially declared over on Friday, Aug. 14. A huge thank you to the many teams who worked tirelessly to contain the outbreak and protect our patients, staff and physicians.

2) How did the acceleration of the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower provide the right space for COVID-19 care? Our experts weigh in

Earlier this year, the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower’s opening was accelerated to create capacity for the acute and critical care of COVID-19 patients. The tower was ideal for this form of care because of its individual patient rooms, critical care capacity and infection control measures. Mike Keen, Vice-President of Facilities and Planning at Unity Health Toronto, and Margaret Moy Lum-Kwong, Senior Director of Operational Readiness, discussed the acceleration and how hospital design directly affects pandemic care. Read more.

3) St. Michael’s student raises $10,000 to help patients experiencing marginalization after discharge

Five years ago, Sahil Gupta founded a student-led initiative between St. Michael’s and the University of Toronto where he pledged to fundraise $10,000 over the next five years to help patients experiencing homelessness reintegrate after discharge. This initiative was called the Centre for Research on Inner City Health – U of T Chapter. This week, with the help of professors, volunteers, and student leaders, he successfully reached his goal. “I wanted to improve access to quality and complete health care for those living on the margins of our society, so I did this to help provide free access to food and winter clothing,” said Gupta, who is currently completing his PhD under the supervision of Dr. John Marshall at the Keenan Research Centre.

4) We moved into our second phase of welcoming back visitors

On Monday, August 17, Unity Health Toronto entered Phase 2 of its visitor reintegration. In the second phase, every patient who has been admitted for more than three days can have one weekly Essential Care Partner visit, at a minimum, as long as they are pre-approved by the clinical care team. We know that visits from loved ones are comforting and important for our patients and we’re working hard to re-introduce them safely for our patients. More information can be found here: https://stjosephsandstmichaels.com/visiting-a-patient/

5) How has the pandemic impacted mental health and what can we do about it? Our experts weigh in

Some medical experts are referring to the psychological impact of the pandemic as the “fourth wave.” Dr. Thomas Unger, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St. Michael’s, penned an op-ed in Toronto Life where he emphasized the importance of making mental health services more affordable and available to meet the increasing need of mental health support. Read more.

6) St. Michael’s clinicians share what they learned from the COVID-19 outbreak in the hemodialysis unit

Following the COVID-19 outbreak in the St. Michael’s Hemodialysis Unit in May, our clinicians outlined their response and learnings in a newly published article in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. One of their key learnings was that an effective way to prevent further transmission of the virus is to do universal COVID-19 testing and droplet and contact precautions in the setting of an outbreak. Read more.

7) Canadiens head coach thanks St. Michael’s staff for the care he received

Montreal Canadiens’ Head Coach Claude Julien underwent the stenting of a coronary artery last week at St. Michael’s. Following his discharge, he publically thanked St. Michael’s staff for “the wonderful care he received during his stay.” Read more.

8) Providence Foundation opened up a beauty bar for staff and physicians

This week, staff and physicians at Providence were able to pick up two free treats or beauty items at a beauty bar that was made possible by local donors who wanted to show their gratitude to staff. Items included hair care products, cosmetics and treats. This event was planned by Providence’s Foundation and Wellness Teams.

9) Charissa Chow redefining recreation activities for her patients is spotlighted in #BehindTheMask

Charissa Chow is a Recreational Therapist in Specialized Geriatrics at Providence. Her planning of recreation activities for her patients changed during the pandemic from group programs such as seated yoga to one-on-one activities like walking and video chats with loved ones. “I think at first it was a lot of different updates from management and policy changes, but once that got a little settled there was less panic and we were able to integrate into the role. It’s important to be adaptable. We’ve been really more present on the unit and I feel more integrated into the team,” said Chow. See the latest #BehindTheMask post.

10) We spotlight how our virtual care is enhancing mental health care during the pandemic

Norma lives with bipolar disorder and usually enjoys a number of hobbies that help maintain her mental health. When the pandemic shut most things down, her mental health began to suffer. Thanks to virtual appointments with her family physician in St. Joseph’s Family Health Team, her family doctor Dr. Navika Limaye was able to recognize and intervene before Norma’s health declined further. Read more.