Ten great things that happened this week

Frank Kovrig, a resident in the Houses of Providence, saw his daughter in person today on the very first day that visits were safety permitted. Click image to expand. (Photo credit: Katie Cooper, Medical Media)

(June 18, 2020) – 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) Family visitations started at the Houses of Providence Today!

The Houses of Providence welcomed back family members today to the site for outdoor visiting with residents. This is part of phase one of visiting in long-term care homes which started today and which allows for at least one visit per resident a week in an outdoor setting. The Houses of Providence team has been hard at work behind-the-scenes to prepare the great room patio and implement processes to safely resume visiting for residents and families.

2) Staff at St. Michael’s greeted by an arch of flowers in a vibrant thank-you

Florists from Feel Good Flowers installed an arch around the Bond Street entrance on Saturday as part of a city-wide initiative to recognize health care workers. The installation of roses, gerberas and ivy, in all colours of the rainbow, recognized the work of staff and physicians across Unity Health, and celebrated Pride Month. A special thank you to Mayor John Tory who joined us for the installation, and OXFORD Properties Group who sponsored the flowers. See a picture of the flowers.

3) The Orthopaedic Inpatient Unit opened inside the 9th floor of the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower

The Orthopaedic Inpatient Unit opened its brand new space on the 9th floor of the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower, a significant step for the team which previously operated on two different floors at St. Michael’s. Now, they are in one joint space. “We are so thrilled to be able to now offer [care] in this new and healing space,” said Tasha Osborne, Senior Clinical Program Director of Surgery and Critical Care at St. Michael’s. Read more about the new space here.

4) NOW Magazine recognizes Dr. Janet Smylie and Dr. Kamran Khan as Toronto Trailblazers

Dr. Janet Smylie, Family Physician at St. Michael’s, was profiled in NOW Magazine for her leading work in Indigenous health research. In her latest project, she is studying the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous people and making sure they are ‘counted in’ no matter what jurisdiction they live in. Read their profile on her here.

Dr. Kamran Khan is an Infectious Disease Physician and Scientist at St. Michael’s, and the Founder and CEO of BlueDot, a Toronto-based disease analytics tool that picked up signals of a pneumonia outbreak with an unknown cause in Wuhan, China. Within 24 hours, the BlueDot team drafted a summary of their findings and sent it to multiple clients including the Public Health Agency of Canada. Read his profile here.

5) Homebound residents receive care packages from the St. Joseph’s Urban Family Health Team to keep them safe

Special care packages are being hand-delivered to residents in the west end to keep them safe and informed during the pandemic. The packages, which include homemade masks and safety information, are an initiative by The St. Joseph’s Urban Family Health Team where the team reaches out to elderly patients and others who have limited mobility. Read the story here.

6) Are we letting our guard down too quickly? How much risk are we facing? Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak answers our pressing questions

Dr. Andrew Petrosoniak, Emergency Physician at St. Michael’s and Translational Simulation Lead at Unity Health Toronto, spoke with the communications team about risk perception, the concept of preferred failure, and how to move forward during this unusual time. Read our Q&A with him here.

7) St. Joseph’s Endoscopy Unit wins a national award for their patient care

The St. Joseph’s Endoscopy Unit received the Quality Endoscopy Recognition Award from the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG). The award is given to hospitals and clinics for meeting the CAG’s Quality Program criteria, and is an acknowledgement of their commitment to quality improvement in their care.

8) Dr. Carolyn Snider argues for a coordinated response to test and isolate the homeless and underhoused at risk of COVID-19

Since the pandemic began, St. Michael’s has cared for over 700 homeless and underhoused individuals who arrived in the Emergency Department needing to isolate after exposure, or be tested. Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine at St. Michael’s, describes what it’s been like for the department and why we need a coordinated emergency response to this unprecedented demand on hospitals. Read her op-ed here.

9) An advisory panel including Unity Health experts has released its recommendations for the safe reopening of schools

An advisory panel including St. Michael’s pediatricians and researchers Dr. Sloane Freeman and Dr. Justine Cohen-Silver released its recommendations for the safe reopening of schools this week. The guidance document, led by SickKids, said “the risks of infection and transmission in children, which appear to be minimal, need to be balanced with the harms of school closure which is impacting their physical and mental health.” Read about it here.

10) Two residents of the Providence Houses describe their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Ernest (Ernie) and Mary Dodgson moved into the Providence Houses together about a year ago. They share how they spent their time together while the pandemic restricted their ability to see their children and grandchildren in person. Read about them here.