Ten great things that happened this week

Respiratory Therapists at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s raised money for the Daily Food Bank and United Way as part of an inter-hospital initiative.

Respiratory Therapists at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s raised money for the Daily Food Bank and United Way as part of an inter-hospital initiative.

(June 4, 2020) – We know that 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 over the previous week. Have a story you’d like to share? Send it to communications@unityhealth.to.

1) St. Joseph’s Mission Day celebrates through Zoom!

Friday’s Mission Day at. St Joseph’s is including all of the same touches this year, just virtually. The 2020 Our Shared Values Awards winners will be celebrated and recognized through a Zoom ceremony for demonstrating their dedication to living Unity Health’s missions and values every day in all that they do.

2) Virtual group therapy sessions launch in our mental health program

Top left: Haris Khan, Inpatient Support Worker for the Mental Health Inpatient unit, who has been instrumental in orienting patients and promoting participation; top right: Hricha Rakshit; bottom: Rachel Lodge.

Patients on the Inpatient Mental Health Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital reported boredom and anxiety from the impact of COVID-19 on visitor restrictions, outdoor passes and in-person group sessions. In response, Hricha Rakshit, Mental Health and Addictions Group Facilitator, came up with the fantastic idea to start running virtual group therapy sessions twice a week. They were so well-received by inpatients that by the third week, they increased to three times a week. “The goal is to provide patients with strategies for managing their distress and also share experiences with each other while still maintaining a safe physical distance,” explained Rachel Lodge, Registered Nurse and acting Team Leader for the Unit.

3) Smudging Ceremonies provide a space for staff to de-stress and reflect

Twice a month, Jennefer Simo, a Community Support Worker in the Emergency Department, and Leonard Benoit, Indigenous Patient Navigator, host a Smudging Ceremony at St. Michael’s. Smudging is a traditional healing ceremony practiced by some Indigenous people in Canada that involves burning one or all of the four Sacred Plant Medicines. It is done to help cleanse the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of an individual. “The staff asked if we could do Smudging Ceremonies as a way to promote well-being during this stressful time and Leonard and I were more than happy to support,” said Simo. “It has been such a blessed opportunity and I’m happy to be part of it.” Read more about it here.

4) How long does immunity to COVID-19 last? New Toronto-led research group is investigating

With 10,000 pinpricks, St. Michael’s Dr. Prabhat Jha hopes to find out what no one else has discerned yet: How long does immunity to COVID-19 last? This first-in-Canada study is being pursued in collaboration between the Centre for Global Health Research at Unity Health Toronto, the University of Toronto and the Angus Reid Institute. Read our interview with Dr. Jha, one of the study’s lead researchers and Director of the Centre for Global Health Research.

5) New bathrooms and showers are enhancing the experience for St. Joseph’s Adult Mental Health inpatients

Four showers and two single hallway washrooms in the Adult Inpatient Mental Health Unit at St. Joseph’s were recently renovated. “These renovations are great because it’s about offering people dignity and comfort. With these new amenities, now our patients can have a nice warm shower and use washroom facilities in a clean, comfortable and safe space,” said Cheryl Peever, Patient Care Manager of the unit.

6) The list of generous donations from our community keeps growing!

On an almost weekly basis, we are adding multiple names of generous organizations in our community that are either donating food or personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff at Unity Health. This week, we added almost 20 new ones. Check them out here.

7) Providence Healthcare is getting national interest in how we are caring for COVID-19 positive patients in need of orthopaedic and amputee rehab

Our team on the Orthopaedic and Amputee Rehab unit has been busy sharing their learnings with colleagues at Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Alberta and Vancouver Coastal Health, BC’s largest health organization and rehab provider. This national interest is really shining a light on Providence’s leadership in this area of healthcare!

8) Those in need are being supported by our Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory Therapists (RTs) at Unity Health have come together to raise money for the Daily Food Bank and United Way to support those in need during this time. They chose to participate in this inter-hospital initiative after it was started by RTs in Southlake Hospital who then asked other hospitals to pay the generosity forward. Pictured here are some of our participating RTs at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s.

9) Congratulations to Dr. Nav Persaud and his team for winning U of T Award 

In the fall, Dr. Nav Persaud and his team published a study that found providing essential medicine for free to patients increased the likelihood of their medicine intake by 44 per cent. This week, Dr. Persaud, physician in St. Michael’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, and his team won the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine’s Award for Outstanding Peer-Reviewed Publication for it. Read the paper here.

10) Pilot program in St. Michael’s emergency department supports patients experiencing homelessness and substance use during COVID-19

A pilot program in the St. Michael’s Emergency Department (ED) has pulled in extra clinical support so that high-risk patients with substance use issues can continue to receive dedicated, dignified and robust care during the pandemic. Read about it here.