[New Tecumseth, ON – July 31, 2020] – Staff at Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) have been managing through one of the most challenging times in health care history, and in addition to this, are dedicated to supporting long-term care (LTC), retirement homes and congregate living organizations through the COVID-19 pandemic.
SMH has been working locally to provide education, infection prevention and control assessments, swabbing and COVID-19 surveillance and now a new virtual assessment option through OTN (Ontario Telehealth Network) for seniors from LTC and retirement homes in need of emergency care.
A swabbing team consisting of SMH nursing staff and physicians as well as nurses and a Respiratory Therapist from the Alliston Family Health Team filled the role of providing COVID-19 swab tests onsite to many facilities that requested the support, including Simcoe Manor in Beeton and LeBlanc Rest Home in Bradford.
“We have greatly enjoyed working closely with our community partners to build a team to provide such an important service to our most vulnerable residents from the community,” says Carrie Jeffreys, VP Clinical Services & CNE, SMH. “I’m so proud of how SMH and our community partners have supported across our congregate settings, in addition to their already busy roles in health care,” she adds.
Infection prevention and control assessments were provided by SMH staff either on site or virtually at local LTC and retirement homes, including Good Samaritan Seniors Complex. These assessments included reviewing policies and procedures, screening and signage, PPE, hand hygiene practices and pandemic preparedness and response planning.
A new initiative that has been launched this week is a virtual assessment tool through OTN, allowing patients from LTC and retirement homes to receive an assessment remotely from a physician. This ultimately helps keep this vulnerable population safe by reducing the need to come to the hospital and allowing these residents to stay in the organizations they call home.
“Ultimately the goal is to help avoid outbreak situations and support these facilities who already have strong planning and initiatives in place,” adds Jeffreys. “The health care model is changing to one that is more collaborative, which is not only a model that our community needs, but one that will always be supported by SMH.”
SMH continues to support LTC and retirement homes/congregate living facilities with COVID-19 swabbing and surveillance and will do so as long as needed throughout the pandemic.