Take a moment for our values
Each day across our sites we work to care for people and support their wellbeing. Every person, every position, and every action–large or small–contributes to the care experience at Unity Health. We have a tremendous opportunity to shape that experience by putting our values in action.
By reflecting on Unity Health’s five shared values of Human Dignity, Compassion, Excellence, Community and Inclusivity in our daily practice, we find balance, purpose, and joy in our service to patients, residents, and families, team members, and our community.
We can create the best care experiences together, by taking a moment for our values each day.
We affirm that every person has sacred value and is worthy of respect.
We enable health and healing by understanding each person’s needs and by providing care with kindness and sensitivity.
We strive to achieve the best care and quality through innovation and continuous improvement.
Together we embrace diversity, trust, joy and teamwork to fulfill human potential.
We foster an inclusive, welcoming environment where everyone is treated equitably and without judgement.
Stories to inspire
Engage with compelling stories that highlight the impact of our values in real-life scenarios.
Marnellie has an unwavering commitment to transforming lives, which isn’t always easy when dealing with code white incidents for residents facing severe dementia-related challenges.
The challenge: A Resident in Crisis
A resident had been admitted to Unity Health’s secured unit with profound behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. The resident’s physical aggression and violence had left the staff fearful and uncertain about how to provide the necessary care. This situation presented a profound challenge to the care team.
Marnellie took it upon herself to lead the charge for change. She recognized the importance of engaging the entire team and held meetings with staff on all shifts to review the admission package. By delving into the strategies recommended by the sending facility and incorporating the collective wisdom of their colleagues, Marnellie created a comprehensive plan.
What set Marnellie apart was the focus on the emotional well-being of the resident and the staff. She delved into the “feelings, emotions, and fears” of every person involved. This empathetic approach helped the team see the resident not just as a patient but as a human being deserving of dignity and respect.
Adding to the complexity, the resident’s family vehemently opposed the care recommendations made by the healthcare team and physicians. Marnellie, as an advocate for human dignity, worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between the family and the care team. Through open communication and a commitment to understanding the family’s concerns, Marnellie successfully shifted the family’s perspective and brought about a change in their view of their loved one.
The Ripple Effect of Compassion
Marnellie’s holistic approach and tireless dedication have been instrumental in shaping a robust dementia program within Unity Health. Her unwavering advocacy for human dignity has created lasting positive changes for residents and their families. Marnellie’s story reminds us that by taking a moment for human dignity, we can bring about profound positive changes in the lives of those we serve.
Values In Action
- Human dignity is at the core of compassionate care: treating each person with respect and empathy can lead to transformative outcomes.
- Collaboration is key: Engaging the entire care team and involving them in decision-making can lead to innovative solutions and improved patient care.
- Empathy bridges gaps: By understanding and addressing the emotional needs and fears of residents and staff, we can create a more supportive and compassionate healthcare environment.
In Unity Health’s Housekeeping Department, Bogdan and Jose stand out as compassionate leaders in every sense, especially when it comes to simple acts of kindness with the power to transform a patient’s experience.
The challenge: A Patient in Need
During his evening shift, Bogdan noticed an elderly patient sitting in the entrance area for hours, looking anxious and confused. The patient didn’t speak English, which added to her distress. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Bogdan approached her, seeking assistance.
The Compassionate Response
Despite the language barrier, Bogdan’s compassionate instinct led him to recognize that the patient spoke Portuguese. He quickly reached out to his colleague, Jose, for support. Jose, understanding the urgency, left his duties to come to the patient’s aid.
Jose’s empathetic communication skills were invaluable. He not only understood the patient’s fears but also comforted her during this anxious moment. Through their combined efforts, they discovered that the patient had been waiting for Wheel Trans since 11:00 AM but had been overlooked, leaving her stranded.
Going Above and Beyond
Jose went the extra mile, contacting Wheel Trans and arranging an alternative solution through Beck Taxi at the same rate. The relief on the patient’s face was palpable, and her gratitude poured out through her expressions.
Meanwhile, Bogdan stayed behind, ensuring the patient’s safety and comfort. His unwavering commitment and compassionate response made a significant difference in the patient’s experience.
Bogdan and Jose’s story of compassion reminds us that in the healthcare field, a moment of genuine care can make all the difference. By taking a moment for compassion, we can create a more compassionate, supportive, and inclusive environment for everyone at Unity Health.
Values In Action: Compassion
- Compassion knows no boundaries: Even in challenging situations, compassion can bridge the gap, helping identify and address patient needs, and well-being.
- Teamwork is transformative: Collaborating and supporting your teammates can help solve challenging situations..
- Small acts make a big difference: In the fast-paced healthcare environment, taking a moment for compassion can provide immense comfort and support to those in need.
- Effective Communication: Language barriers can be overcome with compassion and effective communication, ensuring patients receive the care they need.
Janet, a nurse at Unity Health, understands that quality care is not just about medical procedures but also about uplifting spirits and restoring dignity.
The Challenge: Providing Exceptional Care
In the healthcare field, providing exceptional care can be a challenge, especially when patients are facing both physical and emotional hurdles. It’s essential to ensure that every patient feels valued, empowered, and respected.
A Dignified Morning Routine
Janet’s excellence extends beyond words. Many patients arrive at Unity Health feeling physically and emotionally worn, with matted hair, dry skin, and the same clothes they wore upon admission. Janet steps in to change this narrative immediately. She showers them, tenderly combs out tangles, braids their hair, and dresses them in fresh clothes selected from the unit’s supplies. The transformation is more than skin-deep; it restores their sense of self-worth. Patients have shed tears of joy, expressing how they finally feel like themselves again.
Many of the patients Janet supports are cognitively impaired and may be at risk of falls due to their reluctance to ask for help. Instead of making those patients feel that they are unable or unsafe to walk on their own, Janet came up with a simple way to empower patients: she encourages patients to use the call bell not because they need help but because it gives her a break from her heavy work as a nurse. This way, patients feel valued and capable and gain independence while ensuring Janet is there to help.
Janet’s story serves as a reminder that excellence in healthcare encompasses not just clinical expertise but also the ability to uplift and inspire. Janet’s laughter echoes the joy she brings to her patients and colleagues, making Unity Health a brighter place for all. Take a moment for excellence, as Janet does every day.
Values in Action
- Excellence in care goes beyond medical procedures: it’s also about compassion and dignity.
- Empowerment is crucial: Patients should be partners in their care, not bystanders.
- A positive start is fundamental: Uplifting patients’ spirits is the first step toward their recovery.
In the bustling heart of Unity Health, Tamara stands out as a beacon of community spirit, embracing diversity, trust, joy, and teamwork to their fullest potential.
The challenge: Creating Community
Building a strong sense of community within a healthcare setting is not always easy, especially when there are many tasks to complete, and conditions can change quickly. It requires individuals who can lead by example, bringing people together and fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity and camaraderie.
Tamara, a valued member of the Unity Health team, personifies the community spirit. She demonstrates it through her unwavering dedication and willingness to step up when needed. Her actions speak louder than words, making her exceptional work ethic an example of quiet leadership in action.
One of Tamara’s remarkable qualities is her ability to take initiative. She often starts processes and quickly supports others, creating camaraderie and a smooth workflow. When asked by her supervisor to adjust food prep numbers due to a higher patient count or to take on sudden reassignments in the dish room area, Tamara does so without complaint, demonstrating. Her flexibility and readiness to adapt significantly contribute to the team’s success.
A Team Player’s Mentality
Tamara’s approach is like a point guard setting up plays for the rest of the team. Her actions create a domino effect, ensuring that arriving dish machine operators can swiftly load many trays, plates, cups, and more to resupply the belt line staff with cleaned items needed for the next meal. It’s a testament to how her commitment to the community catalyzes efficient teamwork.
Cultivating Unity Health’s Culture
Unity Health’s Nutrition Services Department boasts a culture of inclusivity, friendliness, welcoming, and fun, all while diligently serving the broader community. Tamara, during her time here, has not only embraced these positive attributes but has also added her unique touch.
Tamara’s story serves as an inspiration for all of us at Unity Health. She exemplifies how embracing the value of community can lead to a more harmonious and efficient healthcare environment. In our quest to provide the best care, let’s all take a moment for community, just as Tamara does daily.
Values in Action: Community
- Commit to action: Community is built through actions, not just words.
- Be the change: Taking initiative and adaptability are key to fostering a sense of community.
- Leadership has many styles: Quiet leadership can have a profound impact on team dynamics.
- Support success: Being proactive helps set others up to be successful
- Better experiences for all: Creating a positive workplace culture can positively impact patient care
Inclusivity is a core value at Unity Health exemplified daily by dedicated individuals like Christina, a manager who has been championing protocols that prioritize inclusion for all staff over the past 18 years.
The Challenge: Fostering Inclusivity
Creating an inclusive work environment requires tireless dedication and unwavering support, especially for marginalized groups seeking affirmation and understanding.
A Trusted Ally
Christina, a trusted racialized manager, provides a safe space for Black staff to confide in, knowing they’ll receive the affirmation and support they deserve. This role can be emotionally taxing, but Christina tackles it with strength and grace.
Christina’s commitment to inclusivity extends to her interactions with all staff, even when conversations become uncomfortable. During a group dialogue addressing Indigenous people’s rights to self-determination and actions for reconciliation, Christina noticed that some language used failed to acknowledge the privilege that settler cultures often take for granted. Instead of shying away, she courageously engaged the group in a thoughtful reflection on language, pushing them to consider its role in decolonizing institutional practices. Christina also proactively shared valuable learning resources to strengthen allyship to combat anti-Indigenous racism.
A Caring and Non-Judgmental Approach
Calling colleagues to reflect on their actions and their impact isn’t an easy task. It involves emotional labour and risks. Nevertheless, Christina consistently steps forward with care and compassion. Her approach is non-judgmental, acknowledging that the journey towards inclusivity is a continuous learning process.
It’s Christina’s thoughtful and humanizing approach that compels others to take responsibility for co-creating inclusivity at Unity Health. She encourages self-reflection and growth, reminding everyone that inclusivity isn’t a goal achieved once; it’s an ongoing journey.
Christina’s story reminds us all at Unity Health of the importance of inclusivity. It’s not just a value we talk about; it’s a value we live and breathe every day. Let’s all take a moment for inclusivity, just as Christina does, to create a more welcoming and understanding healthcare environment.
Values in Action: Inclusivity
- Good work: Inclusivity requires dedication, support, and empathy.
- Courage to communicate: Courageous conversations can drive meaningful change.
- Respect creates rewards for everyone: A caring and non-judgmental approach fosters growth and inclusivity.
Discover a range of tips and tools designed to assist you in integrating our values into your daily actions at Unity Health.
Practice Patience: Be patient with yourself and others in all interactions.
Acknowledge Everyone: Make people feel seen, even if they don’t acknowledge you.
Value Diversity: Recognize the unique contributions of all roles and areas in the organization.
See People as Whole: Care about patients and colleagues beyond their roles or diagnoses.
Avoid Assumptions: Appreciate people without making assumptions, judgments, or discriminations.
Respect Traditions: Show respect for people’s traditions, customs, values, beliefs, needs, and preferences.
Listen Actively: Give your full attention and actively listen to what others have to say.
Respect Time: Respect people’s time by keeping them informed and explaining changes upfront.
Adapt Communication: Learn and respect people’s communication preferences, including names and pronouns.
Comfort in Tough Times: Offer comfort and support to those facing challenges and signs of distress.
Feedback Matters: Seek input to ensure your compassionate actions have the intended impact. Be willing to apologize and adapt when necessary.
Alignment with Purpose: Make sure your work aligns with Unity Health Toronto’s Care Experience Charter and its mission of helping others.
Self-Compassion: Practice self-reflection, self-compassion, and self-care. Allow yourself to feel emotions without judgment, and forgive yourself and others.
Understanding Others: Reflect on and acknowledge the circumstances, perspectives, and feelings of others. Consider the reasons behind people’s actions.
Listen Actively: Ask and listen to others about their expectations, needs, and what matters most to them without judgment.
Share Hope: Inspire hope, even in challenging situations.
Celebrate Strengths: Recognize and celebrate the strengths and contributions of others. Seek the good in both yourself and others.
Practice Gratitude: Practice gratitude and appreciation for ordinary, everyday actions.
Find Purpose in Growth: Seek meaning and purpose through personal growth and development. Encourage others to do the same.
Learn, Adapt, Succeed: Embrace successes and failures. Address mistakes and feedback for continuous learning and improvement. Support others in their learning journey.
Track Progress: Continuously track and reflect on your journey. Strive for measurable improvements.
Share Knowledge: Find opportunities to share learning and resources with Unity Health and the wider community.
Inclusive Decision-Making: Involve all stakeholders in collaborative decision-making, including patients and community engagement.
Continuous Improvement: Identify and share opportunities for improvement, big and small. Apply critical thinking and evidence-based practices.
Goal-Oriented: Work towards success based on personal, team, organizational, and community goals and needs.
Initiative and Support: Recognize when extra effort is needed and take the initiative to do the job. Don’t hesitate to seek support if required.
Quality Matters: Dedicate yourself to meeting the eight dimensions of quality: effectiveness, efficiency, person-centeredness, safety, timeliness, equity, patient and family partnership, and wellness.
Embrace Diverse Ideas: Welcome differing opinions and create a space where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Spread Joy at Work: Strengthen camaraderie and belonging by fostering joy at work. Take time to connect and create fun experiences.
Include Everyone: Value patients, residents, family members, and the community as co-designers and experts. Involve them in initiatives.
Promote Social Connections: Encourage and create opportunities for social connections, both within and outside the organization.
Consider Impact: Make decisions that consider the impact on individuals, communities, and the environment.
Empower Others: Encourage others to use their strengths, believe in themselves, take calculated risks, and lead, regardless of their role.
Build Bridges: Connect with teams across the organization and engage with external communities.
Transparent Communication: Communicate openly, honestly, and follow through on commitments to build trust.
Open Dialogue: Engage in open dialogue around differences with an open heart and mind.
Listen and Learn: Demonstrate humility by listening to others and learning from their experiences.
Use Inclusive Language: Reflect on the impact of your words and commit to using language that includes everyone.
Clear Communication: Share information in a way that is easy for others to understand.
Challenge Biases: Explore how biases and systems privilege or marginalize individuals and communities.
Address Inequity: Be aware of and address structures and barriers that contribute to inequity.
Continuous Learning: Engage in ongoing self-reflection, learning, and unlearning. Don’t place the burden of education on individuals with lived experience.
Combat Incivility: Identify, interrupt, and educate about incivility, micro-aggressions, gossip, and harassment.
Advocate for Justice: Advocate for social justice and work towards creating equity in health, education, resources, and opportunities.
Inclusive Spaces: Co-create spaces that are accessible, safe, and welcoming to all, regardless of abilities, cultures, and needs.
Tools & Resources
Find a wealth of tools and resources in the Living Our Values Toolkit to guide you in embodying our shared values in your daily life.
Join us in this transformative journey. Take a moment each day to breathe life into our values, fostering a workspace that is not only professional but also nurturing and joyous. Your moment of reflection can be the ripple that creates a wave of positive change.
Have a story to share about Unity Health staff or teams living the values? Reach out to MissionandValues@unityhealth.to.
Call to action
Join Us in Making a Difference: Take a moment each day to reflect on and live our values. Together, we can foster a culture of human dignity, compassion, community excellence, and inclusivity. Start with small steps, and witness the profound impact it can have on your work environment and the community we serve.
Last updated February 12, 2024