Ten great things that happened this week

(August 27, 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) Providence’s Adult Day Program celebrates its 25th anniversary

The Adult Day Program (ADP) at Providence was established 25 years ago to provide meaningful social and recreational activities for community members living with moderate to severe dementia. The 24/7 ADP offers a therapeutic, home-like environment for clients in a secure area and provides recreational activities, personal care and full hot meals with every visit. “The ADP was the greatest thing that ever happened to my dad. It helped him live again. I would not have been able to look after my dad if not for this program,” said Carolyn Wilson, a caregiver whose father has been attending the ADP for just over two years. Any individual living in the community with an irreversible dementia is eligible to attend the Adult Day Program. For this milestone, the ADP team held a small, outdoor celebration to honour their work and the impact of the program on its clients and their caregivers.

2) Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is the second unit to move into its intended space in the PGT

The 10-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at St. Michael’s moved to its new home on the 7th floor of the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower. The new space, designed with patient privacy, critical care and staff work flow in mind, offers single patient rooms with separate washrooms and floor to ceiling windows for lots of natural lighting. There will also be new articulating arms that easily move around the patient bed in every room to support critical care by making electrical outlets, data, patient lifts and multiple accessories available in one place, along with three new airborne isolation rooms. The CICU team now has a new team station, interprofessional space and a conference room. See Facebook post.

3) We spotlight how family doctors help their patients navigate health care services

Dr. Tara Kiran led a study that found many family doctors aren’t aware of the central intake services that are available to their patients in the city. Why is this important? “Family doctors play an important role in care coordination… but they can only do this role well if they are aware of the supports and services that are available to patients in their community and how to access them,” said Dr. Kiran, family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team. Read more

4) The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected racialized communities. Our experts weigh in

Recent data confirmed that COVID-19 rates are disproportionately higher in racialized communities and low-income areas in Ontario. Dr. Andrew Pinto explains why and emphasizes that this essential, race-based data must be translated into action. “This has everything to do with systemic racism. COVID-19 has revealed what we’ve known for a long time which is that racialized individuals experience racism in a variety of different ways,” said Dr. Pinto, Family Physician at St. Michael’s. Watch an interview with Dr. Pinto.

5) GTA Report indicates Providence’s rehab for patients following a hip fracture continues to excel

A recent report by the GTA Rehab Network on the outcomes of patients post hip fractures demonstrated two positive things about Providence’s care in this area in the Toronto Central LHIN. Primarily, it showed that we continue to admit high volumes of patients post hip fracture for rehabilitation. Second, it highlighted that our rehab programs result in great patient functional improvement and outcome, as measured by a standardized assessment tool named the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). “At Providence, we work to admit patients to rehab post hip fracture as soon as they are medically stable for transfer to rehab,” said Kelly Tough, Patient Flow Manager, Providence. The numbers on patient outcome show that over 86 per cent of hip-fracture rehab patients return home safely after rehab. The full name of this report is GTA Rehab Network Hip Fracture Summary Reports for Acute Care and Rehab hospitals in the TC LHIN.

6) St. Michael’s study comes up with safe way to obtain chest images of COVID-19 patients

When COVID-19 patients require chest scans, how can health care teams provide this service in a way that keeps them and the patients safe? A study led by Dr. Shobhit Mathur, physician at St. Michael’s, examined a new radiology process where chest images are obtained through glass doors of isolation rooms to prevent the spread of the virus. Read more

7) Study forecasts that access to cystic fibrosis treatment could save lives

Approximately 4,300 Canadians live with cystic fibrosis (CF), a fatal genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. A new study used a microsimulation model to forecast the consequences of delaying access in Canada to a new treatment called Trikafta, which could potentially help 90 per cent of the CF population in Canada. The research was led by Dr. Anne Stephenson, respirologist and CF researcher at St. Michael’s, along with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Dalhousie University. Read more

8) St. Michael’s Scientist wants your unused computer monitors to donate to high school students

Dr. Anna Durbin, Scientist with MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, is seeking computer monitors to accompany a donation of 20 refurbished computer towers for students at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School, near Keele Street & Finch Avenue in Toronto. The school anticipates a large unmet need for computers to support distance learning in the fall which is why Dr. Durbin is working to provide computers, mice and keyboards from Unity Health Toronto. If you have a working monitor or laptop at home that you’re willing to donate, please contact Dr. Durbin at Anna.Durbin@unityhealth.to

9) We spotlight and celebrate two staff members who support patients in the Houses of Providence

The early stages of the pandemic restricted visits to long-term care residents and isolated them from their families and loved ones. This week, the Providence Foundation profiled two amazing staff members who worked hard to keep residents engaged and safe throughout. Melissa is a Resident Assistant in the Houses and she visits residents on the fourth floor where she sings to them based on their preferred musical style. Debra is an Activation Assistant in the Houses who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March and has since recovered and returned to work where she helped organize an indoor celebration for the residents.

10) We spotlight the crucial role of laboratory staff at St. Joseph’s during the pandemic

Composed of multiple departments and disciplines, laboratory staff at St. Joseph’s have had a crucial role in this pandemic: determining whether an individual has COVID-19. The labs operate 24/7 and do everything from safely obtain blood specimens, transfer them to the labs in a safe and efficient manner, analyze the blood to support clinical investigations, and provides tests and services to identify a wide range of viruses, antibodies and disorders. Read more