Ten great things that happened this week

(September 10, 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) A world-first cardiac procedure at St. Michael’s is giving high-risk patients a new treatment option

Mir Hasan Ali, 76, was the first patient in the world to undergo a tricuspid valve replacement through the leg to repair a heart condition. The procedure was led by Drs. Neil Fam, Mark Peterson and Géraldine Ong at St. Michael’s Hospital. Prior to this surgery, tricuspid valve replacement could only be done through open heart surgery or through an incision by the ribs, which posed a greater risk of complication for older patients. This new EVOQUE tricuspid valve replacement has created a safer treatment option for them. Learn more about this world-first procedure.

2) The Globe and Mail publishes an opinion piece by Dr. Irfan Dhalla on the need to stop untraced community spread in Canada

Schools are re-opening and winter is approaching. Both of these factors have the potential to increase the spread of COVID-19 if cases are not traced. Dr. Dhalla, Vice-President of Physician Quality at Unity Health, says we need a national plan to stop untraced community spread of COVID-19, and provided examples of how we could do this, such as using the exposure notification app and providing people experiencing homelessness individual rooms to quarantine. Read his op-ed here.

3) Two St. Michael’s researchers receive funding to advance their COVID-19 research

Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are investing $12.4 million to support 22 studies across Canada that aim to improve our understanding of COVID-19. Two of these studies are led by MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions researchers. Dr. Stephen Hwang received funding for his study on COVID-19 and people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Dr. Jonathon Maguire also received funding for his study on a safe turn to school, work and play for children and families during the pandemic.

4) Award-winning Toronto singer performs free concert outside Providence for staff, patients and residents

On Sept. 10, a box concert featuring award-winning Canadian tenor Asitha Tennekoon came to Providence. As part of the Tapestry Opera’s traveling #BOXCONCERTS series, this free performance was held outside the Seasons Café for Providence residents, patients, staff and physicians. It is part of 40 free performances by Tapestry Opera for retirement and long-term care homes in order to bring the joy of music to seniors and frontline workers. The concert was organized in conjunction with Unity Health’s COVID-19 People Support Team.

5) Federal Minister visits St. Michael’s to discuss COVID-19 research

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu (centre) with Patricia O’Campo and Dr. Tim Rutledge.

On Sept. 10, we welcomed Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu to St. Michael’s where she met with some of our researchers to discuss their newest projects related to COVID-19 research.

6) How do children with special needs factor into Ontario’s return to school plan? Our experts weigh in

Parents of children with developmental disorders or who are immunocompromised are feeling left behind by the new back-to-school plans. Many have reported feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about the options they have, like virtual learning. St. Michael’s Developmental Pediatrician Dr. Ripudaman Minhas and Pediatric Patient Navigator Dorjana Vojvoda speak to this issue in this HealthyDebate piece.

7) In this week’s #BehindTheMask, we spotlight Giselle Magtoto, Team Leader at St. Joseph’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre

After eight years of experience as a Team Leader in St. Joseph’s Operating Rooms, Giselle Magtoto was asked to take on the same role in the hospital’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre. She describes the compassion, patience and critical thinking that was involved in working in an Assessment Centre over the last few months. “In the OR you already have a history, whereas in the Assessment Centre it’s a bit different because it involves a lot of digging for history and using your assessment skills. Our team had nurses from all different parts of the hospital, and you could see how they interacted with patients.” Read her story here.

8) Are we definitely headed for a second lockdown? Our experts weigh in

A lockdown would only be considered if there’s a possibility that our health-care system might become overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, explained Dr. Prabhat Jha, Director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s. So how can we prevent this? Dr. Jha says it’s important for Canadians to consistently use the Covid Alert app to help prevent community spread. Read more.

9) Is there a connection between voting practices and one’s health? Our experts review

A scoping review of existing research on this topic found that lower rates of voting are consistently associated with poor self-rated health and with people who have physical, intellectual and psychological disabilities. This review also found many articles that asked health-care providers to engage in and advocate for democratic engagement in their patient communities. “Healthcare organizations are well suited to engage directly with marginalized populations and can be involved in improving democratic engagement through education and interventions.” This review was led by St. Michael’s physicians Drs. Danyaal Raza and Andrew D. Pinto, along with Chloe Brown. Read more.

10) Providence’s COVID-19 rehab unit helps patients after long hospitalizations

After a seven-week hospitalization due to COVID-19, Yanira Rosa Gevara de Casco needed rehabilitation before heading home. She was admitted to Providence’s COVID-19 rehabilitation unit, where she received the care she needed to safely discharge. “Many have been on a very long trajectory of illness with COVID. We needed to provide them with a safe space to rehabilitate and a safe discharge home,” said Shawn Brady, Senior Clinical Program Director, Rehabilitation, Complex Continuing Care and Palliative Care, Providence Healthcare. Read more.