Healthcare organizations in Grey Bruce are banding together to help support long-term care homes in responding to COVID-19.
According to a joint media release from Grey Bruce Health Services, South Bruce Grey Health Centre, the Hanover and District Hospital and the Grey Bruce Health Unit, hospitals and family health teams in Grey and Bruce counties have been working together throughout the pandemic to ensure a coordinated response and recently the conversation has turned to how support can be provided to long-term care.
"It has become clear that the impact of COVID-19 that was anticipated to be felt in hospital ICUs and acute care units across the province is instead being felt in long-term care homes and retirement homes," a statement from the region's healthcare organizations explains."
In the southern part of the region, South Bruce Grey Health Centre and the Hanover Hospital leadership and physicians have been meeting weekly with the heads at eight long-term care homes, as well as EMS for the two counties.
South Bruce Grey Health Centre CEO Michael Barrett says in a prepared statement the intention is to support each other and identify gaps or challenges the organizations are facing so they can help one another.
“We are committed to providing help where we can, including sending teams of hospital staff into long-term care homes to assist with universal swabbing of residents and staff, and preparing to redeploy hospital staff to work in long-term care if staffing challenges arise," Barrett says.
The Brockton and Kincardine Area Family Heath Teams, as well as South Bruce Grey Health Centre staff assisted four long-term care homes with swabbing residents and staff as part of the recent universal testing mandate coordinated by the Grey Bruce Health Unit at all of the region's 19 long-term care facilities. The Hanover and District Hospital partnered with three long-term care homes to provide clinical support in swabbing their staff. While Grey Bruce Health Services sent a team of nurses, occupational health, and Infection Control specialists into eight local long-term care homes to provide COVID-19 testing for staff and
“We are pleased to work with our partners to offer assistance in any way that is needed. We also have a full team on standby should one of our long-term care homes require any assistance with direct patient care during this pandemic,” says GBHS President and CEO Gary Sims.
The region's medical officer of health Dr. Ian Arra says the partnership between Public Health, hospitals and primary care to provided enhanced surveillance and testing of residents and staff in long-term care has been a great success.
"As Public Health is responsible for coordinating this enhanced surveillance, we acknowledge the significant effort of the local hospitals and staff to achieve our objectives," Arra says. “These partnerships show that Grey Bruce has the capability to respond when it is needed, to meet the challenge we all face from the COVID pandemic.”