COVID-19: Daily Dispatch

May 8

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Universal Masking in EDs

Starting Monday, May 11, all patients and support persons entering HHS Emergency Departments will be required to wear a mask. Memo also includes resources to support universal masking for patients.
Read more

Conservation of hand sanitizer

Like many health care facilities, we are experiencing supply issues affecting the availability of refills for wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers. We are exploring options to replenish our supplies. In the meantime, we ask that people do not remove and relocate the hand pump dispensers, or the inserts of sanitizer from wall mounted dispensers.
Read more

Today’s Webinar

Today’s webinar features Rob MacIsaac, Dr. Dominik Mertz, and Michele Leroux. Michelle Cassidy and Sharon Pierson with updates on our gradual return to normal, the local and provincial trends, staff redeployment, our support for long-term care and resources for the mental well-being of our staff.
Watch the webinar

 

Archived Daily Dispatch Items

May 7, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

SPH Outbreak Update

In consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services, the outbreak on the 3 West Palliative Care Unit at St. Peter’s Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences has been declared over.
Read more.

Virtual Care Task Force

In response to staff and physician recommendations, the Virtual Care Task Force has added new materials and opportunities to support virtual care across HHS.
Read more

Self-screening tool

The COVID-19 self-screening tool is the preferred way for staff and physicians to screen before their shift. Not only is it quick, it helps to avoid bottlenecks at entrances. In-person screening should only be used where access to a mobile device is not available. Thank you for doing your part to keep our patients and everyone at HHS safe.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Caring During COVID video series

To help provide some of our expertise to those providing care in the community, both healthcare providers and families, our experts will be submitting videos to this playlist, hoping to bring some help to those in need while caring for others during COVID-19.
View playlist

Anesthesia Rapid Response Team

Since launching a few weeks ago, the Anesthesia Rapid Response Team (ARRT) has leapt into action to help several patients. The team was created anticipating a much higher volume of COVID-19 patients, but they are glad there have been relatively few critically ill people in our hospitals as a result of this disease.
Read more

May 6, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Food delivery

Staff who are ordering food to be delivered for themselves are asked to have it delivered to the staff entrance. Staff must be there to accept the food upon arrival outside the doors and will need to show their screening results to reenter the building.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Mother’s Day

Do you have anything planned to make Mother’s Day special for moms in hospital? Email share@hhsc.ca.

May 5, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Government of Ontario announces Pandemic Pay

On April 25, the province announced the introduction of a temporary ‘Pandemic Pay’ for eligible frontline workers fighting COVID-19 in certain workplaces. We are pleased with this opportunity to further recognize the extraordinary efforts of our frontline workers. Further direction and guidance will be forthcoming from the Ontario Government and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) regarding the scope and implementation of the Pandemic Pay. A communication will be released once additional information is known.

COVID-19 Conversation Guidelines

This resource offers practical advice and specific phrasing to assist you with conversations that you may have with patients and families about difficult topics related to COVID-19 including: when someone is worried, they might be infected; when your patient needs the hospital; when coping needs a boost, or emotions are running high; and when you’re worrying about what might happen.
View guidelines (must be in Citrix)

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Psychology residents take charge and offer care virtually

It is a time of innovation for many as we adapt to the environment we are living in and discover new ways to do our jobs.
Read story.

Flatten the curve – clean your hands

Today is World Hand Hygiene – wash your hands and help flatten the curve. Read more for tips from HHS’ hand hygiene coordinator.
Read more.

May 4, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Universal Masking Update

Staff and physicians are assured that Level 1 rated masks are being distributed at staff entrances. Find out the industry standards and process we use to review masks to determine level and safety rating.
Read.

No new staff cases at JHCC

In follow-up to last week’s update regarding positive staff COVID cases at JHCC, Employee Health Services has completed testing and has confirmed that there are no new related cases at the site.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Staff & Physician Discounts

The list of Discounts and Offers for HHS staff and physicians continues to be updated as new offers become available. Visit the Discounts and Offers tab on the COVID-19: HHS Resources page for more information.

Could you use a listening ear?

Have you had a tough day and want to talk it out? Talk to someone who “gets it.” Our Peer Supporters are ready to help.
Call the HHS Peer Support COPE Line at (905) 521-2100 ext. 43333

Dr. Bram Rochwerg talks about taking care of critically ill patients with Covid-19

Watch.

April 30, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

An update on cluster health care worker COVID-19 cases at JCC

There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19. The individuals continue to self-isolate at home. As of this afternoon, there have been no further confirmed cases among staff or physicians, and no cases among patients.
Read.

Memo Update: Adhering To Physical Distancing and Universal Masking Rules

The memo shared yesterday on universal masking has been updated to clarify that this procedure is required for all staff and physicians at hospital/clinical sites across HHS.

Read.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Med Lab Week

Our lab team has created a special video to recognize Med Lab Week, involving lab staff from across HHS and St. Joe’s. Join us in celebrating the work they have done during COVID-19.

Watch.

Introducing a COVID-19 screener

Read.

Community sends letters to patients during COVID-19

Read.

April 29, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

Adhering To Physical Distancing and Universal Masking Rules

Universal masking is now in effect FOR ALL STAFF AND PHYSICIANS in all areas of HHS both clinical and non-clinical. Universal masking does NOT replace handwashing and physical distancing which continue to be critical to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s up to every one of us to protect each other and our patients.
Read.

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

CEO Update

Read about HHS’ next phase of pandemic response planning, including how we’re planning to resume paused services in the coming weeks and months.
Read.

Viewing COVID-19 Test Results Through MyChart

ClinicalConnect users who may be tested for COVID-19 themselves are able to view their own test resulted by a south west Ontario hospital by logging into MyChart, an online patient portal that also provides additional personal health information and test results. If you haven’t already, you can enroll online to receive your own MyChart account. You can expect to receive a login PIN within one business day.

Update on outbreak and point prevalence testing at St. Peter’s Hospital 

On Monday April 20, in consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services, a Covid-19 outbreak was declared on the 3 West Palliative Care Unit at St. Peter’s Hospital after a patient tested positive for the virus. As of today, the total number of patients who have tested positive is three and the total number of healthcare workers is five (all from 3 West).
Read.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Stepping up during COVID-19

Company donates baby monitors to Hamilton hospitals to bridge gap between rooms and staff.
Read.

April 28, 2020

NO CRITICAL UPDATES
MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES
Day of Mourning
On April 28, the National Day of Mourning, Canadian flags at Hamilton Health Sciences will fly at half-mast to honour those who have lost their lives or suffered injury or illness on the job due to a work-related tragedy. In this time, as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, we also express our sorrow for frontline workers, both close to home and globally, who have lost their lives in the course of protecting and caring for others throughout this pandemic.Screening and ID Badge Reminder
Over the last few weeks, we have refined our process related to screening staff, physicians and visitors as they enter our sites. Staff and physicians are reminded that they must be ready to show their HHS photo ID when coming to one of our sites.
Read more.
GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Thank you to healthcare workers
Student leaders in the Spiritual Life Centre at Eden High School want to thank all of the frontline workers.
Watch.

IronGabe fights evil villain, Leukemia
Physical distancing didn’t stop this family from celebrating the end of their son’s cancer treatment.
Read more.

April 27, 2020

NO CRITICAL UPDATES
MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

HHS COPE line for staff and physicians now available

The Resilience and Ethics Team is pleased to announce the launch of the HHS COPE Line for staff and physicians. This Peer Support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Read more
GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

#SignUpToSupport
Thank you to Zoe, age 14, for creating this sign for St. Peter’s Hospital.

 

April 24, 2020

NO CRITICAL UPDATES
MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

PPE Update – Building on our conservation successes

Over the last few weeks, we have taken steps to ensure a sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) across HHS. Thanks to everyone’s collaboration and good will, we have now largely stabilized the state of PPE supplies.
Read more

Today’s Webinar

Today’s webinar features Rob MacIsaac, Dr. Sarah Khan and Dr. Wes Stephen with updates on our COVID-19 response, next steps in capacity planning and our support for long-term care and retirement homes.
Watch the webinar

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Donations

Information about how to donate food and provide discounts for the HHS workforce is available on our website. We are grateful to our generous community for their support. To ensure the safety of our staff, all donation offers, including those provided by staff, need to be submitted to wecare@hhsc.ca in advance.

  • Information about how to make a donation is available here.
  • The Discounts and Offers page continues to be updated as new items become available so please check back frequently.

Coping During COVID-19: Bringing Mindfulness Practice to Difficult Situations

Online Zoom sessions: (5 week course) Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, April 28 – May 26, 2020

This series is free for Faculty of Health Sciences and Program for Faculty Development Affiliate Organization faculty, staff, and employees (Hamilton Health Sciences, St Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton and McMaster Family Health Teams).
Visit this page for more information and to register.

Virtual care program launched in 27 of the city’s long term care homes

Read more

Breweries and distillers in Niagara continue bottling sanitizer for frontline workers

Read more

April 23, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

Policy Update: Patient Remains and Visitation

We have developed a policy on the procedure for the management and care of a patient with known or suspected COVID-19 following death.
Read more

Universal Masking Expanded

We are mandating that staff and physicians wear a surgical mask as soon as they enter any HHS site to help address concerns related to physical distancing and help stop the spread of COVID-19.  It’s important to note that the need to keep at  least two metres from any other person still applies even when wearing a mask.
Read more

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Privacy of COVID-19 Patients

We recognize that these are trying times and you may be concerned about a patient’s status, but there is no change to privacy guidelines that permit access to a patient’s record not in your circle of care. Please continue to respect our patients’ privacy during this time.
Read more

Update: Outbreak at St. Peter’s

On Monday April 20, In consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services, HHS declared an outbreak of Covid-19 on 3 West at St. Peter’s Hospital after a patient tested positive for the virus. One other patient and three healthcare workers from 3 West have also tested positive.
Read more

Critical Care Learning website

A new Critical Care Learning website has been created to help Ontario hospitals to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.This is an initiative led by the provincial COVID-19 Critical Care Table.
Read more

Labour & Delivery Support Person

Starting April 24, patients in Labour & Delivery at MUMC who are COVID positive or presumptive are able to have one support person (e.g. partner, family member) by their side.
Read more

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Resilience Toolkit

The Resilience Support Toolkit contains a variety of tools, videos, brief exercises, etc.  These tools may be used to help individuals or teams Pause, Reset, and Nourish (PRN) throughout the day.
View toolkit

April 22, 2020

NO CRITICAL UPDATES
MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Capacity & Service Planning

We’re beginning a new stage of pandemic preparedness planning, including cohorting adult COVID-19 patients at our General site.
Read more

FREE parking extended to May 31

Hamilton Health Sciences is pleased to extend the offer free parking for everyone, including staff, physicians, patients and visitors through to May 31. Parking fees will be reinstated on June 1.
Read more

FAQs answered by Public Health

Public Health has provided guidance and answers to a number of COVID-19 related questions they’ve received from hospitals across Ontario.
Read more

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Discounts for Staff

To thank you for your service, certain vendors have supplied discounts and other offers to healthcare workers.
Read more

Regional Printing & Graphics is open

Regional Printing and Graphics remains open for your team’s design and printing needs. Please submit orders online and contact RPG with any questions.
Read more

Redeployed staff working as screeners (Letter to the Editor, Hamilton Spectator)

Link to letter

April 21, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

Outbreak at St. Peter’s Hospital

In consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services, Hamilton Health Sciences has declared an outbreak of Covid-19 on 3 West at St. Peter’s Hospital after a patient tested positive for the virus. As a result, 3 West, and out of an abundance of caution, 3 East will be closed to new admissions until further notice.
Read more

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Request for Volunteers

We are seeking volunteers from HHS to support long term care and retirement homes critically in need of help. This request is open to everyone at HHS who can provide clinical support. You can forward your expression of interest to supportLTC@hhsc.ca.
Read more

Physician Town Hall

Watch the Physician Town Hall from Monday, April 20.
Watch here

An update on scrubs inventory

Our supplier, Mohawk Laundry, is expecting a shipment of regular OR green scrubs toward at the end of next week. In the interim, HHS has purchased a limited supply of scrubs from a retail supplier that will be available this week.
Read more

Donations to Staff

In response to the surge of support being offered to staff during the current COVID-19 outbreak, guidelines and processes are in place about the types of donations we can accept. Due to infection control measures, all donation offers must be submitted to wecare@hhsc.ca and reviewed by our We Care Team prior to delivery. As a reminder, those seeking to donate PPE may be directed to PPEdonations@hhsc.ca.
Read the full guidelines
Read the FAQs

Physical Distancing during breaks and in elevators

We ask that a maximum of three to four people ride in an elevator at the same time. Signs to that effect are posted in front of some of our elevators.
Read more

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

‘It’s very eerie’: The calm before the anticipated surge in Hamilton’s hospitals

Link to story

Bayer partners with Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) on major global research study on COVID-19 treatments

Link to story

April 20, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

PPE Update: Ensuring teams get access to the right supplies

To ensure a sustainable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all HHS teams and services, we will be realigning the stocks of PPE provided by the logistics and supply chain team to all units and departments.
Read more

Cafeterias: Physical distancing at all times

Our operating cafeterias and cafes have private, staff-only dining areas. When using these areas you must stay two metres apart at all times, have no more than two people sitting at a table and avoid group gatherings. Please do not move tables and chairs, as they have been set up to support distancing. It is critical for us to lead by example at our sites.
Read more

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Women’s Reproductive Health Clinic

Women’s Reproductive Health Clinic relocations at MUMC are now complete. Contact information and process for referrals remains the same.
Read memo

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

The Hamilton Spectator wants you!

The Spectator would like to continue to recognize front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Frontline workers, we want you! Please come to The Spectator and let us take your photo.”
Learn more

Regional virology lab expands to run 24/7 during Covid crisis

April 19-25 is Medical Laboratory Professionals Week.
Read on HHS Share

April 19, 2020

NO CRITICAL UPDATES

 

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

COVID-19 testing update

Asymptomatic/Pre-symptomatic Patients – Further to Thursday’s COVID-19 testing update, please note: asymptomatic patients being tested for COVID (e.g. prior to surgery) do NOT require isolation.

Physical distancing in our cafeterias

Please continue to practice social distancing in all our open cafeterias, particularly in the seating areas. This means a maximum of two people per table while keeping two metres (or approximately six feet) apart at all times. Note that cafeterias are open as private, staff-only dining areas.
Read more

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

New resource for those needing help during COVID-19

The Ontario Caregiver Organization has created Caregiving Communities, a new online portal that provides an easy way for people and organizations to find the support they need.

April 18, 2020

NO CRITICAL UPDATES
MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Meds in Hand

Retail Pharmacy at HHS has implemented a ‘Meds in Hand’ initiative so inpatients being discharged can avoid a trip to the community pharmacy in keeping with social distancing guidelines. We are asking each inpatient unit to assign someone to oversee the process and ensure each patient being discharged home is informed that their medications can be made available to them at the time of discharge.
View guidelines here.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Avoid risky behaviour during COVID-19

With the nice weather, people will start thinking about getting outside for recreation and home improvement activities. But these could put them at risk for trips to the emergency department. Our colleagues who work in trauma are encouraging people to pause these activities, or take precautions to ensure their safety and well-being, and help our teams focus their efforts on treating those suffering from COVID-19.
Read more.

 

April 17, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

Diagnostic testing and COVID-19 turnaround times
The Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program (HRLMP) continues to expedite turnaround times for COVID-19 test results, and staff are not in a position to prioritize any specific units or programs that send requests for stat testing. At this time, they advise all teams to migrate to our COVID-19-only test.
Read more.

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Supporting the advancement of virtual care options
The MyChart patient portal is available to staff, in addition to patients, to view their COVID-19 tests that have been resulted at a hospital. Staff and patients can enroll online and will receive their login pin within one business day. For further information about MyChart and the additional health information available, please visit https://healthrecordsonline.ca/

All-staff webinar
We discuss the current local context and how that influences our capacity; how we are able to support for long-term care; as well as Goals of Care framework.
Watch.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

PHOTOS: Portraits of Hamilton’s health care workers
Full article.

It’s not the number of COVID-19 patients posing a challenge for ICUs — it’s how long they stay
Full article.

Priority Access
Longo’s is offering health care workers and first responders priority access to all Longo’s locations (www.longos.com) and will not be required to wait in line. All you need to do is show your work ID.

 

April 16, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Updates to COVID-19 Testing
HHS continues to refine its clinical practices to respond to the ongoing pandemic.Testing of asymptomatic individuals remains a frequent area of interest from clinical areas. We are expanding testing which is subject to lab capacity that is being called upon heavily.
Read more.

Urgent Care Services for Cancer Patients
A number of changes will be made to the delivery of urgent care services for cancer patients over the course of the COVID pandemic.
Read more here and here.

Drive Through Assessment Centre Opens Friday, April 17, 2020
A drive-through COVID-19 testing centre will be available at the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena located at 25 Hester Street in Hamilton. It will be open from 11 am to 3 pm this Friday to Sunday. The testing centre will be operated by the Hamilton Family Health Team and McMaster Family Health Team and is being staffed by primary care clinicians. A referral from your doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services is required.
Learn more.

Grateful for community support
We appreciate the outpouring generosity from our community interested in donating items or offering discounts for our staff and physicians. A small team has been created to manage food and drink donations and create a central place to access discount codes. Those interested in donating fresh food/drink or providing discount codes may contact the team at wecare@hhsc.ca. Guidelines have been developed to ensure the safety of both our staff and donors in accepting food and drink donations; we will be sharing the guidelines on our website early next week. As a reminder, those seeking to donate PPE may be directed to PPEdonations@hhsc.ca.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Hamilton Health Sciences, Mohawk partner with manufacturing firm to mass produce face masks
Read story.

Ontario Hospitals Are Reinforcing System Partners in Fight Against COVID-19
Read OHA media statement.

To Charlie, with love: Friends say goodbye to dying Hamilton boy — at a distance
Read in The Hamilton Spectator

Kudos from across Canada

Hospital staff in Surrey, BC sent this photo to HHS as a reminder that we are all in this together.

“We just wanted to send an email from one of your sister emergency departments on the west coast letting you all know we are thinking about you and are with you in your walk through the Pandemic.”

April 15, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Practice Alert: Protected Code Blue
During the COVID Pandemic HHS will be modifying how our teams respond to Adult Code Blue calls at all sites for both respiratory and cardiac deterioration. All Code Blue calls will be treated as “Protected Code Blue” effectively immediately.
Read more.

Universal Masking Updates
Universal masking is now in effect for all patient-facing areas of HHS, there are stringent PPE access and conservation measures in place. Staff and physicians should perform a point of care risk assessment to determine which PPE they require.
Read more.

April 14, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Today’s Webinar

We discuss universal masking and PPE inventory on today’s webinar for staff, physicians and allied health care workers. What is universal masking, where are we instituting it and how we’re conserving our supply. All COVID-19 webinars are posted to the Hub and our Staff and Physician COVID-19 page on the external website.

Capacity Planning

We continue to work with community partners to ensure we have the capacity and resources to care for COVID patients in Hamilton’s hospitals. In case you missed it, read Dr. Wes Stephen’s update about capacity planning at HHS.

Laboratory Testing for COVID-19

Updated information about testing for COVID-19 in Hamilton laboratories.
Read more.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

ICU Webinars Connect Staff at Juravinski Hospital

Dr. Bram Rochwerg is a medical leader in the intensive care unit at Juravinski Hospital who is taking on an extra role to support his colleagues. Along with his regular duties as an ICU physician, researcher, professor, and hospital administrator, now, he’s also a video blogger.
Read more.

Accounting for Bravery

As a small token of their appreciation, CPAs across the province want to contribute their professional expertise, free-of-charge, to help prepare frontline healthcare workers’ 2019 taxes. In keeping with social distancing guidelines, there will be no face-to-face meetings – CPAs will receive all documentation electronically.
Learn more here.

April 13, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Building resilience into our routines

The Resilience Support Toolkit includes brief videos, tip sheets and strategies to help us PAUSE, RESET and NOURISH (PRN).

These checklists can be posted on the unit, in the department, in your car or somewhere at home as a way to transition from home to work and work to home, even when physically working at home.

HHS Checklist – Start-of-Day
HHS Checklist – End-of-Day

Cafeteria update

We will be reopening Nora’s Fresh Café on Tuesday, April 14 at 6:30am. The Atrium will be closed as of end of day Monday, April 13.
Read more.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

A message of gratitude from our Board of Directors.
Watch video

Out in front: Hamilton RPN feels prepared but anxious as hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge
Read article here

April 12, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

Patient Transfers

COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at hospitals in neighbouring communities:

• Brantford General Hospital
• West Haldimand General Hospital
• Niagara Health – St. Catharines Site
• Joseph Brant Hospital

Patients being transferred to an HHS hospital from one of these sites may require droplet/contact precautions upon arrival. Before receiving an admission from one of these hospitals, please confirm whether or not the incoming patient is from an outbreak unit. If yes or unable to confirm, follow droplet/contact precautions.

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

No medium priority updates.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

#SignUpToSupport

We asked the community to #SignUpToSupport our healthcare workers, and did they ever deliver. See their beautiful messages in this video.
Watch.

Telehealth launched for long term care residents

April 11, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

PPE

Each staff member in patient-facing areas (with limited exceptions) must now bring their own plastic container to store their mask for same-day reuse. View this poster for details. This video provides clear instructions for using a container to prolong the life of your mask during a shift.

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Food delivery and consumption

Read guidelines for the delivery and consumption of food at all sites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navigating the fog of COVID

“My thoughts, my moods, my worldview, my relationships are all experienced through the fog of COVID.” Dr. Andrea Frolic, Director, Office of Clinical & Organizational Ethics, shares her perspective on resilience and how we as healthcare workers can navigate this challenge together.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Rising to the occasion

Emergency Department nurse, Camille Marshall, penned an email to her colleagues encouraging them to support one another through this uncertain time. She agreed to share her letter, and her courage, with all of HHS.

April 10, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

No critical updates

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

EHS and Infection Control support for urgent inquiries

To ensure staff safety, while supporting the safe management of COVID-19 patients, Employee Health Services and Infection Control are providing 24/7 coverage to support teams with urgent consultations.
Read more.

News release: Ontario Significantly Expanding COVID-19 Testing

Enhanced testing strategy will help stop the spread of the virus.
Read more.
GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

White Coat, Black Art podcast – Featuring HHS’ Dr. Jeff Pernica

Listen here.

Hamilton Police Service urge the public to #stayhomestaysafe.

April 9, 2020

CRITICAL UPDATES

Universal Masking

We are now moving to universal masking in all patient-facing areas at HHS. The new policy will be rolled out in a phased approach, beginning Saturday, April 11.

Read the full memo.

Read the fact sheet.

Visiting Policy

Our Family Presence Visiting Policy expands further on the needs of patients in our palliative and pediatric areas of care. For palliative patients, in the event of imminent passing of a patient (approximately 24-48 hours), the health care team will advise the family. If allowed, only one family member/caregiver/parent may visit per day. For pediatric patients, our guidelines have important information about what happens if parents also have symptoms of COVID19. There is also new information about food for family members/parents/caregivers.
Read the policy (must be logged in to Citrix).

MEDIUM PRIORITY UPDATES

Working at Multiple Organizations

If you work at another healthcare organization, we’re asking you to update your staff profile. This can be done directly by logging in and editing the Other Employer section of Skills and Qualifications.  A user guide to assist you in navigating the system is included here (myHR Employee Self Service Guide).  Please navigate to section 14 – Editing your Skills and Qualifications.   Should you require additional assistance, please contact Human Resources at myHR@hhsc.ca or 905-521-2100 ext 4myHR (46947).

Message From Rob MacIsaac

Read the latest situation update from Rob MacIsaac here.

Equipment Sent to Biomedical

All equipment send to Biomedical Technology for repair much have indication that it has been cleaned (a note or a green tag). This is in accordance with the CSS – Cleaning of Mobile Medical Equipment Protocol.

Staff Screening

Thank you to those individuals who are assigned to be staff screeners at each of our clinical sites and for helping keep everyone safe. A reminder to continue using the web-based screening tool at staffscreen.hhsc.ca and complete before your shift. All staff and physicians are required to show their results along with your badge upon arrival at a clinical site.

GOOD NEWS & OTHER RESOURCES

Connecting LTC homes with ED physicians

A new program using a virtual care model is now supporting the care needs of long term care (LTC) residents in their homes. LTC healthcare teams now have access to emergency physicians and alternate care pathways which will help reduce the need for residents to travel and wait in an emergency department.
Read more.

Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic Study

In response to the COVD-19 pandemic, McMaster University’s MacAnxiety Research Centre, in partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences is conducting a prospective, international, survey study, “Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.” The study aims to explore the psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the community at large.
Participate in the survey.

COVID19: Most cancer treatments continue at Juravinski during outbreak

Read more.

Hamilton companies working together to design and make masks

Read more.

April 8, 2020

Employment Opportunities

Do you someone with healthcare experience and are not currently employed by HHS or St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton? We need them! Employment opportunities are now available. Read more here.

Webinar

Today’s workforce webinar talks about resilience, goals of care conversations and some HR updates. All COVID-19 webinars are posted to the Hub and our Staff and Physician COVID-19 page on the external website.

Resilience Toolkit

We know everyone is under a huge amount of stress at this time. An online resilience support toolkit has been created to help you cope both at work and at home. Further peer supports are also in development.
Read more

Food and beverage donations

We’re grateful to local businesses and organizations for their support. Guidelines are being developed to ensure that we can receive contributions safely.

Grateful for local businesses and organizations

We are grateful to local businesses and organizations who are interested in donating PPE supplies and recognize our staff through donation of food and beverages.

  • Those seeking to donate PPE and other supplies should email PPEdonations@hhsc.ca
  • Offers of donations of items intended to recognize staff (e.g., food and beverages) may be directed to wecare@hhsc.ca

Guidelines are being developed to ensure that we can receive contributions safely. Once guidelines are in place, they will be shared with staff and posted on our website. We are unable to accept donations until these guidelines are in place. Please direct any questions to wecare@hhsc.ca

April 7, 2020

April 7

Virtual Care

Supporting the advancement of virtual care options, the MyChart patient portal is available to staff, in addition to patients, to view their COVID-19 tests that have been resulted at a hospital. Staff and patients can enroll online and will receive their login pin within one business day. For further information about MyChart and the additional health information available, please visit https://healthrecordsonline.ca/.

Resilience Toolkit

We know everyone is under a huge amount of stress at this time. An online resilience support toolkit has been created to help you cope both at work and at home. Further peer supports are also in development.

Read more

Work Accommodation

A new work accommodation process was recently put in place to support staff and physicians whose health-related conditions may impact their ability to work safely in specific areas at this time.

Read more

The Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton Health Sciences preparing for worst case scenario of 1,000 patients

Read more

April 6, 2020

What you need to know

• An innovative program will launch today, using a virtual care model to support the care needs of long term care (LTC) residents in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. LTC healthcare teams will gain access to Emergency Physicians and alternate care pathways to reduce the need for transport to an emergency department. Learn more.

• We recognize that disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), such as N95s, are not approved for routine decontamination and reuse as standard of care. However, the CDC, Public Health Ontario and Ontario Health have recognized that FFR decontamination and reuse may need to be considered as a crisis capacity strategy to ensure continued availability. We are investigating the safest way to do this. As we investigate, some units have been asked to begin collecting used N95s for reprocessing. Read how we’re expanding our PPE conservation strategies.

What you need to do

• We know a surge is coming, and the next several days are the time to prepare. While difficult, it is more important than ever to have conversations with patients and families about realistic goals of care. Taking the time to have these conversations, however brief, helps your patients feel heard, minimizes their sense of isolation, and often helps them understand of their medical team’s recommendations. In order to support these conversations we have developed tools including a flow map, conversation guides, and patient letters can which can be found here.

• Today our leaders shared details of our capacity and COVID-19 surge plans in the latest webinar. Watch here.

• New posters have been created to indicate precautions required in different clinical care areas. Please familiarize yourself with these posters and their meanings.

April 5, 2020

What you need to know

• HHS is acutely aware of current pressures and the need to move forward with virtual care modalities. To that end we are working as quickly as possible to review and onboard new solutions. In the short term, only OTN Hub (video conferencing) and telephone encounters are approved for clinical use. Presently, HHS does not support the use of other video conferencing platforms (Skype, FaceTime, WebEx, Zoom.us, etc.) for clinical purposes. Virtual Care Working Groups, together with our IT, Privacy and Information Security teams are working to review alternative platforms and expand your options quickly, while balancing the rights of patients and risk to the organization and our staff. We anticipate being in a position to endorse expanded options and provide more practical guidance next week.

What is happening elsewhere

• Keep an eye on social media for messages of support from our community, using the hashtag #SignUpToSupport.

April 4, 2020

What you need to know

  • Some changes have been made to pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic patient populations that now need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Reminder when using staffscreen.hhsc.ca to report only new and unexplained symptoms. Those reporting one minor new and unexplained symptom will be directed to proceed to work with a mask and to contact Employee Health Services. They will be prioritized for quick follow up and referred for COVID-19 testing as needed. Please note, staff working from home do not need to complete the tool at this time.
  • Self-screening tool down for scheduled maintenance Sunday, April 5 from 6:30-6:45am. Do your screening before or after that time.
  • Mental health support for health care workers is available through EAP and in the community.
  • As we continue to maintain our staffing levels in new service areas and service areas experiencing high volumes, we created a new process to accommodate staff and physicians whose health-related conditions may impact their ability to work safely in specific areas.

What you need to do

  • Watch the latest all-staff webinar with some of our leaders addressing your COVID-19 related questions, now available on our YouTube page. All COVID-19 webinars are posted to The Hub and our Staff COVID-19 page on the external website.

What is happening elsewhere

April 3, 2020

What you need to know

  • Charles and Margaret Juravinski have joined the fight against Covid-19 in Hamilton with a $3.3 million gift to accelerate Covid-19-related and brain health research as part of the newly formed Juravinski Research Institute in Hamilton.
  • Self-screening tool down for scheduled maintenance Sunday from 6:30-6:45am. Do your screening before or after that time.
  • FREE television service is now available for all of our patients to help curb loneliness in the absence of visitors.

What you need to do

  • Reminder when using staffscreen.hhsc.ca to report only new and unexplained symptoms. Those reporting one minor new and unexplained symptom will be directed to proceed to work with a mask and to contact Employee Health Services. They will be prioritized for quick follow up and referred for COVID-19 testing as needed.

What is happening elsewhere

April 2, 2020

What you need to know

• As of April 2, staff and physicians will be required to complete the online screening found at staffscreen.hhsc.ca before reporting to work. This is an additional but necessary step to keep all of us safe. You will find staff available to provide support at screening entrances to keep the process running smoothly. We appreciate your patience while we continue to streamline the screening process across the sites. If you are a physician or other healthcare professional without an HHS ID number, enter zero in the ID field and proceed to the screen questions. For additional information, including FAQ and training videos, please go to the Hub.

What you need to do

• Sending thanks to medical learners Sarina, Stefan, Julia and Eric who have helped to collect 150 sets of scrubs from other students across the city and deliver them back to hospitals. We need yours too. Please leave all scrubs at the hospital and return any extras you have, no questions asked. There is an urgent shortage of scrubs in our hospitals.

What is happening elsewhere

Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre staff show resiliency in face of coronavirus pandemic

April 1, 2020

What you need to know

• As of April 2, staff and physicians will be required to complete the online screening found at staffscreen.hhsc.ca before reporting to work. This is an additional but necessary step to keep all of us safe. You will find staff available to provide support at screening entrances to keep the process running smoothly. We appreciate your patience while we continue to streamline the screening process across the sites. If you are a physician or other healthcare professional without an HHS ID number, enter zero in the ID field and proceed to the screen questions. For additional information, including FAQ and training videos, please go to the Hub.

What you need to do

• Sending thanks to medical learners Sarina, Stefan, Julia and Eric who have helped to collect 150 sets of scrubs from other students across the city and deliver them back to hospitals. We need yours too. Please leave all scrubs at the hospital and return any extras you have, no questions asked. There is an urgent shortage of scrubs in our hospitals.

What is happening elsewhere

Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre staff show resiliency in face of coronavirus pandemic

March 31, 2020

What you need to know

• In addition to the visitor guidelines that came into effect on March 20, we want to provide you with updated information regarding families dropping off personal items for patients, the email-a-patient service and WiFi access.

• As of April 2, staff and physicians are required to complete online screening before reporting to work. The self-screening tool is a quick and convenient way for you to screen for any symptoms of COVID-19 prior to your shift. Access the tool by visiting staffscreen.hhsc.ca. Copy and paste the address into your browser either inside or outside Citrix. Please note: If you are a physician or other healthcare professional without an HHS ID number, enter zero in the ID field and proceed to the screen questions.

• Tomorrow, patient meals are changing. The Nutrition Services team has put in place a phased planning approach in response to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to bring to our sites. This staged response ensures we can be prudent with staffing and resources while accommodating an expected increase in patient volumes and resource requirements. Read the full memo.

• Read how updates to healthcare worker testing criteria will impact you if you have symptoms.

• The Ministry of Health has established a new, temporary process for billing for uninsured patients. Understand how these changes affect patient billing at HHS.

What you need to do

• Watch today’s all-staff webinar with some of our leaders addressing your COVID-19 related questions, now available on our YouTube page. All COVID-19 webinars are posted to The Hub and our Staff COVID-19 page on the external website.

• The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is asking hospital staff to take a few minutes to reinforce the message that Ontarians need to stay home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our hospitals from being overwhelmed. They launched a new social media campaign and are asking hospital staff to help by recording a quick video, on your phone, telling Ontarians to stay home. Click this link and follow the instructions. It’s important for Ontarians to see the faces of the people behind their care, and to hear authentic messages of how important it is that they stay home. OHA is committed to getting these video messages in front of tens of thousands of Ontarians to flatten the curve!

What is happening elsewhere

VIDEO: Empowering and protecting your family during the COVID-19 pandemic

March 30, 2020

What you need to know

• HHS had adopted a phased approach to the use of protective masks and other PPE throughout hospital facilities, based on government recommendations. Currently, we have fully implemented phase 1 with extended use of masks, N95 respirators and face shields in the emergency care setting including our urgent care center and our assessment center. We will then spread this approach to neonatal, pediatric and adult intensive care units and will do so for our COVID-19 cohort wards. Read more about what this phased approach means for staff and doctors.
• Our Workforce Webinar tomorrow, Tuesday March 31, will be available by recording only. No Zoom login required. The link for recording will be posted on The Hub, on the public COVID-19 page for staff, and shared in tomorrow’s Daily Dispatch.

What you need to do

• Read about COVID-19 case reporting at HHS, and what to do if you or a patient you’re caring for becomes symptomatic.
• As part of our commitment to a safe and healthy workplace for our patients, staff and physicians, we are introducing a mandatory web-based self-screening tool. Starting Thursday, April 2 at 6 a.m., staff and physicians will be required to complete the online screening before reporting to work. It takes two minutes to complete!

What is happening elsewhere

• Everyone should stay home, Ontario’s top doctor says, and self-isolate if you’re over 70

• Statement from the Chief Medical Officer of Health

March 29, 2020

What you need to know

What you need to do

What is happening elsewhere

March 28, 2020

What you need to know

What you need to do

What is happening elsewhere

March 27, 2020

What you need to know on from March 27

• We were notified today by Hamilton Public Health that a nurse who provides care at one of our sites tested positive for Covid-19. The nurse contacted HHS Employee Health Services as soon as they started experiencing symptoms

• The staff parking rate increase, previously scheduled for April 1, has been suspended until further notice. For questions or inquiries, please email parkingoffice@hhsc.ca.

• As of March 26, 2020, West End Assessment Centre hours are as follows: 10 am – 4 pm, seven days/week. A referral from an individual’s doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services is needed to get an appointment at the Assessment Centre. More information about Hamilton Assessment Centres is available here.

What you need to do

• Watch today’s COVID-19 webinar for the latest situation update from HHS leaders

What is happening elsewhere

• Our Employee Assistance Program LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell has provided some practical support tools for staff. See the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Coronavirus: McMaster researchers donate supplies to keep front-line hospital workers safe

March 26, 2020

What you need to know

• A nurse from St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton provided dialysis care to two specific Hamilton Health Sciences patients at Hamilton General Hospital on Thursday, March 19, 2020. One patient was in the Coronary Care Unit and the other was on 4 West. The nurse began feeling ill on Saturday and has since been confirmed as a positive case of Covid-19. Learn more.

• As of March 26, 2020, West End Assessment Centre hours are as follows: 10 am – 4 pm, seven days/week. A referral from an individual’s doctor or Hamilton Public Health Services is needed to get an appointment at the Assessment Centre. More information about Hamilton Assessment Centres is available here.

What you need to do

• Please join us for workforce-wide webinar tomorrow from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. HHS leaders will speak to current issues related to COVID-19. Connect via Zoom outside of Citrix.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/943218934
Meeting ID: 943 218 934
Or call in for audio only: 855 703 8985 Canada Toll-free, Meeting ID: 943 218 934

What is happening elsewhere

We appreciate you. Read the Caregiver Tip Sheet to learn what hospital staff and caregivers want eachother to know.
Coronavirus: McMaster researchers donate supplies to keep front-line hospital workers safe

March 25, 2020

What you need to know

• Caring for kids or others at home? New guidelines outline alternative work options. Read about the legislative changes and talk to your leader about your situation.

• We know many of you are wondering whether HHS is implementing a universal masking protocol. We want to reassure you that staff and physician safety remains a top priority. HHS has not made a decision on universal masking yet. We are working closely with partners including St. Joe’s and Niagara Health to develop a regional strategy that considers safety and inventory both now and over the lengthy course COVID-19 is expected to take. We will share more information when a decision has been made. For now, our current masking policy stands.

• Everyone at HHS is doing their best to establish new sources of PPE and conserve the supplies we are currently being allotted. There are many ways you can help at a unit and individual level. This quick reference document gives an overview of all those strategies, and provides guidance on how to adjust workflows to extend our PPE resources. Our education team is in the process of connecting with units across HHS to support implementation of these new strategies.

• The procurement team now has an email address to help assess and process offers to sell PPE, equipment (ie. ventilators) and other supplies to HHS. If you have received an offer, please forward it to purchasePPE@hhsc.ca, or ask the sender to email the procurement team directly using this email account.

• Your contribution as a frontline healthcare worker is essential to providing safe care to our patients. Here is a short list of precautions to consider adding to your routine to keep yourself and your family safe given your exposures in the workplace. You were likely already doing many of these things before COVID-19. They are more important now than ever.

What you need to do

• If you missed yesterday’s workforce-wide webinar, you can listen to our recording.

• Review PPE conservation resources including info on workflow redesign, reuse and extended use, found here.

• Please join us for workforce-wide webinar Friday, March 27 from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. HHS leaders will speak to current issues related to COVID-19. Connect via Zoom outside of Citrix.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/943218934
Meeting ID: 943 218 934
Or call in for audio only: 855 703 8985 Canada Toll-free, Meeting ID: 943 218 934

What is happening elsewhere

• Ontario government announces new temporary order for long-term care
• HHS researchers testing a promising COVID-19 treatment.
• City of Hamilton updates on emergency child care for essential front-line workers

March 24, 2020

What you need to know

  • Caring for kids or others at home? New guidelines outline alternative work options. Read about the legislative changes and talk to your leader about your situation.
  • We know many of you are wondering whether HHS is implementing a universal masking protocol. We want to reassure you that staff and physician safety remains a top priority. HHS has not made a decision on universal masking yet. We are working closely with partners including St. Joe’s and Niagara Health to develop a regional strategy that considers safety and inventory both now and over the lengthy course COVID-19 is expected to take. We will share more information when a decision has been made. For now, our current masking policy stands.
  • Everyone at HHS is doing their best to establish new sources of PPE and conserve the supplies we are currently being allotted. There are many ways you can help at a unit and individual level. This quick reference document gives an overview of all those strategies, and provides guidance on how to adjust workflows to extend our PPE resources.

What you need to do

  • If you missed today’s workforce-wide webinar, you can listen to our recording of HHS leaders addressing current issues related to COVID-19.
  • Review PPE conservation resources including info on workflow redesign, reuse and extended use, found here.

What is happening elsewhere

March 23, 2020

What you need to know

•N95 respirators are to be worn for any Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures, whether or not the patient has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Details here.

•Need some basic home essentials like a toothbrush and toothpaste? All three retail pharmacies remain open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., serving staff, physicians and discharged patients.

What you need to do

•Contribute to the HHS-wide effort to conserve PPE—we are all in this together. Comprehensive support materials for PPE conservation will be shared tomorrow.

  • Limit the number of people entering rooms of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients wherever possible.
  • Follow proper donning and doffing procedures so PPE is not wasted.
  • Remove PPE supplies from visitor and public areas and instead distribute it directly to patients/visitors as needed.

•If someone inquires about donating PPE, please direct them to the central email we have established to coordinate these generous offers. Anyone looking to donate or supply products, please email PPEdonations@hhsc.ca and provide:

  • Contact name, email and phone number
  • Product description
  • Product code
  • Identify if the boxes are opened or sealed.

•Remember: The privacy of our patients is paramount, including in a time of crisis. Sharing patient health information, including suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases, beyond the circle of care is in breach of HHS’ privacy policy. This includes social media. Please refresh your familiarity with the policy (accessible through Citrix in the policy library).

•Please join us for workforce-wide webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24 from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. HHS leaders will speak to current issues related to COVID-19. Connect via Zoom outside of Citrix.

  • Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/732884173
  • Meeting ID: 732 884 173
  • Or call in for audio only: 855 703 8985 Canada Toll-free, Meeting ID: 732 884 17

•Please conserve the usage of O.R. scrubs as is practical to make certain that there is sufficient supply.

What is happening elsewhere

• Ontario closes all non-essential businesses

March 22, 2020

What you need to know

  • The provincial government issued an emergency order that gives hospitals more tools and flexibility to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. A key part is making the redeployment of staff easier. Read more.
  • Part of the provincial emergency measures is opening certain daycare facilities for the children of first responders and frontline staff and physicians. Read the provincial news release.
  • HHS is putting in place a system to manage donations of PPE and other supplies, as well as in-kind offers of support. More information will follow soon.

What you need to do

  • Here are the steps to follow to be able to view the upcoming COVID-19 webinar on Tuesday, March 24.
  • Just before the webinar, copy this link into a browser OUTSIDE Citrix and follow the prompts.
  • Any staff members or physicians contacted by media about HHS’ preparations and actions on COVID-19, should refer the journalist to the Communications & Public Affairs on–call staff member through paging at 905-521-5030.

What is happening elsewhere

March 21, 2020

What you need to know

  • We’re helping patients to stay connected with friends and family as visits are being severely restricted. Free public Wifi access can be accessed by locating the “HHS Free Wifi” on a device’s list of available networks.
  • We are no longer allowing visitors at HHS. Limited exceptions will be made.
  • Only service providers that are essential to our operations are permitted. See more details here.

What you need to do

What is happening elsewhere

March 20, 2020

What you need to know

Free public Wifi access is now available
• We are no longer allowing visitors at HHS. Limited exceptions will be made.
• A Psycho-Spiritual Practitioner is available through Paging at each site of HHS during daytime hours (0900 – 1700) to support patients, visitors and staff. Over the phone Psycho-Spiritual Care is available through Paging after hours from 1700 – 0900 daily, and throughout weekends. Full details.
• To support the safety of our patients and volunteers, all volunteer activities have been suspended until operations return to normal.

What is happening elsewhere

• An HHS staff member’s son penned this thoughtful letter, which we’ve shared on social media.
McMaster University researchers receive major funding in the fight against COVID-19