The word pivot could very well join terms such as self-isolate and physical distancing as key memories when residents across the province reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic some day.
Breweries revamped systems to make hand sanitizer, anyone with a 3D printer pivoted to crafting portions of personal protective equipment and organizations such as the Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Healthcare Foundation (SPHHF) routinely shift roles to fill ever-changing needs as the battle against the virus continues.
“We began by looking for ways to support the purchase of equipment that might be needed,” said Karen Morgan, SPHHF president and CEO.
When the provincial and federal governments made commitments, the organization turned to finding ways to support staff, patients, residents and families through its Emergency Response Fund.
“Some things might seem too small, at a time when the pandemic is ravaging our world, but I can tell you that a few Easter treats for long-term care staff gave them a morale boost that cannot be measured,” Morgan said. “We are also working to make family visiting easier and less stressful for families, from moving obstacles out of the way of windows to purchasing computer tablets for virtual visits.”
|A flower heart at Saanich Peninsula Hospital shows love and support for health care staff. (Danielle Litke photo)
To make donations stretch even further, as of Tuesday, April 14, Peninsula Co-op will match donations up to $150,000 across Island Hospitals. Crediting 2020 as the year of the nurse, Peninsula Co-op looks to help frontline health care workers with urgently needed equipment and supplies. Funds will benefit Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, Saanich Peninsula, Cowichan District, and North Island hospitals.
“We work closely with the doctors, nurses and health care workers to determine needs, which change as the situation changes. Our support will go to provide materials and equipment to support our frontline health care workers. And we are committed to being as nimble as possible to respond to those needs,” Morgan said.
Help for frontline health care staff range from organizing donor thank-you lunches to housing.
“One of the more unusual requests we received was for portable change tents,” Morgan said. “There is now a hard separation between acute care and long-term care, which is both necessary and good policy. However, the long-term care staff had nowhere to change at the beginning and end of their shifts. So the SPH Chapel now has two change tents to give staff privacy to change.”
The SPHHF is also working with local hotels and donors to help house frontline health care workers concerned they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
This time of worry puts some stress on the health care system, Morgan admits. “You can hear it in the voices of staff at the hospital and in the community. But it’s also a time of enormous courage and innovation.”
In another pivot, Shoreline Medical Society adopted a “virtual visit” model that Morgan herself utilized for a sinus infection. “The doctor was thorough, compassionate and responsive, and I didn’t need to get out of my pyjamas for the visit,” she said. “I am so proud of the health care professionals in our community. They are demonstrating a commitment to improving care on the fly with very impressive results.”
Patience is key amid this coronavirus pandemic, but feel free to show appreciation, Morgan said.
“If you see one of our hard-working and courageous health care workers on the street or at the grocery store, please thank them at a social distance, of course. She encourages residents to visit the SPHHF Facebook page to pass along positive messages.