Good morning, TeamUHN!

As we work towards full vaccination for all members of TeamUHN, we sincerely hope the last small group of colleagues will choose to be fully vaccinated by October 22. We do respect, however, it's your choice. In making your final decision we want to remind you that UHN's vaccination policy has been implemented for the safety of both our patients and staff. As you know, Ontario hospitals have a critical role to play in the fight against COVID-19, and vaccination is an essential part of that fight. All Ontario hospitals have made vaccination a priority and the vast majority of health care organizations now require mandatory double vaccination for new hires. Just last week, mandatory vaccination was announced for all Ontario long-term care home staff. It would be most unfortunate for any member of TeamUHN to leave UHN for failing to comply with UHN's Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and not be aware that many healthcare organizations — hospitals, long-term care homes, home and community care organizations, etc — now require all new employees to be fully vaccinated prior to being hired. If you haven't been vaccinated yet, but you've reconsidered, it's not too late. Contact Health Services and we can help you make the necessary vaccination arrangements.

Key reminders and updates

  • Mandatory vaccination of Essential Care Partners (ECPs) at UHN. The approach to mandatory vaccination of Essential Care Partners (ECPs) is not uniform across GTA hospitals, so I would like to make UHN’s approach clear. UHN expects that all ECPs will show proof of vaccination upon entry to any UHN sites as of October 22, 2021. We will work with patients and families to ensure that this is understood, particularly for patients coming for scheduled care. For individuals who are admitted in an urgent or emergent situation, we will work with their families and loved ones to ensure that compassionate and informed decisions are made about ECPs coming on site. We are also working with contractors and companies to ensure their employees who come to UHN sites are fully vaccinated as part of UHN's Mandatory Vaccination Policy.
  • UHN's Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19 returns Thursday, October 14 at 12 p.m. After a summer hiatus, the Virtual Open Forum returns on a monthly basis. A calendar marker was sent out to all of TeamUHN last Friday, and the link to submit Slido questions will be sent out two days before the forum. A reminder that everyone submitting questions on Slido must include their full name to have it accepted. Those who do not wish to add their name may send questions directly to me at Kevin.Smith@uhn.ca or to Gillian.Howard@uhn.ca with the subject line: Question for Open Forum, Oct. 14.
  • Reserved testing appointments for TeamUHN and household members at the Toronto Western COVID-19 Assessment Centre (TW CAC). As of last week, the TW CAC is once again offering reserved appointments for TeamUHN and members of their household who need to be tested for COVID-19. Fifty (50) appointments slots will be released every day, Monday to Friday only, for staff and/or members of their households who: have symptoms that could be COVID-19, received a notification to get tested as a result of a school outbreak/exposure, or received a notification alert from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) COVID-19 Alert app. The booking link for reserved appointments is available on the Intranet. Bookings are also still available through the general booking link.
  • Synapse Update – Operational Impact Assessment resource for leaders. UHN’s clinical transformation supercharged by a new Health Information System (HIS) from Epic is a project that involves many stakeholders from across UHN. With only eight months to go until we go-live on the Epic system, the need for the participation of operational stakeholders from clinical and non-clinical areas is increasing. To help leaders understand the requests for people’s time and expertise, the Synapse project team offers an Organizational Impact Assessment (OIA)​. It is a living document that is updated as details about this complex and exciting project come into focus. TeamUHN is invited to take a look at the OIA to see its progress and upcoming deadlines.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

Continued Stability of COVID-19 Cases in Ontario

  • Background: Daily COVID-19 case counts and the running average continue to be stable, which is good news. However, with schools recently opened and larger gatherings now permitted, we are continuing to watch this closely. New COVID-19 admissions to UHN are also stable, but the lasting effects of a COVID infection are evident as those who do need hospitalization – the majority of whom are unvaccinated – arrive to UHN Emergency Departments very ill and stay in hospital longer.
  • Who presented? Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control)
  • What do I need to know? The Ontario Science Advisory Table’s latest projection​ released last week is cautiously optimistic. The projection shares that there is a wide range of possibilities on how the next month or two will look in terms of cases and hospitalizations and emphasizes the highly protective effects of vaccines against hospitalization and ICU admission. Finally, they discuss potential impacts of long-COVID – symptoms that last weeks and months after infection – on Ontarians and note that individuals who get COVID post-vaccination, have a 50% less chance of developing long-COVID. The signs of stability are encouraging, but this is not the time to be letting our guard down. We must continue with public health measures and we will continue to watch cases in schools, which may also be a predictor of rising overall cases.

Overview of last week

The Michener Institute of Education at UHN becomes Canada’s first school offering a Master’s degree in Cardiovascular Perfusion (CVP)

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important applied health professionals are to urgent care, and the work of perfusionists has especially stood out. This program is expected to help ease the nation-wide shortage of cardiovascular perfusionists by recognizing their importance in the inter-professional healthcare team. The first co-hort of Masters-credentialed students will begin in September 2022. Michener will also offer a Master’s degree completion program for those who graduated from the advanced diploma program in the past five years.

Closing notes

October 1st was the International Day of Older Persons. Recognized by the United Nations, the International Day of Older Persons​ is an opportunity to think about ways to eliminate ageism, secure the rights of older adults, and create equitable societies for people of all ages. This year also saw the launch of the UN's Decade of Healthy Ageing​—an international commitment to bring concerted attention, resources and political capital to improving the lives of older adults everywhere. By 2031, 1 in 4 Canadians will be 65 years and older and, in order to meet the associated challenges and harness opportunities for an ageing population, we must take action now to create policies, programs and services that support healthy ageing for all. At UHN, we are proud of the internationally-recognized standard of care we provide to older adults, and continue to improve delivery of care closer to a patient's home through our growing UHN@Home Initiative. As health care professionals, we can commit to ongoing learning, to ensure consistent, equitable and high-quality care for all older adults. As part of that call to action, a reminder that the 9th Annual UHN/Sinai Health Toronto Geriatrics Update Course, designed to aid TeamUHN’s ability to support the diagnosis and management of common geriatric syndromes and provision of culturally appropriate care for older adults, will be held on November 5th.

Fire Prevention Week is October 3rd to 9th. Thank you to UHN's Fire & Life Safety team for ensuring fire safety and code compliance across all UHN sites, while educating TeamUHN on safety and prevention. Join the team in marking Fire Prevention Week, with this year's theme: Learn the sounds of fire safety. Take this fire safety quiz​ — if you get a perfect score, you'll be entered to win one of 50 $10 gift cards for Tim Hortons and other grand prizes. For study materials and quiz hints, visit the Fire & Life Safety Intranet page​. Good luck!

Members of TeamUHN were the lucky winners of Maple Leafs tickets. Last week, 25 members of TeamUHN won a pair of tickets to the Maple Leafs Blue v White inter-squad game, which took place on Friday, October 1st. ​We are grateful to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and the Maple Leafs for extending this generous offer to TeamUHN.

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,
Kevin​

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