Rosa Seif
Rosa Seif, Nuclear Medicine Technologist at UHN, is one of several UHN staff who volunteered to be redeployed to Long Term Care facilities experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks (Photo: UHN).

When Rosa Seif volunteered to be redeployed to Long Term Care (LTC), she didn't anticipate how much she would learn and grow as a healthcare provider.

A Nuclear Medicine Technologist at UHN and a 2018 graduate of the Michener Institute of Education at UHN, Rosa had little bedside care experience and even less experience working with the geriatric population.

To prepare for her redeployment, Rosa used the new Critical + Covid Care online learning platform, an online tool that bridges healthcare providers' knowledge and skill set with the requirements to care for those impacted by COVID-19 in acute and LTC.

"I found the website informative and easy to navigate, and I had more confidence going into this new environment," says Rosa. "Even during my work in LTC, I would go back to it to refresh my knowledge and find resources related to specific experiences I had on a particular day."

Some sections she often tapped into were the Covid-19 Outbreak Guidance in Long Term Care, Mobility and Transferring, and sections regarding wounds, dementia, and depression, among others.

One of the major takeaways for Rosa was that all behaviour has meaning when it comes to individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Understanding that each resident is at a different stage in their life allowed her to create more meaningful connections with the residents, especially during a pandemic when human connection can easily be lost. 

Finding new solutions to engage with patients

During the pandemic, the LTC facility was affected by a COVID-19 outbreak. To protect residents and staff, the facility implemented a No-Visitor policy and daily activities were cancelled.

Rosa was concerned about one resident in particular who showed a great decline in her health and well-being, and would not eat, speak or sleep.

She used the resources on the website to find meaningful ways to provide the residents with enriching activities. The Aging Process module offered ideas on how to implement activities like exercises, art, listening to music, and finding new ways to connect with others.

In her final weeks at the facility, Rosa noticed a significant change in that one particular resident.

"Whenever she saw the UHN team, she would have a big smile on her face," says Rosa. "She seemed very happy and this truly touched all of our hearts."

Looking ahead for pandemic preparedness

The Critical + Covid Care platform now has over 7,500 users across all Ontario Local Health Integration Networks and over 50 professions.

"In terms of ongoing use, 87 per cent of respondents indicate they will continue to access the site in the coming months in preparation for a second wave," says Maria Tassone, Senior Director of Continuing and Professional Development at UHN. "These preliminary results are one demonstration of the wide reach and meaningful contribution of the learning platform to healthcare providers across the province."

With fewer cases of COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals, redeployment is no longer occurring at UHN.

"As of right now, our team is preparing the platform to focus on pandemic preparedness should a second wave of COVID-19 occur," says Maria.

Aside from the platform, Rosa is grateful for the dedicated and passionate teams she worked with who made the transition easier. The teams included Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and nurses at the LTC facility, in addition to her team from UHN.

"Each person had something different to offer and teach me when it came to caring for the residents," says Rosa.

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