When it came to preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic, Providence Care took a proactive approach for all its sites including Providence Care Hospital. Teams began to meet about the virus in early January. The organization then enacted an Incident Command Structure, which includes a COVID-19 Hospital Planning Group, led by Diana O’Grady and her team. The hospital group has been working together ever since to implement measures to ensure staff and patient safety. They also developed a health system capacity plan to help neighbouring acute care facilities.
Procedures such as staff and patient screening, visitor restrictions, enhanced environmental services, physical distancing and the introduction of virtual care have all played a major role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 at the hospital.
To date, Providence Care Hospital has only had two (2) encounters with the virus. Both of which were caught early and managed well, limiting the spread. “We are lucky Providence Care Hospital was built so recently,” says Cathy Szabo, Providence Care President & CEO. “Each of the hospital’s 270 private rooms naturally supports physical distancing, and with dedicated handwashing sinks in every room, hand washing can take place at the point of care.”
Since planning and preparation for COVID-19 began, the hospital has more than doubled its capacity, growing to 473 beds. This occurred through the creative repurposing of clinical and non-clinical spaces such as meeting rooms and patient lounges.
Today, Providence Care Hospital plays a pivotal role to help support alternative level of care (ALC) patients across the region. This ensures acute care hospitals in Southeastern Ontario, from Trenton to Brockville, have the bed capacity to respond to a surge of COVID-19 positive patients.
The hospital has also taken over the care of four (4) ventilated patients from Intensive Care units at Kingston Health Science Centre’s Kingston General Hospital site and Quinte Health Care Hospital (Belleville), freeing up surge capacity at these acute care facilities.
Providence Care Hospital continues to admit patients who require the services it offers in ageing, mental health and rehabilitation.
“Thanks in part to the creation of the Division of Hospital Medicine, this increase in capacity has been a welcome challenge,” says Dr. Ammar Rashid, Division Head. “Everyone has stepped up, showed up and is eager to work during these challenging times. The dedication to our clients, patients and staff safety has been key.”
As the situation continues to change and evolve, Szabo is confident Providence Care Hospital will be able to maintain the exceptional level of patient care the hospital is known for while fostering a safe environment for both staff and patients.
“One good thing I see coming from all of this is the spirit of community and collaboration. Teamwork has always been essential, however, the pandemic forced us to take quick action and collaborate to ensure everyone can succeed,” says Diana O’Grady, Lead of the COVID-19 Hospital Planning Group.