COVID-19 GGH Update April 18

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Action/must read (2)
What’s New? (2)
Resources and Supplies (1)
Staff Support (2)
Policy Changes (0)

Starting with the positive

A nice email from a grateful patient

Hello Ms Walker,

I have just recently returned home after spending 7 days in your West 6 ward for surgery. I would like to congratulate you and your wonderful staff for their tremendous professionalism in a chaotic, unique time.

With all the fears about COVID-19, possible supply shortages your staff remained caring, dedicated, compassionate and efficient. I found that absolutely amazing that they could be so compassionate and patient when the world around them was spinning out of control and they were targets in the storm. I am certain that they had fears but they expressed them amongst themselves – not letting it affect any of their duties to the patients. There were some very intolerant patients and they handled it all with professionalism and humour. I loved the cooperation that they exuded – when someone was overwhelmed another nurse or staff member would step in and help.

Bravo to a wonderful “front line” of workers”. I needed care and they were there delivering it with sensitivity- a difficult thing to do when you have a young family at home and you are working on the battle lines – front row.

Please offer my heartfelt thank to everyone on West 6 and thanks them for being so special. I trust that everyone keeps healthy and safe and good luck to you as you journey down this dangerous, unknown pathway of global turmoil.

Sincerely, Judy

Reporting on COVID-19 activity in staff and patients*

*Friday’s figures

Total number of staff tested to date204
Total number of staff with a positive test result to date26
Total number of staff with a negative test result to date163
Total number of results pending16
Number of current in-patients who have tested positive7
# staff who tested positive and are now recovered14

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Action/Must read

We need our scrubs and gowns back!!
Since March 14 over 4,000 pieces scrubs and gowns have gone missing. Before that, we lost 4,000 over 14 months. Our linen supplier Ecotex informed us that only 12% of our scrubs were returned for laundering which means 88% have gone missing. The result is we have a critical shortage and scrubs need to be returned so that we don’t run out.

Please return all Hospital scrubs you have in your possession ASAP so we can ensure they are available when needed.  This loss of scrubs has already resulted in some department not having enough. Until all scrubs are returned and laundered, staff who wear scrubs are advised to bring a uniform with them to work as a back up in case there are no scrubs available when they arrive at work.

The ability to supply scrubs and gowns relies on an unbroken cycle of these items delivered by Ecotex, distributed within the hospital, used, deposited in soiled linen containers and returned to Ecotex to be hygienically cleaned and sent back to GGH. If the cycle is broken, they will not be available and the process will grind to a halt, impeding the flow of these critical items. Please note: scrubs are owned by Ecotex, taking scrubs home is akin to theft.

For areas with hospital-issued scrubs:  Scrubs may not be taken off hospital property. Therefore, scrubs are not to be worn home. Street clothes must be worn to work and staff should change into scrubs before their shift and change out of them before leaving the building at the end of the shift.

For clinic staff who wear personally-owned scrubs or uniforms: Scrubs and uniforms should not be worn outside of the building. Street clothes must be worn to work and staff should change into scrubs before their shift. Prior to going outside, change into street clothes and take scrubs home to launder in a sealed plastic bag.

Stay tuned for more communication about scrubs & gowns, but for now, please return them so that we can get them back into circulation. They can be returned to the dirty linen hampers on each of the units.

Visitor Exemptions
To protect our patients and staff, Guelph General Hospital made a difficult decision to stop allowing most visitors into the hospital. Exemptions will be made for compassionate circumstances and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Visitor exemptions include:

  • Relative of a terminally ill patient near end of life.
  • Parent of a child under the age of 18.
  • Partner/support person of a patient giving birth.
  • Visitor requested by the healthcare team to support patients whose needs may be best met by an external support person (e.g. patient with dementia experiencing agitation).
  • Spiritual care providers.

For details about the exemptions, click here.

What’s new?

Enhanced Staff/Patient and Visitor Screening coming soon

For patient and visitor screening: Questions will now include gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. We will also be taking visitors’ temperatures. If a visitor has any symptoms or a fever he or she will not be allowed to visit.

For staff: New recommendations are to monitor temperature twice/day. We would encourage you to take your temperature before coming to work. If you don’t have a thermometer at home there are limited quantities available for purchase at switchboard. We will be sending out a new staff monitoring form to complete daily.

Reminder: The temperature we are currently taking with the laser thermometers are only measuring surface temperatures, so will not be the numbers you are used to seeing. We will also take a core temperature using a temporal thermometer if you prefer or if the surface temperature appears inaccurate.

Limited IPAC availability next Monday through Wednesday
GGH has hired new Infection Control Professionals.  Given the current IPAC workload, and the fact that we currently have only one ICP, this presents challenges for effective orientation for the new staff.  It is critical to commit dedicated training time to ensure our new staff get off to a positive start at GGH and be in a position to contribute effectively as soon as possible.

Arpita will be dedicating three full days, April 20, 21, and 22, to provide initial training for our new ICPs. This will significantly impact Infection Prevention and Control coverage for those three days. If you require IPAC support during this time period, please leave a voicemail on extension 6481. Calls will be triaged and responded to if possible. However, the focus will be on training new staff. If you have a critical IPAC issue, please contact ext. 2323.

IPAC Reminder
Now that the 4 East outbreak is over, admission and transfer restrictions are no longer in place.  COVID-positive and suspect-COVID patients can be admitted to 4 East, observing appropriate infection prevention and control practices.

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Resources and Supplies

Distribution of homemade PPE begins
There is an incredible army of sewers in our community who have sewn 1,000 scrub caps and – to date – more than 3,000 masks for GGH. Most of the scrub caps have been distributed – contact your director if your area has been missed and you would like some. The first batch of masks has been distributed. The recipients will be discharged patients and visitors. There have been requests from staff for use outside the hospital and that is being looked into.

Staff Support

Goodbye Social Distancing. Hello Physical Distancing
Over the past few weeks the hospital has implemented a number of measures to protect staff from exposures to communicable disease, including COVID-19. This includes the direction to for all staff to wear a surgical mask when working in a clinical area and to maintain physical distancing(2 metres/6.5 feet) both at work and in the community.  This includes close quarters like your break/lunchrooms.  That, along with being diligent about practicing good hand hygiene, cough etiquette and appropriate use of PPE, will help keep you and your family safe.

You may notice that the language around physical distancing has shifted away from social distancing – because it is important to still stay connected to others, especially during times of uncertainty and anxiety.  One of the areas of continued concern that increases everyone’s risk is that in our efforts to connect, we forget the importance of physical distancing.  At work – our lounges and break rooms continue to be hot spots and places where it is easy to let our guard down around physical distancing because we are with people we know and feel comfortable with.  However, we need to be aware that COVID-19 is in our community – and we can get it from people we know and our patients. We have to continue being diligent about all these measures, whether at work, at home or on our breaks.  Stay connected – but stay physically distant!

National Volunteer Week starts Monday
It will be a National Volunteer Week like no other. Our volunteers are sorely missed but there will be a time when they selflessly return to our GGH family.

This year, GGH volunteers provided over 15,800 hours of their time. Each hour, each unique interaction with a patient or visitor has a story behind it. That moment in time made their GGH experience that much better.

A heartfelt “thank you!” goes out to every GGH volunteer. We miss you(!) and look forward to your return.

Our Social Media post above will mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week

Policy Changes

Notes & Comments

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