A special edition of The Pulse
Responding to Community Need During our Greatest Time of Need
We have received many inquiries about how North York General Hospital (NYGH) has been responding to COVID-19. Our a approach has been guided by safety, compassion and innovation and focused on both NYGH and the greater North York community. To keep you informed and connected to NYGH during COVID-19, here are some of the highlights of our work.
Safety has always been front and centre, but never more than now. All individuals entering the hospital are screened for symptoms, staff are required to wear masks on-site as well as physically distance, and there are heightened cleaning protocols. Extra precautions have been taken across the hospital for all in-patient care, and we are all in for stopping COVID-19.
Across the Province of Ontario, services within hospitals have been reduced to plan for a potential surge of patients. We’ve quickly adapted our care model and used innovation to maintain the continuum of care through virtual care and virtual visits. You can learn more about these efforts on page 2.
Early in our COVID-19 response planning, the hospital and its local partners came together to collectively share our expertise and help care for our broader community. In addition to keeping the virus off the doorstep of our own Seniors’ Health Centre, we have worked together with primary care and our community care partners to support our 22 long-term care homes, retirement homes and shelters across our community. Truly a story of collaboration and supporting our neighbours during their greatest time of need, highights of some of this work can be found on our website.
The dedication, commitment and resiliance of the North York commnity partners has been inspiring. We are thankful to have such a tremendous group individuals and know the entir North York community benefits because they have chosen to be part of NYGH.
While we look ahead to recovery, plans are underway to ensure a safe and thoughtful approach. Guided by the framework set out by the provincial government, and in a coordinated fashion with hospitals across our region, we will be implementing phased plans to increase services. As these plans are confirmed, we will ensure they are shared.
North York General Hospital was one of the first in the province to open a COVID-19 Assessment Centre. Since we began testing in February, we have opened a second location and completed over 12,000 tests. NYGH Assessment Centres are open to all members of our community. If you or your family are concerned about COVID-19 testing is available:
Branson Assessment Centre
555 Finch Ave W.
(North entrance immediate after Finch)
Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
North York General Hospital
4001 Leslie St.
Emergency Department entrance
Results are available in as little as 24-hours via our on-line portal. For more information nygh.on.ca/covid-19-updates
In order to protect patients and health care providers from COVID-19, NYGH began to offer more health care options to help limit the number of people who need to be seen in-person. Depending on the technology available within an individual’s home, care teams are staying connected virtually via regular phone ca, a video call using Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) or a via Microsoft Teams. Based on a virtual assessment, if necessary, health care teams may ask a person to come to the hospital for an on-site assessment and care. To date, over 18,000 patient visits have been conducted virtually.
On March 31, NYGH began offering patients free online access to their health records with MyChart™. This is a secure online tool that allows patients to electronically access their medical records from NYGH and over 40 participating hospitals (including Sunnybrook, Michael Garron and Baycrest) across the province. Users can easily view test results, clinical reports and other health information on-line through a web portal. For NYGH patients to register for an account, they need to first obtain a four-digit PIN. This process can be completed online or by calling the Health Records Release of Information office at (416) 756-6209. Once a PIN has been received, registration can be completed at www.mychart.ca
One of the hardest decisions we have had to make was to restrict visitors including family members and caregivers in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 while preserving personal protective equipment. Recognizing family members and caregivers play critical roles in the emotional well-being of patients, to help build connections we have gone virtual.
With the support of the Hospital Foundation, we were able to establish our first Virtual Visiting Program which provided residents of our Seniors’ Health Centre with iPads to connect with their families. The success of this program was replicated on the hospital’s main site and has helped over 300 patients and residents stay connected with loved ones. More on our virtual visit program can be found here.
Using a collaborative approach of working alongside the administration and front-line workers in LTC homes in our community we have:
- Provided COVID SWAT teams to provide training and education on infection prevention and control, as well as cleaning.
- Distributed thousands of gloves, masks, gowns and swabs. One weekend in March alone we distributed 10,000 masks.
- Deployed mobile assessment teams to swab residents and staff for COVID-19 in over 20 congregate care homes.
Answered calls to urgent staffing needs and partnered to redeploy staff and physicians to support the care needs inside LTC homes.