A special edition of The Pulse
North York General reaches zero in-patients with COVID-19
On August 10, North York General Hospital celebrated having no in-patients with COVID-19 for the first time in more than 23 weeks. We couldn't have done it without the support of our amazing staff, physicians, learners, volunteers and of course our patients, families and entire community who united beside us to help stop the spread of the virus. Although we know these things always change in a matter of minutes, its important we recognize these small steps forward.
While this is a critical and welcome milestone, we are not letting our guard down. We are actively planning for a Fall that will see the return to school of thousands of children and teachers; increasing people in the workplace and the onset of our normal flu season. We will apply what we have learned in the last several months and will continue to work beyond our hospital walls with all our partners to care for our community.
Transforming our environment to prepare for the future
Recently, we transitioned our remaining outpatient programs and services from the Branson site to two new locations on Consumer Road and Champaign. Our teams have worked hard to successfully get these programs up and running at our two new sites – doing so during a pandemic is no easy feat! While the COVID-19 Assessment Centre remains at Branson, work is underway to revitalize the site to create a new Reactivation Care Centre (RCC), which provides specialized care for patients transitioning out of hospital.
Back in February, the Ontario Ministry of Health approved a Planning Grant for North York General to develop a new RCC. Planning and design are underway to create 128 new transitional care beds, of which 64 are allocated for North York General. The new RCC beds are intended to help ease capacity challenges with occupancy planned for next spring.
Pilot Program to Reduce Wait Times
Direct Access Beds program to improve hospital wait times
The Ontario government has chosen North York General Hospital as the site to test Direct Access Beds, an innovative program that gives alternate level of care hospital patients direct priority access to long-term care beds at Seniors’ Health Centre. With the support of the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the pilot aims to identify new ways to reduce waitlists and end hallway health care.
North York General usually has upwards of 40 in-patients who no longer require acute care and require an alternative level of care. When acute care beds are occupied by patients who are waiting to go to a care setting in the community, it results in fewer hospital beds available. With Direct Access Beds, 10 percent of long-term care beds at Seniors’ Health Centre will be available to eligible North York General in-patients. These are patients who have been waiting for at least 60 days for a long-term care home placement and have chosen Seniors’ Health Centre as one of their preferred destinations.
Return of Volunteers
It has been five months since most of our volunteers have had the opportunity to provide service at NYGH. We are grateful to our Virtual Friendly Visitor Volunteers at Seniors’ Health Centre and our Patient & Family Advisors who have continued to provide support virtually. And, as hospital operations are resuming, we are excited to gradually welcome back more of our volunteers in a phased approach.
Earlier this month we marked five months since we opened our two COVID-19 Assessment Centres. Since then we have completed over 65,000 tests. Testing has been critical in helping to identify and contain the spread of the virus. In addition to our Assessment Centre, we launched Mobile Assessment Teams who went into the community completed near 6,000 swabs at 25 long-term care and retirement homes and shelters.
If you or your family are concerned about COVID-19 testing is available.
If you are not experiencing symptoms but need COVID testing for any reason:
Branson Assessment Centre
555 Finch Ave W.
(North entrance immediately after Finch)
Hours: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
If you are experiencing symptoms
North York General Hospital
4001 Leslie Street
Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Looking beyond for answers
North York General is at the forefront of an integrated-community response to COVID-19. At the onset of the pandemic our researchers pivoted to find answers to COVID-19. Despite the challenges imposed on hospitals by the pandemic, our team has been able carry out the planning and preparation necessary to conduct studies on COVID-19 and launch several clinical trials to test potential treatments.
Numerous frontline physicians and staff across the hospital are hard at work to better understand COVID-19 and support our patients and community partners with evidence-based programs.
The efforts at North York General include national and multinational clinical trials in partnership with other leading academic-teaching hospitals in Toronto and beyond. Our contributions in these collaborations stems from a track record of developing innovative solutions to improve the delivery of care, for the benefit of our local community and the broader health care system.
Read more about research at NYGH