Michelle’s Blog

From behind-the-scenes (BTS) and equipment to stories and visuals, Michelle will continue to inspire us in her new blog.

Kicking it off – Planet Hope Series 

Part 2 – One Year Later

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES   

PART 2    

ONE YEAR LATER

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

 

This is Michelle Migneault.  She is a social worker at the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre.  She works with intake staff and has provided support both on-site and remotely during the last year. At the beginning of the pandemic, the centre had to work fast and reframe how they supported members of their community. A lot of essential resources that people relied on such as food cupboards, drop-in centres, and support groups all closed without notice. The SEOCHC was left to navigate a system with extremely limited resources.

 

 

From Michelle:
 
“I had many moments of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. We were getting calls from people that had no food, they were unable to leave their homes because they were in isolation, there were people living with mental health challenges and struggling with the pandemic. Folks desperately needed help navigating services available to them.  At times it was overwhelming. The appreciation and gratitude from clients, the support of my colleagues and the amazing problem-solving skills of the social services team helped keep me grounded and re-energized.
 
South-East Ottawa CHC embraced many challenges and pulled together resources to create new programming and support services to meet the needs created by the pandemic. The Intake team has been instrumental in reaching the isolated and most marginalized clients in our community, the hardest hit during Covid-19. This year has been challenging for so many reasons, but I continue to be astonished and inspired by the resiliency, not only of the community but from my colleagues.”

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

 

This is Axelle Pellerin.  She is the director of education at The Ottawa Hospital.  However, since the pandemic began, she has been overseeing TOH vaccination clinic. The clinic administered the first dose of COVID-19 in Ottawa on December 15th and has continued to vaccinate health care workers, essential caregivers, first responders and other community members since.

From Axelle:

“Covid has been a challenging time for everyone, but being at the clinic and seeing the hope and happiness the COVID-19 vaccination brings to people makes a real difference.”

 
 
 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

 
This is Martha Chirip. She is a registered nurse at The Ottawa Hospital. She has spent the past several months vaccinating people at the TOH vaccination clinic and providing leadership oversight to the other vaccinators. THANK YOU to all the vaccinators.
 
From Martha:
 
“Being able to help my community through vaccinations has been a very rewarding experience for me. I am happy that I get to help so many people every day – I know that my work makes a difference in keeping people safe during these uncertain times.”
 
 
 

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Roda Bogoreh. She is a dedicated administrative assistant at the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre. Roda has worked on-site at SEOCHC since the beginning of the pandemic. She supports reception, health services as well as the social services team. She has screened staff and clients, packed and unpacked boxes of supplies and PPE’s… the list is endless.

From Roda:
“SEOCHC has brought me success and happiness. Success to me is about helping each other, helping the communities; it is about getting involved in helping those in need. This work gives me a great sense of purpose in my everyday life and makes me happy.
These last few months, I have had the great pleasure of working with the outreach team. We have travelled door to door to discuss and remind people about Covid-19 and the safety protocols. We have given information on testing sites, offered 100’s of masks, hand sanitizers, information on food and counselling, seniors support, and much more. My experiences over the past year have meant so much to me and I continue to be full of gratitude. I work with such a wonderful and compassionate team and with an amazing, resilient community. I look forward to continuing my support of these efforts through the coming months.”

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Andrew Campagna. He is a nurse in the supervised injection site at Ottawa Inner City Health. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Andrew took on the role of setting up the isolation unit for the homeless. Andrew’s understanding of the culture and needs of the homeless helped build this unit where clients felt safe, respected and welcomed. Andrew has a wonderful ability to connect with his clients. He has helped many of them become healthier and better equipped to work towards their life goals after a stay in pandemic isolation. He has been a valuable key to the success of the self-isolation unit which has admitted over 620 different people since the beginning of the pandemic.

 
From Andrew:
 
“It quickly became apparent in the early stages of Covid that we needed to set up an isolation program for the homeless. I stepped in and took the lead. We had everything set up in less than 7 days. Our primary challenge was to create a self-isolation unit that appealed to people who had been previously institutionalized or incarcerated. Self-isolation is voluntary. I knew the importance of making sure people felt like they had choices while still enticing them to stay isolated for the full 14 days. My goal continues to be engagement and encouragement for good decisions, and of course without question, keeping our people and city safe.”

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Louise Beaudoin.  She is a Nurse Manager with Ottawa Inner City Health who has led the development of services to respond to COVID in the homeless community.  In addition to setting up the Isolation Unit she has also led the development of the testing and vaccination programs for Shepherds of Good Hope.

There are many layers to this pandemic.  For Louise, it has been grueling. She has worked tremendously hard throughout this pandemic.  She is stretched well beyond her status quo.  Learning and implementing new systems overnight coupled with an already busy schedule, pivoting with so many unknowns and managing crisis after crisis, it has been non-stop.  Thank you for keeping our vulnerable citizens safe Louise.

From Louise:

“It’s been a roller coaster ride, so many ups and downs, we were already battling the opiate crisis when Covid was added to the mix.  It’s been an exhaustive journey, but we will keep working to keep our community safe.”

 

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

 

This is Halima Yusef.  She works as a client care worker for The Targeted Emergency Diversion Program (TED).  She has played a key role in this critical health care service embedded in the Temporary Enhanced Shelter Program (TESP) operated by the Shepherd’s of Good Hope. The TED program consists of two important services. The first being 24-hour monitoring for homeless people under the influence of drugs and alcohol which allows them to safely detox in the community rather than a hospital ER. The second service entails accessible treatment and caring for health issues. This includes nursing, mental health services, intensive case management, peer support for appointments, nurse practitioners, psychiatry, access to an internist and medical monitoring.

From Halima:

“My patience and understanding about chronic illness and addiction helped me understand about caring for clients living with severe mental health and overwhelming substance use. From the beginning of this pandemic, I saw first-hand how our client’s worlds drastically changed due to new guidelines.  My position meant supporting them as they learned how to cooperate and live with the new Covid-19 measures put in place to keep them safe. Everyone thinks I have lots of patience… I guess I do.  It’s what keeps me going.”

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

 

This is Linda Ferguson.   She has been working at The Ottawa Hospital for one year – on the frontline.

Linda’s thoughts…

“I started working at the Ottawa Hospital right at the beginning of the pandemic. There were a lot of unknowns. Scary news was coming from all over the world. The abrupt changes to our daily lives changed everything for everyone. Along with many others, my regular routine of going to the gym became at home workouts, going out for a meal became trying a new recipe at home, and celebrating birthdays became virtual zoom calls. 

Throughout the past year I have definitely felt “pandemic fatigue”. Some days are worse than others, especially when I don’t have any events or vacations to look forward to but I’ve found new hobbies like sewing to keep me busy. 

I want to thank TOH for all they have been doing to keep us safe. Being able to help others as a health care professional has kept me going this past year. I am surrounded by so many strong coworkers, family, and friends, even if our interactions of late have been virtual. I feel very fortunate to have received my 1st dose of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine. This year has affected everyone in so many different ways. It’s important to support each other. I look forward to a time where we can all safely gather and resume the activities that bring us joy.”

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Katie Mark. She is the Charge Technologist of the EORLA Covid lab. She has been with EORLA for 4 years and in the Covid Lab since its creation.
 
For over a year now, daily we anxiously wait for the announcement of our Covid numbers. Swabs from every testing site across our city are brought to Katie’s group at the Ottawa Hospital General Campus. Imagine, a year ago, doing 20 tests a day was a big number and now today, they are reaching record numbers, closing in on 5000/day. Katie represents all the dedicated lab workers that reveal our Covid reality every day. Their intricate role is crucial in the pandemic fight. Thank you to all the hard-working staff behind the scenes running the 24/7 testing facility in Ottawa.
 
From Katie:
“In the first six months of the pandemic, we brought in eight testing instruments and about 90 new staff. My job has been getting all these instruments, test methods and staff up and running. Just to put it in perspective, in normal times bringing in one new instrument takes months and months of planning. As we often say, we have been building a plane while flying it.
(Just a little background – EORLA is the Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association. We do the laboratory testing for TOH, as well as 15 other hospitals in Eastern Ontario. We do the Covid testing for all these hospitals, most of the assessment centers and many of the Longterm Care facilities in Ottawa.)
I remember our first pandemic planning meeting early last year. Our lead microbiologist handed us an article about a lab in Northern Italy that was processing 900 tests a day. If the worst happened and Covid became a pandemic, the same could be expected of us. The room was silent as we sat in disbelief. Our lab had seven employees. During a busy flu season, we might do 900 specimens in a week. A little over one year later, we are processing over 4800 tests per day. I still have that article in my desk so I can remember how much we have accomplished in one year.
The lab has always been a black box. Specimens go in, results go out. Magic. However, because of Covid, suddenly labs are visible. Until vaccines were available, testing was one of the only tools to fight this and continues to be important. I am so proud every time I see laboratory technologists and technicians mentioned in the news or on social media. My team puts their hearts and souls into what they do every day. They have kept an optimistic and positive outlook through everything. I honestly think that Ottawa would have been hit much harder if it were not for the hard work of these incredible people.
On the personal side, the last year has been a bit of a blur of long hours and stress. I am not unique in this – I think all health care workers feel similar. I am so lucky to have an amazing and supportive family – my two kids and husband have been incredible. They have been my one constant during the upheaval happening in the world and remind me what I am fighting for (and to stop and eat occasionally). Doing what I can to keep my family safe keeps me going. My dad has a lung condition, and my grandfather is in a long term care facility. Every minute of hard work will be worth it when I get to hug them again.”

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Dr. Justin Maloney, an Emergency Physician for more than 40 years at the Ottawa Hospital where he has been a leader in Emergency Preparedness/Disaster planning. Dr. Maloney played a leadership role in successful citizen advocacy campaigns to bring a 911 emergency telephone system (Action 911) and advanced training for our paramedics (Action Paramedic) to Ottawa. He then served as Medical Director of the paramedic service for 20 years.

Justin is also the Medical Director for the ACT Foundation.  To date, ACT has taught CPR to 4.6 million high school students across Canada. Dr. Maloney and ACT Foundation CEO, Sandra Clarke, were recognized by the Governor General who awarded them Meritorious Service Cross medals in 2017.

After SARS, COVID 19 was not the first pandemic “dance” for the Ottawa Hospital Emergency or ICU physicians. Rigid infection control was familiar, but treatment approaches were changing every day. Ottawa Hospital resources supported community care and our resuscitation physicians brought world-class care to the patient’s bedside.

A few months ago, I received an unforgettable phone call from Gail.  She said, I have good news and bad news…

In the midst of this COVID 19 pandemic, Justin was suddenly diagnosed with aggressive cancer, non-covid related.  He was admitted to the Ottawa Hospital as a patient for five-plus weeks – finding himself on the other side of hospital care where he has been a dedicated critical care physician for decades.

A bright light in the darkness came when, after 24 years of life together, Justin proposed to his common-law spouse, Gail, a few days following his diagnosis.  They were married at a private ceremony a week before Justin was admitted to hospital.  I was honoured to photograph their special day (they briefly took me out of wedding photography retirement).

With strict, COVID visiting restrictions, Gail, was designated as an ‘essential visitor’ and was able to visit Dr. Maloney in hospital every day. As Justin recovered, Gail would help him with his supper each evening. When she once tasted the hospital brown meat with the brown sauce, they joked it was the most romantic dinner they had shared since getting married!

Dr. Maloney has treated many cancer patients in Emergency but as he “toured” through the amazing cancer care technology and expertise at the Ottawa Hospital as a patient, he realized this was different. He was being provided with what would be million-dollar care anywhere else in the world.

Gail brought her career skills as a communications and event specialist to Justin’s discharge planning and care at home, managing a multitude of physical and logistical details.  They are now happily home together where his care and recovery continue. He participates in virtual departmental meetings and strategy sessions each week.  Clearly, there’s no stopping Justin!

From Justin…

“I am very grateful for the world-class care at the Ottawa Hospital and to be at home with Gail sharing more romantic dinners.”

Thank you, Justin, for your continued dedication and hard work to our community’s healthcare.  We stand beside you in your fight, as you have stood beside so many others.

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Hung Tan.  He is the Manager of Emergency Management at the Ottawa Hospital.

From critical infrastructure failures caused by severe weather events such as the Tornado in 2018 to mass casualty events such as the Westboro Accident in 2019, Hung oversees Emergency Management’s core mandate which is to prepare the hospital to support the continuity of services and care for friends, family, and the community. Without a doubt, Covid has tested his resiliency, the resiliency of the health care system, and our community at large. When I thanked Hung for his work, he quickly deflected the gratitude towards everyone he works with.  Hung is a true leader.

 

Words from Hung…

“I am honored to work with extraordinary colleagues, specialists, and external partners as we galvanize to provide exceptional care for our community. I remember back in December 2019, tracking reports of a novel virus in Wuhan. By the end of January, TOH had escalated into an enhanced operational posture.  We started by initiating measures to support the planning and coordination of response tactics.  In the early days, trying to determine and extrapolate the severity, scope, and impact with the information available was challenging. It quickly became evident that COVID would turn into a global crisis and challenge every aspect of our lives. 

Our early efforts were focused on building the infrastructure to rapidly test and identify community spread.  Faced with logistical shortages in PPE, lab testing capacity, and human resources, a consortium of partners pulled together and found a way to open one of the many assessment and care clinics in the Ottawa area.  Tragically as the pandemic took hold in our community, our most vulnerable in LTC, retirement and congregant living were severely impacted. My heart sank to a low I never imagined possible.  Even in the darkest hours, strike teams were deployed to support our loved ones. I’m so thankful and proud of all of the caregivers, health professionals, and support staff who courageously forged on relentlessly.

Recognizing that COVID was far from over, building system capacity was key to supporting ongoing response tactics.  Once again, we witnessed amazing collaboration and leadership to build Alternative Level of Care capacity in our community, as well as the construction of a 40-bed care facility called the Offload Medicine Transition Unit at TOH Civic Campus… all in a miraculous 10 weeks.

Finally, the news with a glimmer of hope came in December as details arrived of the possibility of a vaccine.  This quickly became the highest priority for us to help combat the fight against COVID.  A team was quickly assembled. It wasn’t hard to see the excitement in everyone as we started to plan and execute the opening of one of the first vaccination clinics in the nation.  This for me symbolized a renewed hope that we could return to a time where masks and social distancing are a distant memory.  It’s been quite the year.  I’m proud to play a small part in supporting the fight against COVID, and I am grateful for all the support from my family, team, colleagues and leaders.

Thank you to everyone working in the Emergency Management at The Ottawa Hospital.  Thank you.

olivia groninger Planet Hope Series Part 2

Covid Notes

After our morning break, some nurses gathered with management to try to develop a way that could increase the 32 bed ICU capacity to one that will care for 96 patients. Triple the capacity with the same amount of critical care trained staff.

Fast forward two hours and I am admitting the first confirmed COVID positive patient. The patient was on a stretcher that was escorted by two security guards, a nurse in full PPE, followed by housekeeping cleaning the hall behind them. This just got real, COVID-19 is here.

Since caring for a patient with COVID-19, I have made the decision to fully isolate myself from family and friends, limiting interactions to phone calls and FaceTime. I have started to receive groceries from a food subscription service so the only time I will leave my house is to go to work.

An article I read online from an unknown nurse said, “I think we’re going to bend really, really hard, but we aren’t going to break”.

It perfectly describes my feelings.  We will get through this….. we have to.

MARCH 13, 2021

PLANET HOPE SERIES 

PART 2

ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Olivia Groniger.  She has been an ICU Registered Nurse at the Ottawa Hospital for 7 years.

Today (a year to the day our city went into lockdown), Olivia is headed to North Caribou Lake First Nation as part of Operation Remote Immunity.  She said, “this is a way I can help and do something more.”

I had tears in my eyes when she said this.  She has done so much already.

Olivia, you are selfless, committed, passionate and respected.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Olivia was part of the team that looked after the first COVID-19 admission in the ICU.  She kept a daily journal, this was her first entry.

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng.  He is a Critical Care / Palliative Care Physician at the Ottawa Hospital.  He’s also a scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Montfort’s Institut du savoir. He has a podcast called Solving Healthcare.  He is a husband and a father of three beautiful children.

Dr. K is the founder of Resource Optimization Network and he is on a mission to transform healthcare in Canada. On his podcast, he speaks to doctors, nurses, administrators, patients and their families because inefficiencies, overwork and overcrowding affects us all.  He believes it is time for a better healthcare system that is more cost effective, inclusive and dignified.

On March 11, 2020, Dr. Kyeremanteng was working and became part of the team that cared for the first ICU Covid patient at The Ottawa Hospital.

He believes we should have some confidence that we can handle this. We have excellent public health. We can overcome this. We can manage this.  As long as we’re listening to our public health authorities, doing the social and physical isolation, we can do this.

“You can get caught up with, ‘What if this happens?’ or, ‘What if that happens?’ But I tell you, from a guy that makes a living being able to focus in the present and dealing with what’s in front of you, there’s not much value…. You control what you can control and just hope for the best.”

DR. KWADWO KYEREMANTENG, CRITICAL CARE DR. OTTAWA HOSPITAL planet hope part 2

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Vanessa Tuer. She has been a Radiation Therapist at the Ottawa Hospital for 2 years.  Her positive energy is contagious.  Vanessa continues to be the bright light in her patient’s dark world as they navigate through cancer treatment during a pandemic.

“This has been a challenging year for everyone, but I think that it has been an opportunity for us to discover how strong we are capable of being.

The journey of a cancer patient can be scary enough without having the added weight of a global pandemic on top of it. In a world full of uncertainty and fear I hope that patients can always rely on their radiation therapists to greet them with a positive attitude and a comforting presence.

Now more than ever we all need to remember that we are human and that we’re all fighting this fight together.”

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

 
This is Michaela Schreiter. She is the Media Relations Officer at The Ottawa Hospital. Imagine how busy she has been during Covid-19… keeping up with the high demand for constant communication and information coming directly from the hospital.
 
Behind the scenes, Michaela has had to ensure the public, as well as patients and staff, have up-to-date information needed to stay as safe as possible during this pandemic. With the constantly changing information and learning about this illness and the situation on a day-to-day basis, she has had to remain flexible and adapt as quickly as possible. Flexibility is definitely our new motto.
 
“The media demand for our hospital, and all health-care institutions, has never been greater. The sheer volume of media interviews and requests we’ve had to manage has been overwhelming at times. It’s important to ensure that our spokespeople have the information they need to inform the public so that they feel prepared to represent the hospital in front of our community.
 
At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure that the public has confidence in the hospital to provide world-class care for everyone who needs it. We want them to know that if they need to come to the hospital (and we hope that they don’t need to), they are in excellent hands, no matter the situation. I like to think they know that”, she said with a beautiful smile.
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