Planet Hope

 

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES   

PART 2  –  ONE YEAR LATER 

PANDEMIC HEROES

 

 

Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes
PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This is Alex Kuo.  He leads The Ottawa Hospital Pharmacy Team.  In December 2020, he worked with IMS to establish TOH’s first Covid vaccination clinic (first of two established in Ontario).  Alex represents TOH pharmacy in regional and provincial groups on medication management for the treatment of COVID patients.

From Alex:

Leading the TOH pharmacy team is a fulfilling role.  In the face of a pandemic, seeing pharmacy staff work tirelessly and remain dedicated has been inspiring and makes me proud to lead this department.  The entire pharmacy team has significantly contributed to the care of TOH patients and the Ottawa community this past year by being the medication experts and educator to both patients and health care professionals while supporting the COVID vaccination clinic by preparing vaccine doses.  I am grateful to all pharmacy professionals for their ongoing commitment. 

Equally important, words cannot express my gratitude for my family whom have provided the necessary support to help me remain balanced throughout this journey to regain our lives to normalcy.”

PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
This is Coco Donati.  She is a nurse at the Almonte General Hospital.  Shortly after starting her nursing career, she found herself in the middle of a pandemic.  Her learning curve has been steep, filled with long and stressful days, but Coco remains positive and thankful to be able to help others.
 

“I became a nurse because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, helping when they may be at their most vulnerable. It is an honour to care for people. I learn from my patients every day about humility, kindness, patience and care. Throughout Covid-19, we have all shared the struggles and tribulations associated with this unprecedented time. Anxiety and stress have surrounded the many unknowns. There are undeniable worries healthcare workers wrestle with. Like the terrifying feeling of being short-staffed and knowing it affects your ability to provide the best patient care. Being exhausted beyond imagination because you or your colleagues work overtime to try to help the team. Or the horrible guilt surrounding taking a day off.

Through it all, I work amongst the kindest, most caring and compassionate nurses. They are my second family, and I know I would never make it through my shifts without them.

I am hoping that someday soon, we will reach a point where we can look back at this time in our history and remember how our communities pulled together for the greater good. Until then, I yearn for the moment where I can hug my mom, my dad and grandmother again.  I am also anxiously waiting for when my sister can travel back to Canada for a visit.”

Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes
Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes
Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes
PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
This is Salmaan Kanji. He is the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at The Ottawa Hospital. He has been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic.
 
From Salmann:
 
“I moved to Ottawa in 2002 to become the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Critical Care and have been working in the ICU ever since. I spend 50% of my time as an independent researcher with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and my research programs aim to improve the efficacy and safety of medication therapy for critically ill patients. During the pandemic, I was a member of the Ontario COVID-19 ICU Drug Shortage Task Force and led a team to develop provincial guidelines for dealing with drug shortages in the ICU and implementing drug and resource conservation strategies.
 
In the ICU I work as part of a multidisciplinary team caring for the sickest patients in the hospital. At times during this pandemic, this became very stressful and we rely on our community in the Ottawa area for prevention as the first line of defense, not just for our patients but for us too.”
 
#covidportraits #pandemicheroes
PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes

 

This is Michael (“Mike”) Baine.  He was the Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services for the Ottawa Catholic School Board (retired) and currently an Education Consultant/Programs for Vulnerable and At Risk Children and Youth.  He is a community leader and a tireless supporter of many causes.  Mike is an avid hiker and knows the importance of staying active for good health, more so now than ever.

Last Sunday, emotionally charged and overcome with joy, Mike crossed the finish line for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend’s virtual half-marathon.  To walk or run this distance is a daunting challenge for most. For Mike, who has run countless marathons and climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro, this was the ultra-marathon of his life.  He was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in 2020. His training, determination, passion and commitment never waned and despite his own incurable cancer spreading, he continues his fight and quest to help others.

From Mike:

Only a few weeks into the pandemic and while training for a trip to Tanzania to summit Mt Kilimanjaro, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes, femur and pelvis. Surgeries, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and other medical procedures followed (125 appointments in last 12 months).  Thankfully, my great medical team were able to manage the cancer symptoms and halt the spread. I was able to continue my active training.

On May 16, 2021, exactly 1 year after my “Latest Adventure” began, I completed the Tamarack Race Weekend half marathon with the aid of hiking poles.  I ended the marathon pushing my granddaughter in her stroller. I have done almost every Race Weekend since 1978… but none were like this one. Along with my family, hundreds of friends and supporters (many I didn’t know) lined the empty streets on Sunday morning, supporting and celebrating my story… my adventure. It was an incredible day filled with joy and hope.  The atmosphere was palpable

For my adventure, I asked a few of my friends to consider donating to help cancer patient care at the Ottawa Hospital Caner Centre.  My ask spiralled through my friend’s network and into the media and parlayed into over $67,000 in donations to help patients struggling medically and emotionally with cancer.  I am still trying to process all this.  My heart is full of love and appreciation.

I begin a new treatment this week. My cancer has spread.  I remain hopeful I will climb Kilimanjaro next year.”

If you would like to  make a donation in Mike’s name, you can go to: https://raceroster.com/events/2021/34303/tamarack-ottawa-virtual-race-weekend-2021/pledge/participant/11405566

Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes
Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes

Photo by Alicia Hall

PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
This is Rabia Ishaq. She is a Registered Advanced Practice Nurse with over 13 years of experience in critical care and nursing leadership. In regular times Rabia manages the Corporate Endoscopy Program at TOH but over the pandemic, Rabia has been helping manage The Ottawa Hospital Vaccination clinic that has administered well over 75,000 COVID-19 vaccines since December 15th in our city.
 
From Rabia:
 
“Managing the vaccination clinics brings unique challenges but also great opportunities to care for our community. It is an incredible example of partnership between various hospital departments, both clinical and non-clinical as well as our partners at Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa. It feels great to be able to make a difference for so many people that live in our city.”
Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes
Nurses week planet hope photography series highlighting pandemic heroes

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Cheryl Symington.  She is a Registered Nurse and the Care Facilitator at the Ottawa Hospital Covid Vaccine Clinic.  She has been a nurse for 31 years. 

Nurses’ Week is celebrated every year from May 6 to May 12 – allowing us the chance to shine the spotlight on the incredible nurses across the country and around the world that have devoted their lives to the betterment of the lives of others.  They are brave, strong, tolerant compassionate and understanding.  They are everyday heroes.  Thank you to every nurse for all that you do for us.

From Cheryl:

“Covid has made the year, for me, at The Ottawa Hospital, a very busy one – more so than usual. From the very beginning of the pandemic, while working in the Civic Emergency Department as a Care Facilitator, I worked alongside the ED leadership team to create a safe working environment for all staff. I assisted with the development of new ED Covid related processes and also assisted with the education of staff on newly created Covid processes and proper PPE measures.

Currently, I am working as a Care Facilitator in the Covid Vaccine Clinic. My primary role is ensuring the daily operational flow of the clinic as well as ensuring safe administration of vaccines to eligible clients.

It has been extremely rewarding to be involved in helping my colleagues and our community. It has been a humbling experience to be able to provide front-line support throughout this global pandemic.”

PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
This is Audrey Poulin. She is the Pharmacy Team Leader at The Ottawa Hospital. She has been working tirelessly during the pandemic as a frontline worker.
 
From Audrey:
 
“I am extremely proud and honored to have been selected to represent TOH Pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. I feel rewarded, it has been and will continue to be a memorable journey, a monumental and emotional moment for all of us. I am personally grateful to work with a marvelous team like ours, pharmacy. I was given the greatest opportunity to learn, demonstrate, teach, outgrow my abilities, skills, and expertise.
 
Protect Yourself and Those Around You
 
⭐Thank you TOH Pharmacy⭐”
 
 
Planet hope Series Audrey Poulin Pharmacy Lead at The Ottawa Hospital
amy-lynn howson the singing nurse for planet hope canada
PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
 
This is Samantha Wright. She is the Interim Pharmacy Operations Manager at The Ottawa Hospital. Before the first vaccine dose could be administered in December 2020, Samantha, with the help of the Pharmacy team, had to, in a very short amount of time, create, test and time a viable system to ensure each vaccine dose within the region was distributed and prepared in a timely fashion without wastage. Since then, Samantha and the Pharmacy team have been working behind the scenes to ensure the timely deployment and preparation of vaccines.
 
From Samantha:
 
“This past year has taught me that everything around me is temporary. Our lives revolved around work, society, social gathering and traveling when life as we knew it drastically changed. I had to learn to live without any of it. Through this I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life, like hugging my grandparents, shaking someone’s hand and spending time with my family. It has shown me that in the end, it’s your own home, your family and the community that you need to keep safe, therefore we all have to do our part. I have had the privilege to work alongside all front-line health care professionals who have worked tirelessly over the last year to provide exceptional and compassionate care during this difficult time. Their devotion is in a class of its own.”
 
 
AMY-LYNN HOWSON THE SINGING NURSE FOR PLANET HOPE CANADA AT THE OTTAWA HOSPITAL
amy-lynn howson the singing nurse for planet hope canada

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Amy-Lynn Howson. She is a nurse working in the ICU at The Ottawa Hospital. She is also known as “The Singing Nurse” who has recently been on our feeds and on the airways around the world. All because of her special act of kindness and compassion for a patient suffering from Covid. We all need a good story these days… this is definitely one.

From Amy-Lynn:

“You Are Not Alone is a song I wrote over 3 years ago when several of my friends were battling different kinds of tragedy in their lives, all at the same time. All I could offer was a prayer and the assurance that I was there for them in their pain. As a songwriter and a nurse, this song came to me. I was able to share it with them from a place of wanting to help, with the hopes it could help heal the hurt they were feeling. It also helped my own heart because I know all too well how the struggles and pain can feel like in “wilderness”. A few kind souls walked with me through my own dark seasons, and for that, I would not be where I am today.

Back in January, this special song awakened in me when I saw the devastating stats regarding the toll COVID-19 was taking on Canadians, from health and finances to mental health; I knew in my heart it was time to let people know that they were not alone. So, on April 23 during a night shift in the ICU amidst the third wave of COVID-19, I sang You Are Not Alone for one of many patients battling COVID-19. A co-worker was moved and asked if she could share the video she took with a few other nurses. Then, they all asked to make it “shareable” on Facebook – which led to it going “viral” on numerous platforms! When I was redeployed to help in the ICU from my department of Endoscopy, I saw patients who were unable to have regular family visitors. It broke my heart. I thought, “Well, I am already in the door, I am allowed to be here. How can I help them know they are not forgotten? I know… I can sing!”

The video and the story of “The Singing Nurse” has now been shared in live interviews and online news outlets across Canada, USA, India, Argentina, and Brazil. What has been the most touching part, however, are the personal messages and comments from people reaching out to let me know how it helped them, made them shed tears they needed to cry, and mostly, gave them some comfort and hope.

This song is no longer just about me. It is simply a key used to unlock something bigger, a spark needed to ignite a flame. I am excited to see how music and medicine can work together to bring comfort and healing to patients here in Ottawa and across the world.”

Amy-Lyn needs our help to raise money with her song… here’s how we can all help keep this story and song ignited!

She has partnered with Global Rising Song, an online songwriters’ competition, to raise votes and donate 100% of funds raised to The Ottawa Hospital COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Voting is open until May 9, 2021 @ 10pm EST. Thank you for considering giving a generous vote for this cause (contributions start at $1).

Vote here: https://www.globalrisingsong.com/

 

Planet Hope Janet Ramsay Retired nurse coming out of retirement as a screener for Covid
PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
 
This is Nick Dungate. He is a COVID-19 test administrator. Nick has worked for The Ottawa Hospital since August of 2020 (when the drive-thru opened). Before that, he was part of the cleaning team at the Brewer Assessment Center since the start of the pandemic.
 
From Nick:
 
“Working on the “frontline” of the pandemic has been… interesting. Long stories (plural) short, it’s never a dull moment at the drive-thru clinic.
 
TOH has given me the opportunity to work with some amazing people and lend a hand within my city during this unprecedented time.
 
About 75% of the testers at the drive-thru testing site are recently graduated paramedic/nursing students or currently enrolled in a similar program. The other 25% are retired, or current nurses.
 
We’ve all come to terms with the fact we didn’t make the cut for Christmas cards last year, this year, or probably next year… but hey. I think I speak for all of us when I say, we’re just happy to help. No matter how small the contribution may be.
 
It’s a team effort from the very top of TOH to the security company and guards that have helped us more times than I can mention. It is pretty impressive working as a single unit with a similar goal in mind and seeing what we can accomplish.”
 
 
PLANET HOPE SERIES
PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER
Pandemic Heroes
 
This is Janet Ramsay. She is a retired registered nurse. She came out of retirement to work at the Ottawa Hospital Covid testing site as an administrator and screener.
 
From Janet:
 
“I worked at The Ottawa Hospital General Campus full time as an RN for 27 years in the Nephrology program, mainly in Hemodialysis. For the 3 years before retiring in 2016, I was Care Facilitator of the Hemodialysis Unit. I loved my nursing years at TOH and not only found them personally rewarding but embraced the values and vision of the hospital. It has been my privilege since the fall of 2020 to rejoin TOH during this pandemic. It is a time of uncertainty and anxiety for many and I am happy to help our community.”
Planet Hope Janet Ramsay Retired nurse coming out of retirement as a screener for Covid

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

Magic happened on Saturday in a church parking lot in Ottawa.

Getting a Covid-19 vaccine in our city has been challenging for many.

Through determination, dedication and organization, The Rideau Family Health Team created a vaccine opportunity for their eligible patients.

With strict Covid protocols in place, only a limited number of patients can be seen in their clinic each day.  Receiving 500 doses of AstraZeneca, the Rideau FHT had to quickly find a solution to get them into the arms of their patients.  Last fall, they ran a drive-thru clinic for the flu vaccine, so they used that know-how and arranged everything for this vaccine clinic in mere days. The Metropolitan Church was gracious again, giving them ample space in their parking lot. They put a call out to their eligible patients and created a Covid vaccine drive-thru clinic that was brilliant, fast, fun and bountiful.

13 doctors, 7 nurses, 5 MOA’s, 1 pharmacist and 15 family and friend volunteers galvanized to make this happen. Close to 500 people were able to get their first AstraZeneca shot.

The beautiful sunny day was filled with laughter, gratitude and a sense of hope for patients who were having difficulty finding a vaccine in Ottawa.

Every shot is a life saved.

Thank you to this team of health care workers and volunteers – you are all pandemic heroes.

Rideau Family Heath Team doing a drive-thru vaccine clinic in Ottawa
Rideau Family Heath Team doing a drive-thru vaccine clinic in Ottawa
Rideau Family Heath Team doing a drive-thru vaccine clinic in Ottawa

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

Cameron Love is the President & CEO of The Ottawa Hospital. He has worked at the hospital for over 20 years, but has taken on the top leadership position this past June, at an unprecedented time during the pandemic. The hospital has played a critical role in the response to COVID-19 both within it walls and within the community. Under his leadership, the hospital began vaccinating our community as one of the first two hospital based vaccination clinics across the province in December. This past week, the vaccination of TOH staff and physicians reached a milestone – all healthcare workers at the hospital who wished to receive their first dose of the vaccine had an opportunity to do so. Cameron was one of the last staff members to receive the vaccine having successfully shepherded the hospital and all of its staff through this incredible phase and milestone in the fight against COVID-19.

cameron love CEO ottawa hospital receives vaccination
From Cameron:
“Becoming the President & CEO of TOH in the middle of a pandemic has been both challenging and very rewarding for me personally. Just like everyone else, I had to navigate the changes and impacts of COVID-19 on my personal home life and also adjust to a new role at work. But even though there were challenges along the way, I found great support and motivation through the strength of the people around me, whether it be at home with the support of my wife, Cheryl and my family or at work through the amazing dedication of my senior management team and the front line staff and physicians. I think that this pandemic has truly amplified for me the culture we have at TOH that is focused on living our values, and fulfilling our vision of treating everyone like a loved one, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be – and that kind of care and kindness is truly priceless.”

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Lisa Caissie.  She is a diagnostic imaging technologist and radiation therapist at the Ottawa Hospital. When Covid-19 hit last March, the fear of the unknown was palpable for everyone. Lisa knows through her extensive experience, the importance of reassuring a patient throughout their cancer journey and even more so, during a pandemic.

From Lisa:

“It has been important to maintain crucial services for our patients while making them also feel safe and comfortable throughout Covid-19. Having radiation treatment can require daily visits for a period of 5-6-7 weeks depending on the type of cancer being treated.  Our patients have compromised immune systems, so it is vital to keep our area safe. The hospital has implemented a good screening system for all staff and patients. We treat up to 5000 patients a year.

I have to say the best part of my day is being able to put my patients at ease and make them laugh. It is not easy to do when you are wearing a surgical mask and eye shields all day. For myself, the key to maintaining high-quality care during these difficult times has been to check in with myself, my family, my coworkers, my patients and support each other through it all.  I’m grateful for the amazing team of professionals that I get to work.”

 

PLANET HOPE SERIES

PART 2 – ONE YEAR LATER

Pandemic Heroes

This is Tim Orton. He is a husband, father of two, and a retired firefighter. After 37 years on the job and mere months after his promotion to Platoon Chief, Tim was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. Tim had successfully gone through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, but unfortunately, a year later, cancer has returned.

Compared to the general population, firefighters have an increased risk of cancer and other serious illnesses, partly because of their exposure to hazardous chemicals from fire and smoke. They risk their lives for ours every day, and now Tim is in for the fight of his life. A fight that has been even more difficult during COVID-19.

 

 

 

From Tim:
“Fighting cancer is like fighting fires—you need a team of great people behind you for the best outcome, and I have been fortunate to be a part of one of the best teams with Ottawa Fire Services. I now have another amazing team, the medical professionals from The Ottawa Hospital, behind me. They’re giving me the same care during COVID as they did before COVID, all while also working tirelessly to help eradicate COVID in our city. A group of people can be much more powerful than an individual, and I feel lucky to have such a great group supporting me.”

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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