May 28 Town Hall Q&A: Part Two
If you missed the Thursday, May 28 PHC All-Staff Town Hall, here’s Part Two of the Q&As which has answers to most, but not all, of the questions which we didn’t have time to address during the session.
If you missed it, you can watch the Town Hall here.
- As a unit clerk I use my glasses instead of goggles. Is that enough in nursing stations or in hallways?
- No, regular prescription eyeglasses are not considered to be eye protection.
- Do allied health care professionals like OT, PT and social workers need goggles in hallways, clinical settings or patient rooms?
- Allied health care professionals need to wear masks and eye protection for patient care as per the PPE recommendations. The recommendations include extended use – wearing the same mask and eye protection between patient rooms and in the common clinical spaces.
- Why is it necessary to use the waist tie with isolation yellow gowns? Does that make a difference?
- Yes, it makes a difference. The gown is intended to protect the clothing of health care providers, which will then prevent the transfer of microorganisms and bodily fluids from a patient in isolation. When the waist tie is not done up, the gown does not provide adequate coverage for the intended protection.
- In long-term care, why would visitors need to wear goggles?
- The eyes, nose and mouth are all potential entry points for the COVID virus. We ask visitors to wear a mask as a barrier to reduce the spread of their own respiratory droplets. Because we are not asking our residents to wear masks, though, that still leaves visitors at risk of exposure through their eyes. The goggles are required to ensure the visitor is fully protected.
- I’m fit and healthy, why do I need to wear a mask and goggles in the hospital? I make deliveries to the wards, not provide care to patients.
- Anyone who cannot guarantee that they will be able to maintain physical distancing during the course of their duties is required to wear the personal protective equipment as set out in the PPE Recommendations. As traffic in our sites is increasing, the ability to maintain that separation is becoming more difficult, so wearing the appropriate PPE will allow everyone to proceed with their work as required.
- If face coverings reduce risk why are we not asking patients to wear a face covering or giving them the rejected masks that have been pulled from our unit?
- We do require, whenever possible, that patients who are known COVID positive or under investigation for COVID wear a face covering when moving through hallways; however, it is not reasonable to require these patients, who may be experiencing respiratory difficulty, to wear a mask when they are in their designated bed. Health care workers should already be wearing full PPE in their rooms so it would not meaningfully add any protection.
- How will St. Paul’s meet the new standard of cleaning in ambulatory clinics? A full cleaning twice daily plus touchdown spots between patients?
- Decision-making around continuation of enhanced cleaning by Crothall is underway. As part of our recovery efforts we are also working to identify what cleaning is the responsibility of members of the health care team.
- Thank you very much for the signage in the elevators at SPH. I'm wondering if you could clarify it a little more so there is less confusion: What is the max capacity recommended if there is a mix of people in masks and some not in masks?
- Two people can be in an elevator without a mask as they are able to maintain 2 meters distance. If there are more than two people in an elevator then everyone must wear a mask. Everyone is reminded to think ahead if they use the elevator to go on break –you should keep your mask and eye protection on when you leave your unit/area and doff only when the protection is appropriate to remove (e.g. in the cafeteria, outside the building).
- What are the plans for staff going back regarding elevators and possible interaction with sick patients?
- Sick patients will be transported in the wheeled elevators. They will be wearing a mask unless their condition does not allow. Any staff accompanying these patients will be wearing their mask and eye protection. All other staff, unless they are transporting wheeled equipment, are required to use the regular elevators.
- How long will PHC support working from home?
- This pandemic has given us a chance to look at what the new normal might look like and we have heard that flexibility is important to our staff. While we are hoping to transition our staff to come back to the office for some of their time, we also welcome the opportunity for staff to continue to have the flexibility to work remotely, Further communications will be coming out with regard to the next phase of working remotely.
- It would be great to know the organization's redeployment plan. We have lots of expertise that are willing to step up and help but not sure where to go.
- PHC’s non-clinical redeployment centre, which was created and implemented to support COVID is now closed. Most redeployed employees have returned to their pre-COVID work and a few continue to prepare for a possible second wave of COVID. External / convergent volunteers are managed by PHC’s Volunteer Resources Department.
- Vacations are starting - can we get clear directions for staff travelling on self isolation? If they are travelling can we ask where they are going? Are they expected to self isolate upon return without pay?
While you still can’t travel to another country (including the U.S.), you can travel within Canada with the exception of the Maritimes and any of the territories as their borders are still closed. The expectation is that you will ensure you are practicing physical distancing and all of the basic infection and prevention controls, but there is no need to self-isolate for 14 days if you visit another province. We can and should ask where staff are travelling to ensure it is within Canada only.
While we don’t have to self-isolate if we go outside the province, it is still recommended that we don’t travel if we don’t need to. This is going to come down to personal decisions and whether you can ensure you’ve done everything you can to mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID.
Of course, the expectation remains that if you are sick, you will stay home.
- So many of our social gatherings revolve around food and are such an important part of team connection and engagement - ie potlucks, afternoon tea, celebrations. What can we do to continue to celebrate, connect and engage with staff without this integral part of our work culture?
Mission and Engagement are looking at ways to support ongoing recognition and celebrations, without breaching the precautions relating to COVID. We will be doing some staff recognition using 'virtual' platforms, and will also share some materials (eg long service recognition certificates) with site leaders so they can do smaller in-person (physically distanced) 'gatherings' as desired. But we simply can't sanction larger gatherings or shared food at this time.
Watch for more information and creative ideas for physically distanced celebrations in upcoming staff bulletins.
- We jerry-rigged a lot of negative pressure rooms quickly, often at the expense of patient access to natural light -- can we go-back and look at ways of improving them? In the ICU it really helps to prevent delirium and shorten the length of stay.
- We recognize that natural light is important. For environmental changes, the environmental working group can review this specific concern and determine if any work can be done, and in what time frame. There are many competing priorities for environmental changes. Please discuss with the leader in your area so we can reassess the specific changes required.
- When booking outpatients from other provinces, ie Yukon, for in person testing do they need to isolate for two weeks here prior to testing? Yukon requires that they self isolate for two weeks upon return.
- There is no requirement that persons coming in from other provinces require testing. The testing will be done based on the testing guidelines in the April 23, 2020 physicians update. Self isolation for a defined period of time prior to testing is not indicated.
- We need more support for those working outside St. Paul's. For example there is a disconnect between those working at CST and those working at St. Paul’s. We don't feel like we are part of PHC, how can this be mitigated?
We are not a perfect organization - we are a diverse one with many priorities - we are one team and we are very good at finding new ways to connect and advance our work.
We recognize it is difficult to work remotely and we have done a lot of work in a short period of time to support people to work at home, leveraging technology like Zoom so we remain connected.
One lesson learned from COVID is that we also need to structure our times to connect with each other, and I encourage people to talk to their teams about how best to do that. Please also see this Guideline for Leaders on working virtually with your team.
- Is the one-site policy still in effect right now? Can staff work in between acute and LTC sites now?
- The only restriction is with staff working in multiple long-term care/assisted living sites.
- In LTC, the focus has been on keeping residents safe. Our residents are becoming antsy. Will more support (staffing and supplies) be available to focus on QOL?
The most important resource we have is always our people and where needed we have increased the number of people in our homes at key times, e.g. at meal times, when families would often come in to support their loved one, and to support phone calls, widow visits and facetime visits. As well, we have had had numerous iPads bought and donated which have been an essential way to connect with families.
Our staff have been incredibly creative on how to engage residents in smaller groups and observing the physical distancing required. Please take a look at our weekly updates to see some of the engagement happening since the visitor restrictions started at the end of May.
- Continued access to using Zoom technology; it would be great if we were able to use the record function on it.
- The privacy and security risks of recording virtual meetings via Zoom are being reviewed. Currently, it is believed that the risks outweigh the benefits. Please consider using Skype for Business for recording of virtual meetings, as explained here: http://imitsinfocentre.healthbc.org/services/web-conferencing/record-your-meeting.
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- Based on Camille's response regarding food from home, is it possible to update this resource that indicates no home cooking can be brought in?
PHC understands you want to send care packages and home-made meals to your loved ones.
At this time, it is not safe for you, our patients or our staff for you to come into the hospital. However you can bring the following items to be given to your loved one:
- Sealed and packaged store-bought food.
- Books and magazines.
- Toiletries and clothing.
- Please refer to these guidelines for more information.
- Can you share updates about what the plan is to re-instate research, what the timeline looks like on that, what the restrictions may be, etc.?
- In response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Providence Health Care Research Institute (PHCRI) will commence a gradual, phased resumption of research at Providence Health Care (PHC) by following the guidelines set out by the BC Public Health Officer and the principles, prioritization and contextual information set out by UBC. The approach, however, will also be aligned with PHCRI and PHC requirements. For more detailed information, see the memo “Resumption of Research –Stage 1” dated June 3.
If you need to reach PHC’s Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPAC), please call local 69357. Do not contact individual IPAC team members.