BC Premier John Horgan outlined on May 6th BC’s program to “restart” BC, including resuming elective surgeries and other regulated services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling.
Health Minister Adrian Dix has requested BC health authorities restart beginning May 19, with the eventual goal to catch up on a backlog of 30,000 surgeries and other previously postponed ambulatory and outpatient procedures.

As a provider of key regional and provincial services and programs, Providence is playing an integral role in the health system’s restart plans and in addressing the accumulated backlog, working closely with Vancouver Coastal Health, other health authorities and the Ministry of Health.

“We’ve been developing plans and readying our programs and ambulatory clinics for this reopening for a couple weeks now and we’re in a good position to transition and upscale our surgical services’ and ambulatory clinics’ work,” says Leanne Heppell, Chief Operating Officer, Acute Care & Chief of Professional Practice & Nursing. 

“We’re taking a safe and slow approach to fully reopening to ensure all COVID-19 precautionary protocols are followed and that we maintain our very strict quality, infection prevention and safety standards for patients and staff. The ‘re-opening’ activities and the changes we’re implementing impact St. Paul’s, Mount Saint Joseph and Holy Family rehab most, as our long term care homes continue to operate under existing provincial Orders.”

Heppell adds it’s important to remember that not all surgical and ambulatory activities had stopped over the past two months since the COVID-19 response plans were implemented.

“We have been doing urgent cases throughout this period, but our activities are going to increase in the coming days and weeks and it’s imperative we maintain vigilance in remaining COVID free as our sites and programs get busier.”

To that end, PHC’s planning team – led by Grant McCullough and Dr. Janet Kow and including numerous leaders from key program and support areas – is focusing on key priority tactics and protocols, including:

  • Providing programs and clinics with key supports, including mapping out workflows and providing standardized tools to enable effective patient screening.

  • Promoting continued use and expansion of virtual health to minimize the need for physical visits.

  • Providing supports and new tools to enhance clinic scheduling and registration, and just-in-time wait-room management.

  • Ensuring the physical environment is ready for increased patient and visitor traffic – signage, posters, proper waiting room preparations/layout to accommodate social distancing.

  • Enhancing environmental considerations – preparing our sites for optimal infection prevention and control practices; maintaining enhanced housekeeping activities; ensuring plenty of hand gel is available for patients/visitors.

  • Ensuring optimal use of testing and screening processes.

  • Promoting proper PPE usage (reinforcing proper donning and doffing) and reinforcing staff hand hygiene.

  • Site Access – prioritizing main entrances for patients and visitors and ensuring PHC personnel have alternate entrances to minimize the chance of line-ups and crowding.

  • Continuing the Greeter Program at access points.

  • Enhancing and supporting wayfinding, including proper and safe usage of elevators – while encouraging staff to take the stairs where possible – and to optimize personnel flow through hospitals/sites.

  • Providing parking access – addressing increased needs for patient parking, while continuing to provide solutions for staff.

“Our successes over the past two months can be attributed to amazing teamwork, our can-do attitude, and our patient-and-resident-centred approach,” says Heppell.

“Not everything has gone perfect, of course, but we have a great learning culture at Providence. We have all been challenged with the fluidity of the COVID situation and we have had to adjust and adapt sometimes on a daily basis. The coming days and weeks may be just as challenging, but I have no doubt we will collectively rise to the occasion. We always do.”

For more information,  click here for a compiled list of questions & answers. 

This page last updated May 18, 2020 6:33pm PDT