COVID-19 and the current seasonal flu wave respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) raises serious questions about whether and how our healthcare system can provide essential resources in times of crisis and beyond.
Cynthia Davis, president and CEO of Lakeridge Health, believes the answer lies in making health systems more integrated and better, connecting all services from primary care to hospitals to long-term care. .
“Integration is no longer an option. It is a necessity. Our focus is quality. You can use it and expect the same high standard of care.
The drive to integrate and the logic behind it is reflected in Lakeridge Health’s vision. one system.best health.
COVID-19 and other viral diseases are testing this vision.
Based in the Durham area, Lakeridge Health is one of Ontario’s largest healthcare systems, with five hospitals and a sixth in the proposal stage. Opening a new long-term care (LTC) home, welcoming one of the region’s largest mental health providers into the system, and working closely with the Durham Ontario Health Team (OHT) to develop partnerships with primary and community care providers. built. We have invested in a clinical information system that connects all hospitals across the central-eastern region, providing a unified digital healthcare platform for all patients.
When the pandemic arrived in early 2020, Lakeridge Health became a center of expertise in infection control, providing resources such as personal protective equipment to community-based healthcare providers and nursing homes, and a center of advanced clinical care. and treated nearly 5,000 seriously ill COVID-19 patients. 19 patients.
In one of the most intense waves of COVID-19, Lakeridge Health, in partnership with Durham OHT, issued an urgent call to action for our primary and community care partners. Within 24 hours, over 250 recipients met online and offered their help. Clinics across the region provided his COVID-19 assessment and treatment options, reducing the burden on emergency departments. Clinicians were placed in virtual emergency care clinics serving thousands of patients.
Regional coordination among hospitals, public health, primary care, community clinics and emergency responders has enabled one of the fastest vaccine deployments in Ontario. By November 30, 2021, more than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
COVID-19 treatment clinics, working with primary care and assessment centers, have prescribed nearly 20% of Ontario’s initial supply of novel therapeutics pax robid.
Overall, the system responded quickly and effectively to the pandemic. When we united for a common purpose and understood a common goal, it was easy to succeed.
But challenges remain.
Nurses and other frontline workers carry the greatest burden of crisis response. Some are moving to a less stressful workplace or leaving healthcare altogether. Those who remain face more pressure, work extra shifts and care for more patients. Everyone involved in healthcare is experiencing additional stress as other professionals and non-clinical staff are stepping in where they can.
Staff shortages are causing temporary emergency department and acute care closures across Canada. Lakeridge Health is no exception, making the difficult decision to close the intensive care unit at one of his hospitals in the summer of 2022.
Health system integration is being tested again as severe respiratory illness further strains resources. But there are early signs that it’s still the right approach.
Health professionals leave the public system because they don’t get what they need as employees. This includes better compensation, but also a full range of employee support.
A large system like Lakeridge Health can focus recruitment by offering diverse career opportunities across multiple hospitals and care centers. With a team of over 8,000 staff and physicians, we have the capacity to support succession planning, education, mentoring, health and wellness, and innovations that enable efficiency, productivity and teamwork. An integrated system is a good place to place these supports.
All this takes time and commitment. I see building a fully integrated and sustainable health system as a journey, and much more needs to be done.
But the benefits are significant and realizable. We hope that today’s challenges will foster lasting change that strengthens partnerships and collaborations, and the significant investment in the support needed to meet new challenges while living healthy and balanced lives.
Now, nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers are looking for no praise or recognition for their courage and efforts during this crisis. They want the best: system-wide changes that enable them to deliver superior patient care.
Cynthia Davis, President and CEO, Lakeridge Health
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