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RSS FeedsTeam of Toronto doctors and nurses fill in for personal support staff at nursing homes hit by COVID-19 outbreak
(The Star Toronto Raptors)


19 april 2020 09:20:04

Team of Toronto doctors and nurses fill in for personal support staff at nursing homes hit by COVID-19 outbreak
(The Star Toronto Raptors)

In her day job, Dr. Kathryn Tinckam is a transplant kidney specialist and director of the University Health Network’s laboratory medicine program.On Saturday, she volunteered to work a 12-hour shift as a personal support worker, feeding, bathing and toileting residents in Sherbourne Place, a downtown Toronto nursing home on lockdown with a COVID-19 outbreak that has left it struggling to find staff.Tinckam is one of 100 doctors, nurses and psychiatrists from UHN who agreed to pick up front-line shifts at the Rekai Centres’ two nursing homes after hospital CEO Dr. Kevin Smith asked staff to help.Smith offered his physicians and nurses to Rekai Centres on Wednesday, after Premier Doug Ford promised hospital “SWAT teams” to help the staff crisis in long-term care.Ford’s announcement came after a public outcry over the crisis of COVID-19 infections and deaths in long-term care. At least 933 residents and 530 staff have tested positive for the virus. Many workers were too afraid to show up for their shifts, or sick with COVID-19 themselves or worried about infecting children or aging parents. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Long-Term Care said Sarnia’s Blue Water Health is also helping local nursing homes with COVID testing.When Smith’s email arrived, Tinckam signed up for the Saturday day shift, starting at 7 a.m., saying she was “put in the hands of very capable charge nurses” who handed out tasks, with directions to clean or bring meals to residents. She wears a surgical mask, a face shield, gown and gloves.“Very soon after that, the breakfasts trays arrived,” Tinckam said. “That’s when we really started meeting the patients, you got to deliver their meals, introduce yourself, find out a little bit about them, if they are able to communicate with you.“It’s really clear that the staff here know each individual resident, they know their preferences and those are very importa ...

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