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Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario      

Dear Colleagues:  Welcome to my Monday, May 11, COVID-19 report – now in the fourth month of COVID-19 in Ontario. For the many resources RNAO offers on COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 Portal. You can refer to earlier update reports here, including thematic pieces in my blog. Feel free to share this report or these links with anyone interested – they are public.

Starting today, I will be scheduling three COVID-19 reports each week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We have a flurry of Nursing Week events coming – see below – and we are upping the preparations for RNAO’s amazing virtual AGM to be held on June 11-13 (mark your calendar!). We are also hopeful we will continue gradually going down the COVID-19 pandemic curve and will continue to report with this new schedule. Thanks so much for your interest and support!

In the first day of Nursing Week, our entire RNAO team – Board of Directors, Assembly of leaders and 44,000 RNs, NPs and student members – wish each and all nurses, anywhere you work, to take pride and to reflect on your awesome and work. We want to thank you for nursing with knowledge, compassion and courage, as you are doing now during COVID-19, and always!

Below is RNAO’s press release with a rich array of important events throughout the week.  Check RNAO’s Nursing Week portal with all the details for these events, how to register for each one of the activities. Join us from anywhere in the world, free-of-charge, through Zoom. We look forward to nurses and others participating!

Nurses share their successes and challenges during National Nursing Week

During a time when nurses are working tirelessly and selflessly through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) will honour the impact they are having every day on the lives of Ontarians and the health system, through a series of virtual events planned during National Nursing Week (May 11-17).

“Nursing Week is the annual celebration of our profession and this year is unique because it marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the founder of modern nursing. It also falls during the World Health Organization’s designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” says Dr. Angela Cooper Brathwaite, RNAO president.

“RNAO is proud to recognize the 97,890 RNs, 3,294 NPs, and 47,744 RPNs who are providing, day in and day out, quality care to Ontarians everywhere in the province. We also salute the thousands of nursing students who are taking forward Nightingale’s lamp. From the bedside to the classroom and the boardroom, nurses and nursing students make the world a healthier place,” adds Brathwaite.

Watch a welcome video from Dr. Angela Cooper-Braithwaite, RNAO President and myself at the Nursing Week portal, and read our thank you message here.

For our Spanish speaking readers, including the thousands of nurses and other health professionals in RNAO’s BPSOs in Spain and in many Latin American countries – here is a special message for you here.

RNAO has planned events such as its 20th annual Take Your MPP To Work Live, that launched earlier today, Monday May 11, with Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. This year, to keep with the need for physical distancing, the association is coordinating virtual visits via Zoom where political leaders can still meet and speak with nurses to better understand the richness of nursing practice. Many MPPs are participating in these visits, among them: Premier Doug Ford, Minister Elliott, Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Long-term Care Merrilee Fullerton, PC MPP for Mississauga Centre Natalia Kusendova, NDP Health Care Critic France Gélinas, NDP MPP for Kingston Ian Arthur, Liberal MPP for Ottawa South John Fraser, Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood Mitzie Hunter and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. The full schedule of events will be updated here.

Tuesday May 12, at 10:00am, Toronto time: RNAO will release its third groundbreaking report on Enhancing Community Care for Ontarians (ECCO 3.0), which will provide government officials and the public with a clear direction on strengthen our health system with a robust community care and a strong primary care foundation. The recommendations in the report align with the 2019 Ontario government’s plans to reshape Ontario’s health system and build on RNAO’s ECCO 1.0, released in 2012 and ECCO 2.0, released in 2014, both of which have informed health system restructuring in the province. Read our official media advisory on the event here.

“The shocking impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in every person’s life, and the challenges it has presented to our health system, make bold system transformation an imperative. We must decisively and definitively embrace our publicly-funded and primarily not-for-profit delivered health system, with a strong community care focus, to meet trending population health needs and serve all Ontarians. We must fully lift our talent and focus on all aspects of care delivery inspiring the collective contributions of all sectors,” says Grinspun. “We invite media, nurses, other health providers, political leaders and other stakeholders to join and hear what nurses have to say,” she adds.

Also on Tuesday May 12, at 2 p.m., RNAO along with the Ontario Nurses’ Association and the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario, will honour one NP, RN and RPN for their contributions made to nursing practice in celebration of the inaugural Nursing Now Ontario Awards. Congratulations to the awardees -- Nurse Practitioner Award Recipient: Michael Borja, Registered Nurse Award Recipient: Patric Campeau, and Registered Practical Nurse Award Recipient: Kelly Karges. Read about their amazing accomplishments here.

On Thursday May 14, at 10 a.m., we are providing a Re-introduction to RNCareers.ca for employers & Tips on Cover Letters and Resumes for job seekers. Join us for an overview of RNCareers.ca - RNAO's official career site for nurses and tips for your cover letter and resume. In the webinar you will gain a basic understanding of key site features and functionality for employer and jobseeker users; learn tips for optimal user experience; and how to create a resume and cover letter to attract employers. For details, go here.

On Friday May 15, at 1:15pm., we will close Nursing Week with the unveiling of the second edition of RNAO oral health best practice guideline (BPG) titled Oral health: Supporting adults who require assistance. The BPG provides evidence-based recommendations for improving delivery of oral care to adults and ultimately lead to positive oral health outcomes.

“These celebrations will provide nurses a brief pause from intense stress to reflect on their formidable work and the profession’s collective contribution. Colleagues should take pride in knowing that our profession and each nurse in Ontario, in Canada, and indeed the world over is making a profound difference for the public we serve,” says Grinspun.

Here are all the events during Nursing Week. Please see our Nursing Week portal for more information and to register. 

Your messages: Voices and responses

Each we receive numerous emails and phone calls. Each day we also welcome new readers to this daily report: Thank you deeply for the work you do always and especially during this public health crisis, and also for keeping us well informed. You can see previous reports at RNAO updates and resources on COVID-19 for members and other health professionals. Feel free to share these updates with other health professionals and other organizations both at home and abroad. RNAO media hits and releases on the pandemic can be found here. Daily Situational Reports from Ontario's MOH EOC can be found here. Many of the articles you see here are posted in my blog, where you can catch up with earlier issues. The COVID-19 Portal is here.

RNAO member Annette Wai-Ping writes:

Thank you for sharing this story of Samantha Mac Neil. In one of your emails you indicated ‘Thank you’ is not enough but as an agency nurse and a visible minority I wish I could do the things Samantha does. I applied to various nursing homes, but there was no response. As an agency nurse, for years, I have been subjected to various kinds of abuse but the safety and the well-being [of residents] always remained my priority. Many nurse managers are surprised that I could handle their most difficult cases, and it is not because I know nothing, it is because I dared to care.

Something most people who are not visible minorities would ever understand, even though I have lived in Toronto for more than 50 years – went to public school in Toronto, served the Naval Reserves etc., but that is not enough. People ask me "do you go home?" I respond, "...yes, every night ..." – Toronto has been my home since I was a child. People demand to know if I got educated from home and I respond yes, I received my BScN from the U of T, and then I am told I am not as progressive as "their" people...  Canada is the only home I know and Tommy Douglas, the father of our health care system, is my hero. Take care and be safe.

Annette Wai-Ping, RN, BScN

RNAO’s response: Thank you for reaching out to us, Annette. Racism and prejudice are scourges and we must constantly educate and speak out against such awful injustice. I am very sorry for the pain and harm it inflicts on you and others. Please know RNAO will continue to do all we can to help put a stop to discrimination. Thanks very much for allowing us to share. Doris

Together we can do it

Today is day #53 of RNAO’s #TogetherWeCanDoIt campaign… RNAO began this campaign on March 19 to cheer up health care workers and others in essential services. The campaign also allows us to suffocate the anguish we all feel over lost lives. Readers tell me they really like my pics, so here are the ones for last evening for noise that is becoming louder and louder in streets, workplaces and social media to #cheer4healthworkers! Please remember to join-in this community building moment every evening at 7:30pm local time - until we defeat COVID-19! And we need you to always post tweets from your communities, your children, workplaces art and memory places - with your messages, cheers here, pots & pans, songs and other expressions of love, thanks, solidarity, reminders and call for help - Because: #TogetherWeCanDoIt.

MOH EOC Situational Report #107 here for Monday, May 11

Situation:    

 Case count as of 8:00 a.m. May 11, 2020

Area

Case count

Change from yesterday

Deaths

Change from yesterday

Worldwide total

4,202,875

+75,994

284,203

+3,219

Europe

1,642,665

+20,276

152,940

+772

China

82,918

+17

4,633

0

Middle East

374,592

+6,855

11,527

+111

Asia & Oceania

227,277

+8,972

6,259

+191

Africa

65,399

+2,841

2,301

+60

Latin America and Caribbean

373,213

+15,335

20,885

+1,164

North America

1,436,811

+21,698

85,658

+921

United States

1,367,963

+20,552

80,787

+743

Canada

68,848

+1,146

4,871

+178

  • 308 new cases were reported today in Ontario, bringing the cumulative total to 20,546 (this includes 15,131 resolved cases and 1,669 deaths).
  • In Ontario, a total of 447,964 tests have been completed, with tests performed at Public Health Ontario Laboratories and non-Public Health Laboratories. There are currently 9,018 tests under investigation.
  • 1,027 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 194 are in ICU; and 147 are in ICU on a ventilator.

EOC report #106 for May 10 – there were no actions to inform.

EOC report #107 for May 11 informs of the following actions taken:

  • The ministry has updated the Acute Care guidance document (here). Key changes include:
    • Added the outbreak definition in public hospitals and guidance for outbreak detection and management
    • Added summary of PPE precautions table
  • Friday’s Command Table memo is here.

RNAO’s ViaNurse Program               

RNAO’s VIANurse program, launched on March 13, has already registered 7,398 RNs for virtual and clinical care, 1,026 critical care RNs (who have experience and continued competency in the provision of critical care), and 287 NPs. RNAO is continuously responding to requests from health organizations. So far, we have served 303 organizations, of which 231 are nursing homes and retirement residences. RNAO has also offered the government to identify NPs and RNs who can help manage LTC organizations that are in crisis, and assist with urgent interventions where severe outbreaks are ongoing. For any nursing HHR needs go to RNAO’s VIANurse program

** Seeking RNs, NPs and nursing graduates ready to work in nursing homes in active outbreak

RNAO launched on Friday, April 24th a fourth survey for RNs, NPs and nursing graduates urging them to register for work in nursing homes that are on an active outbreak. The availability of these colleagues is already fastening even more the matching of nursing staff to homes in dire need. For example, between April 20th and May 11, we deployed RNs, NPs and/or PSWs to 129 organizations, including 118 nursing homes, with some of these organizations having been served multiple times. On May 11, on a matter of hours from request we responded to the staffing needs of 6 additional organizations. Also important to know is that VIANurse has no backlog requests, and we also respond after hours and on weekends – as we understand the urgency of each request. Please retweet the following urgent tweet to have many more RN, NP and new graduates enrolled.  

For those of you ready to work in a nursing home with an outbreak – we need you –please CLICK HERE and complete our survey ASAP. We need your response as soon as possible given the rapidly evolving situation, and the urgent need in nursing homes across the province. The government has now improved the compensation, recognizing your critical role – see Ontario’s press release here.

So far we have got 383 responses: 281 RNs and 40 NPs and 51 nursing students – ready to go to nursing homes in an active outbreak - plus, 11 RNs who can do non-clinical work. These colleagues are being deployed as we speak, including over the weekend. 

Staying in touch          

Please continue to keep in touch and share questions and/or challenges of any kind, and especially shortages of PPE. Send these to me at dgrinspun@rnao.ca. We are responding daily and are continuously solving your challenges. RNAO’s Board of Directors and our entire staff want you to know: WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!

Thank you deeply colleagues in the front lines; in administrative roles; in all labour, professionals and sector associations, and in governments in Ontario, in Canada and around the world. We are here with you in solidarity. These are stressful and exhausting times; the only silver lining is coming together and working as one people – for the good of all!

Together, we must redouble our efforts to tackle COVID-19 with the best tools at hand: full, accurate and transparent information, calmness, determination and swift actions. 

Doris Grinspun, RN,MSN, PhD, LLD(hon), Dr(hc), FAAN, O.ONT
Chief Executive Officer, RNAO  

 

RECENT RNAO POLICY CORNER ITEMS:

10 May - A story of hope, ingenuity, support and genuine care for an LTC residentgo here.

7 May    - Counting the missing deaths: Tracking the toll of the coronavirus outbreakgo here.

5 May    - Life on the front lines of the pandemic: Profile of RNAO member NP Daria Gefrerergo here.

5 May    - Addressing differential access to virtual care due to technology inequitiesgo here.

3 May    - Being person-and-family-centred during COVID-19 – go here.

1 May    - Migrant agricultural workers and the COVID-19 crisis – go here.

30 April - COVID-19 pandemic in provincial institutions and correctional centres – go here.

28 April - Supporting First Nation Communities during COVID-19 – go here.

27 April - Responses to COVID-19 for persons experiencing homelessness in Toronto: An updatego here.

25 April - Lessons learned through a COVID-19 nursing home outbreakgo here.

25 April - Letter from a retired RN to Premier Ford: The problems with LTC were evident long before COVIDgo here.

23 April - Working with seniors in long-term care requires specialized knowledgego here.

22 April - Shaking the stigma: We need a proactive COVID-19 response for mental health and addictiongo here.

21 April - We Require Expanded and Accessible COVID-19 Data in Ontario go here.

20 April - Can Loss of Smell and Taste Help Screen for COVID-19? – go here.

18 April - COVID, Trump and the World Health Organization go here.

16 April - A Home Based Model To Confront COVID-19 – The Case Of The Balearic Islandsgo here.

15 April - COVID-19 and the Challenges in Homecare – go here.

14 April - Reprocessing Of N95 – An Update – go here.

14 April - A New COVID-19 Facility For Persons Experiencing Homelessness In Toronto – go here

13 April - Practical Tips for Safe Use of Masks – go here.

10 April - Ontario’s Tragedy in Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes – go here.

10 April - RNAO Action – Supporting Long-Term Care – go here.

10 April - Update For Nursing Students – NCLEX Exam – go here.

9 April - Celebrating Passover, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and the start of Ramadan during a pandemic – go here.

9 April - Guidance on use of N95 mask – go here.

7 April - Sentinel surveillance and on-site testing in the homeless service sector – go here.

7 April - Reprocessing of n95 – safe? – go here.

5 April - We must change the way we do testing and case definition – go here.

5 April - Ringing the alarm bells on critical care beds – go here.

4 April - COVID-19, stay at home and domestic violence – go here.

We have posted earlier ones in my blog here. Please go and take a look.

RNAO’S policy recommendations for addressing the COVID-19 crisis: We presented 17 recommendations for government, last revised on April 2. Some of these, such as #15, continue to be of grave concern to RNAO. Read them here.

 

Information Resources

Public Health Ontario maintains an excellent resource site on materials on COVID-19. This is an essential resource for Ontario health providers. 

Ontario’s health provider website is updated regularly with useful resources here.

Ontario’s public website on the COVID-19 is there to inform the general public – encourage your family and friends to access this public website. The WHO has provided an excellent link for you to share with members of the public here.

Please promote the use of Ontario’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool: It also has a guide where to seek care, if necessary. Its use will provide the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate or to monitor for symptoms. Data will inform Ontario's ongoing response to keep individuals and families safe.

Health Canada's website provides the best information capturing all of Canada. It contains an outbreak update, Canada's response to the virus, travel advice, symptoms and treatment, and resources for health professionals.

The World Health Organization plays a central role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. See here and here.

You can find up-to-date global numbers in Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE.

 

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