Medavie Health Services Messenger

Our belief is in a better life for the communities we serve.

A Message from Erik Sande

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In the following video, Erik Sande, President of Medavie Health Services, provides a reflection of the year to-date and reviews some of the amazing achievements from across our Operations.

Jim Christie retires from Chatham-Kent EMS

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After 46 years of service, dedication and leadership to the EMS community and paramedic profession, Chatham-Kent EMS Operations Manager Jim Christie has announced his plans to retire on July 29, 2020.

Throughout Jim’s career, he has served as a frontline paramedic and leader in the Hamilton, Halton-Mississauga, London and Chatham-Kent area. He has also been instrumental in impacting many operational portfolios and building positive working relationships with Chatham-Kent’s community agencies, partners and the local union leadership. Given his many accomplishments and passion for paramedicine, we feel honoured to have had him as part of our Medavie Health Services family.

Congratulations Jim – we wish you a very healthy and happy retirement!

Paramedics to provide support during COVID-19 to Canada’s Indigenous communities

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Over the past few months, Medavie Health Services paramedics and frontline teams have been working tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19 – from performing regular duties while under extreme pressures to helping keep non-urgent cases out of the hospital to conducting testing in local communities and at provincial borders. These efforts have not gone unnoticed and we are pleased to announce that Medavie Health Services has received a contract to provide primary, public and emergency health services to a number of Canada’s remote Indigenous communities as they continue to battle this pandemic.

Through our newly-received three-month contract, with a possible three-month extension, paramedics will be engaged to provide a surge capacity response to remote Indigenous communities in northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Just as our paramedics do back home, they will provide direct patient care and consultation, and assist with local health care programs. Most importantly, they will work alongside other health care professionals in these communities, including First Nations and Inuit Health Branch-employed nurses, ensuring that nursing stations and health centres can continue to provide life-saving care to their communities.

In addition to this contract being a strong endorsement of our capabilities, it also presents a rare opportunity for our paramedics to utilize their professional skills in locations they might otherwise never visit, let alone work in. Primary Care and Advanced Care Paramedics will be deployed in two to four week shifts and will work with Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners to respond to urgent community health care needs and medical emergencies when they arise.

This is an exciting opportunity, both for Medavie Health Services and the paramedics who will be part of it and we’re looking forward to their experiences and successes over the coming months.

Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada.html

Now accepting applications for the Medavie Scholarship!

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The Medavie Scholarship program is now accepting applications from young adults whose lives have been touched by mental health, and who are pursuing a related health post-secondary program. It’s part of Medavie’s commitment to improving the wellbeing of Canadians.  Do you know a student who meets these criteria?  To apply and check eligibility, please visit the Medavie website. Applications are accepted until July 31.

MHS West AB photo wins Paramedic Chiefs of Canada photo contest!

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The Paramedic Chiefs of Canada (PCC) recently hosted a photo contest for paramedics to submit photos that highlighted paramedic service in action. There were three categories for individuals to submit a photo to, including: community spirit, teamwork, and agency / department.

The winner of the PCC 2020 photo challenge in the agency / department category was MHS West paramedic Tracy Sherk! We also want to congratulate Amanda Dobie for capturing the winning photograph.

If you’d like to see all of the photos that were submitted for the PCC photo challenge, please click here.

Medavie Teams up with Jack.org to Support Youth Mental Health

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COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on youth mental health, especially for those who are vulnerable, navigating unemployment or homeless. Recognizing the increased need for appropriate youth mental health education and resources during these trying times, Medavie, through our Foundation, is providing a $200K matched funding donation to Jack.org, the only Canadian charity training and empowering youth across our country to revolutionize mental health.

This funding will support Jack.org’s work in reaching more young people through digital education including resources like Be There, which recently won a Webby award for the top health website in the world. 

Join us if you can, in supporting an organization that is working around the clock to make sure our young people have the supports and community they need, now and going forward, in living their best lives.  And with Medavie matching all donations up to $200K, donate now and double your impact at www.jack.org/medavie.

Should you wish to find a Jack chapter in your area, click here.

Read the media release here.

Together with Jack.org, we are accelerating digital innovation and improving the wellbeing of Canadians.

Feeling overwhelmed? BEACON can help

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Have you taken a moment to really check in with yourself lately?  Managing new routines created by the pandemic isn’t easy. If you’d like to learn ways to help you cope with your new norm, BEACON can help.

BEACON is a completely digital therapy program that you complete on your own time, at your own pace. Check out this video to learn more:

Through Medavie, all employees and their families (16+) now have access to BEACON. Visit www.mindbeacon.com/bmh347 to learn more.

The EHS System Support team: Providing a behind-the-scenes lifeline during COVID-19

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As word came out of China in late December and early January of a mysterious virus that was beginning to spread, Gordie Parker and his team got to work in ensuring a stable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the virus’ eventual arrival in Nova Scotia.

Emergency Medical Care already had a stockpile of PPE, but the issue for Parker and his team was determining what their future needs might be for a virus that was still more than two months from coming to these shores.

“We were just seeing things coming, seeing what we could find, and it just got busier as time went on,” said Parker, the manager of Logistics and Materials Management.

In normal times, Parker’s team, which includes Ryan Stronach, Sean O’Leary, Mark Rice, and Richard Corning, is tasked with delivering medical supplies and equipment to stations across the province and two fleet centres in Dartmouth and Sydney.

Their duties also include facilities management, tasks which could not be put aside even amid a pandemic.

“We couldn’t let things go away – there were certain things we had to keep on top of,” Parker said. “So we continued with making deliveries as usual.”

Eventually, however, sourcing PPE became a 24-hour job, and the entire team came together to get it done.

Jill Burke joined the team in December, moving over to the Wilkinson station from her regular duties supporting the EHS Medical First Responder program.

As the Logistics Team Lead, Burke immediately got to work in helping source PPE, including hand sanitizer, gowns, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and goggles.

“We had to find different vendors…relationships were built to get some masks and PPE stocked up for when [the virus] came to Nova Scotia,” said Burke.

There were a lot of sleepless nights, but Burke said the pressure has begun easing in recent weeks.

“All those things that stopped shipping are now shipping again – so we were able to get a supply of surgical masks, we were able to get a supply of gowns. Different things are starting to kind of move again.”

For his part, Parker said the experience has been exhausting at times, but credits his family for helping keep him focused.

“You’re no good to yourself or anybody else [when you’re mentally fatigued]. You’ve got to stop, take a break, and re-focus,” he said.

But the major credit for keeping paramedic PPE supply at good levels throughout the pandemic goes to his small but mighty team, he said.

“The team has been excellent, you couldn’t ask for anything more. They’ve dug deep down, they’ve worked extra hours, they’ve made extra phone calls,” he said.

“You couldn’t ask for a better team – everyone has contributed and gone the extra mile to ensure all frontline and support staff have the proper equipment, supplies and PPE”.

Chatham-Kent EMS proves that COVID precautions are having positive results

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The recent success of Chatham-Kent’s Long Term Care Home COVID-19 swabbing initiative has proven that enhanced public health measures established in response to the pandemic are working. 

On April 21, 2020, Ontario issued a new testing directive as part of the province’s COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes.  Chatham-Kent Public Health, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), Chatham-Kent EMS and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent responded to this call by immediately forming a partnership to systemically carry out testing of all staff and residents in Chatham-Kent’s Long Term Care Homes (LTCH). 

Testing commenced on April 24, 2020 and was completed on May 13.  Results of this testing produced 100 per cent negative results amongst 926 staff members and 765 residents from Chatham-Kent’s seven LTCHs.  Approximately 85% of staff and 95% of residents were tested as part of active surveillance; staff and residents not tested were due to reasons related to resident consent or behaviour, and staff scheduling difficulties and leaves of absence.

Each home was contacted individually to establish testing timelines and logistics.  CKHA’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre assisted CK Public Health and the Chatham-Kent EMS Community Paramedic Program with testing in these homes.  In some cases, the homes chose to do the swabbing themselves.  The new directive ensured that all residents and staff of LTCHs were offered testing even without symptoms. 

“I’d like to thank our Community Paramedics who answered the call to help our partners carry out proactive testing for our most vulnerable populations.  It’s been a team effort since the beginning to ensure our community remains healthy during this pandemic,” said Donald MacLellan, General Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS.    

Congratulations to everyone at CK Public Health, CKHA and Chatham-Kent EMS – these positive results are a major accomplishment for your community!

A Paramedic Services Week thank you message from Erik Sande

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Paramedic Services Week is being recognized across Canada between May 24-30. This year’s theme is “Pandemic: Paramedics on the Front Line” and reflects the important role paramedics are playing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the hardships and challenges they are facing, they are continuing in their roles on the frontline, providing care as quickly and safely as possible.

In the following video, Erik Sande, President of MHS, takes a moment to thank paramedics for their tireless efforts to keep patients and communities safe. Every day, they are heroes to countless Canadians and we couldn’t be more proud of them.