Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

I am even more deeply pleased if it has helped to encourage the young people that have followed our generation to express their pride in our heritage more openly, more joyfully than I would have ever dared to think possible.

Daphne Odjig

Outbreak shines light on dedication of Misericordia Hospital team

July 23, 2020

In a guest editorial in the Edmonton Journal, Covenant CEO Patrick Dumelie provides an update on the COVID-19 outbreak at the Misericordia Community Hospital and expresses his sincere support for our dedicated staff who are working diligently to respond to the challenge.

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The recent outbreak at the Misericordia Community Hospital will provide Alberta with lessons about our health-care system and COVID-19 virus transmission. A fulsome review will give Covenant Health and our integrated health system valuable information about how we can continue to improve our diligent efforts to respond with rigorous safety processes and practices.

There are many factors involved in an outbreak and there are no conclusions to share at this time. While it is natural to want answers immediately, to speculate without proper facts is not only inappropriate but potentially irresponsible.

Covenant Health, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health are partnering in the review of this outbreak to understand the causal relationships, human factors, system and patterns and other dimensions. This is already underway. We welcome this process as foundational to our mission and values, our commitment to a just culture and our accountability as a partner in the health system.

Like many community-based hospitals, the Misericordia cares for a diverse population with a range of health needs, including many frail seniors who are at high risk for COVID-19 and other infections. Across the health system, the pandemic has raised an urgent need to study the challenges of caring for our vulnerable seniors — in all settings — and to develop effective ways to meet their needs with dignity and compassion, while keeping them safe.

Within our Covenant family, we care for over 2,400 seniors in our care centres and many others in our clinics and hospitals each day. The arrival of COVID-19 and the impact of the pandemic has renewed our drive to help transform the system, working towards a vision where Albertans are able to age in their homes and communities, supported by robust and innovative community care models.

While we have much to learn and more work to do, some things are abundantly clear. The pandemic and the recent outbreak has shone further light on the tremendous commitment and dedication of our staff, physicians and leaders to respond to a public health crisis and to respond quickly with courage and expertise from the first news of a COVID-positive patient.

With an unwavering commitment to safety, Misericordia leaders, physicians and staff continue to work through complex challenges and problems to do what’s needed to halt the spread and focus on caring for patients and each other. Focused on patients as their first priority, they have carried on their crucial work, coping with heavy demands and the stigmatization that often comes with speculation and anxiety in the community.

I am extremely proud of our team. From the bed side to the call centres to the emergency command, our health-care teams deserve our utmost admiration and thanks for their compassion, skill, sacrifice and vigilance in responding to this challenge.

We have also seen that when one site encounters a challenge, our system is able to respond. Since the beginning, Covenant Health, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services have worked tirelessly and collaboratively to aggressively manage this outbreak and ensure Albertans continue to have access to the health-care services they need.

We are grateful for the tremendous response of all teams across the zone. They have risen to the challenge, taking every possible step to keep people safe, to limit the impact of this outbreak and prevent further spread.

We appreciate the tremendous outpouring of support from Albertans through this difficult time.

We mourn the individuals who have died in this outbreak and offer our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones. We stand by those who remain in the hospital, caring for them with compassion and diligence and supporting their needs — body, mind and spirit.

We look forward to revitalizing the Misericordia site as we begin construction on the new expanded emergency department, with an enhanced care environment that will enable our passionate teams to provide their best each day.

We also look forward to opening our doors again, and to continue to provide quality, compassionate care to meet the needs of our community for generations to come.

 

Patrick Dumelie, CEO, Covenant Health