One of the most important factors in keeping patients and staff safe during COVID-19 is solid infection prevention and control measures. Infection prevention and control is something all QHC staff are aware of, to some degree, but during the pandemic our teams have relied heavily on the expertise of our Infection Prevention and Control Practitioners. Recognizing this, QHC’s Board of Directors presented QHC’s Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) team with a “Values in Action” award, to acknowledge the team’s hard work in helping QHC navigate our way through 16 months of a global pandemic.
Quinte Health Care’s IPAC team is small but mighty, with three full-time and one part-time staff members, and a director who joined QHC at the beginning of the pandemic – whose wealth of experience is in Diagnostic Imaging – so she had to learn the ins and outs of IPAC fast! The team has done a stellar job educating and supporting our health care teams at all four hospitals.
With such a heavy load on this small team, QHC instituted a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Committee to help navigate the ever-changing PPE requirements at each stage of the pandemic.
Kerri Choffe, QHC’s Director of IPAC, Lab, and Diagnostic Imaging, is grateful for the contributions of many team members across the organization. She explains that IPAC, the PPE Committee and Professional Practice worked together to come up with plans and communicate them clearly to keep QHC informed. The ability of these groups to keep track of and disseminate changing information has been incredible.
Janet Baragar, a QHC clinical program director who came back from retirement to help during the pandemic, has worked closely with the IPAC team. She says, “As the pandemic workload and pressures grew, efficiency, confidence and resilience became the hallmark features of our Infection Prevention and Control team. Their commitment and effort exceeded reasonable expectations as they attended to every challenge that presented, with expert guidance and support. Their most important work was to keep bringing us back to the fundamentals of infection prevention and control and grounding us during times of uncertainty. This team understood our pressures and as they reminded us of the basics, coached on a personal or team level and course corrected when necessary, they have brought us through to better days.”
And while we are now in a place of “better days,” this wasn’t the case just a month or two ago, when Quinte Health Care was dealing with two COVID-19 outbreaks. One was a particularly aggressive outbreak on Quinte 5 at Belleville General Hospital.
Ruthann Hubbs, the manager of Quinte 5, extends her sincere gratitude to the IPAC team. She says, “The outbreak experience was both significant and impactful to both our staff and patients and to our organization. Leading up to and during the recent outbreak, the IPAC team provided reinforcement and reassurance to our staff. They persevered through some stimulating conversations about PPE practices, source control and staff reservations during a challenging outbreak. The IPAC team worked diligently and tirelessly to help us bring this outbreak under control in concert with Public Health. Their expertise is highly regarded by the Quinte 5 team, who continue to appreciate their ongoing support and consultations.”
Thank you to each member of the IPAC team for their ongoing commitment to safe practices.