Looking back at 2020: A year in review
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our campuses and around the world, bringing forth tremendous challenges and loss; transforming our day-to-day lives in the process. But through it all, we continue to see kindness, courage, and innovation.
Together, we have overcome and accomplished a lot in the past year to lay the groundwork for the future of health care. And although we continue to face challenges, there is much to be thankful for as we enter 2021.
Marking a milestone
Last year marked an incredible milestone for our organization: the 175th anniversary of Mother Élisabeth Bruyère’s arrival to Bytown and the establishment of Ottawa’s first general hospital.
Between treating patients during the typhus outbreak of 1847 and the cholera pandemic in 1854, Mother Bruyère forged ahead, caring for the most vulnerable in her community with courage and determination.
Although times have changed, we are seeing clear parallels between the challenges she faced and those we are experiencing today with COVID-19 in our community.
Arrival of COVID-19 in our community
When the COVID-19 pandemic was first declared, we were the first health care organization in the region to shut our doors to protect our staff and those we serve.
Then in April, in collaboration with Macadamian, we released the region’s first digital screening tool for staff, helping to streamline the screening process and reduce stress for employees.
As a result of the pandemic, we had to impose restrictions that have been challenging on the health and wellbeing of our patients, residents, and their loved ones.
To help ease the social isolation this brought, we partnered with Connected Canadians to deliver workshops and one-on-one session to our patients and residents to help keep them connected with their loved ones.
We also launched our Designated Care Partner program in August, shining a light on the important role family members and loved ones play in the health and well-being of our patients and residents.
Building health care capacity in our region
With school closures, lockdowns, and screening criteria further restricted, we witnessed staff shortages unlike ever before. The need for increased staffing was undeniable. Our human resources team rose to the challenge to fill hundreds of existing and new positions, welcoming over 300 new employees and counting.
As a partner in the regional ecosystem, we are all working together to re-envision health care, and build more capacity for a better and stronger system. To do this and to better serve our community, we added close to 50 beds in our hospitals in 2020. Then in response to COVID-19, we opened an additional 120 transitional care beds at Greystone Village Retirement in November.
Furthermore, to meet the urgent financial needs of our organization, the Bruyère Foundation sought new and creative ways to raise funds. We launched our Catch the Ace lottery, an exciting new raffle offering a weekly winner and a chance to win an impressive progressive jackpot!
Research and innovation
At our research institute, investigators quickly pivoted to meet the needs that emerged from the pandemic. Some turned their focus to shed light on the pandemic’s effects on long-term care homes Canada. Others delved into digital immunity tracking solutions, while some looked at the long-term effects of COVID-19 on rehabilitation.
Bruyère investigators have forged ahead, looking towards the future to prepare for mass vaccination and immunization tracking, receiving significant funding and grants throughout the year to do so.
In the fall, Bruyère successfully piloted a new technology, developed by CANImmunize, to revolutionize our annual influenza vaccination clinics for staff and their family members. This offered us the opportunity to test our capacity as we start rolling our COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
From us to you – thank you
Through adversity comes opportunity and growth—and we certainly experienced all these this year. As we step into 2021, we thank our frontline and support staff for their continued compassion and dedication to our mission. And, to our community, we thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement.