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Changes during pandemic will be for positive, say health experts

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Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
A number of experts said on Thursday that the changes the world is witnessing in the current stage will be a change for the positive.


In the virtual event, “Hospitals & Healthcare in the Time of COVID-19: Hearing From Hospitals”, organized by the Canadian Club of Toronto,

This expert panel was moderated by André Picard, Health Columnist for The Globe & Mail, and will feature:
Dr. Susan Abbey – Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Centre for Mental Health, University Health Network
• Dr. Andrew Baker – Chief, Department of Critical Care and Director, Trauma & Neurosurgery Program, St. Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto and Incident Commander, Ontario Critical Care COVID Command Centre
• Dr. Howard Ovens – Emergency Physician and Chief Medical Strategy Officer, Sinai Health System
• Ru Taggar – Executive Vice President & Chief Nursing and Health Professions Executive, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Howard Ovens – Emergency Physician and Chief Medical Strategy Officer, Sinai Health System, said that “I don’t think it’s going to stay the way it is now, it didn’t do a SARS but it didn’t go back to what it was before. Just as we increased our baseline handling of blood and bodily fluids after HIV came along, our knowledge and baseline proficiency with respiratory contact precautions improved after SARS, and it’ll improve even further after this”
“We’re even looking at a number of emergency departments around Ontario have been very innovative and have started offering their own virtual care options where you can contact an emergency physician and find out if you need to come to the rinsing department, and if you are told that you should. Then, the department is already going to have a decent clinical notes by a trusted colleague when you arrive,” he added.
The experts underlined that due to the nature of the epidemic a lot of emergency departments in the hospitals suffered in March and after that, especially in the availability of beds and medicines, something Is not usual during the peak of flu season that.
Responding to a question on the mental health impact due to the pandemic, Dr. Susan Abbey – Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Centre for Mental Health, University Health Network, said “I think the mental health community dealt with our fear and anxiety, by making resources for other people’s fear and anxiety. Certainly in sort of early March. We had people coming forward, particularly physicians and nurses who had well controlled. Not symptom free from depression and anxiety for years, and the stress of watching what was happening in Italy in Spain in New York led them to have relapses. But really what I’ve been most surprised by is how resilient people have been they have been incredibly resilient I think there have been some added stresses. For people who went through SARS, although it’s also quite interesting because in contrast to SARS, I felt scared when I was in the hospital with SARS, I actually probably feel calmer in the hospital than I do anywhere else because I feel like our environmental teams have done such an incredible job and cleaning and keeping things done at our hospital screeners and all of those things have been helpful. I think now what we start to see is some real fatigue coming in, because people have been hired at this flat out for three weeks. And then there are a range of unintended things that I had not thought of when I was initially planning, buying a fair number of our surgical colleagues and people that do interventional procedures that are very challenging they’re not able to do them. They have holiday time on their hands they can’t make their mortgage payments or, you know, really worried about things it’s been very challenging for a lot of them to the, you know, understandably patients are phoning up and asking when they can have their procedures and you know we’re up I don’t know what today’s number would be a couple of weeks ago we were 50,000 visitors my mind in the province. So, all these people who manage the waitlist so that you know there are many stresses but overall I think if people have together. I felt like a strong team.”

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