As COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high in Ontario, The Salvation Army’s Toronto Grace Health Centre (TGHC), in co-ordination with the Ontario government, has temporarily set up a Specialized Care Centre at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke. The site consists of 30 beds, which are currently at capacity, to provide care for long-term care residents in the Greater Toronto Area who must be temporarily relocated. Expansion is also underway to accommodate the growing need, with a plan for 90 beds.
Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the University Hospital Network and Compass Canada food and environmental services, TGHC has transformed the 27,000-square-foot site, securing the necessary medical, clerical and support services staff. The Specialized Care Centre will provide surge capacity for long-term care homes that are managing a COVID-19 outbreak or experiencing other challenges in the home. These could include crowding, shortage of staff, lack of supplies or other outbreaks, such as influenza.
Jake Tran, president and CEO of TGHC, says, “The Grace’s physicians, nurses, personal support workers, therapists and staff have much experience and expertise in the care of seniors and are at the ready to provide care to long-term care home residents who may need to be transferred temporarily to the Specialized Care Centre. Our role in helping establish the Specialized Care Centre for long-term care residents comes from The Salvation Army’s experience and deep mission of service to Ontarians in times of need.”
“Given that we are looking after a fragile population,” continues Tran, “we’ve added ‘comfort care measures,’ which include deploying The Salvation Army’s TGHC chaplaincy services to the site.”
When fully complete, the climate/HVAC-controlled Specialized Care Centre will provide up to 90 fully furnished spaces for residents, with access to therapy rooms. The length of stay will vary for each resident, depending upon individual needs and the situation in the resident’s long-term care home. The facility has 24-hour security in place, with full on-site nursing and personal support workers.
Lt-Colonel John Murray, chair of the TGHC board of trustees and secretary for communications for The Salvation Army, toured the site on January 10. “The Salvation Army is pleased to partner with government and Ontario health agencies to provide this urgent care for seniors and vulnerable people,” he notes. “As the pandemic situation worsens, we will continue to be on the front lines of service.”
“We are grateful to the Specialized Care Centre steering committee for its work to quickly establish these new surge capacity spaces for our long-term care residents,” affirms Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, minister of long-term care. “By working closely with all of our partners, we are committed to finding innovative solutions to help protect our loved ones as we continue our fight against the second wave of the virus.”
Compiled with reports from the Government of Ontario.