Health Care Heroes Highlight: What Can We Learn From The Covid-19 Pand – XPAND

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Health Care Heroes Highlight: What Can We Learn From The Covid-19 Pandemic?

When the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic became apparent to the Xpand team, we knew we wanted to be a part of supporting the frontline workers who were risking their lives on a daily basis to keep our communities safe. Because of you, our Xpand community, we were honored to be able to launch several initiatives to support frontline workers as they worked to beat the odds day in and day out.

In addition to these support initiatives, we also wanted to take the time to highlight the voices of some of these incredible healthcare heroes. The insights that they have gained, the hurdles they have overcome, and the perspective they can share are invaluable and inspiring. We hope you enjoy hearing from them as much as we did!

Patti Pilon
Director of Giving at The Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre

What has been the toughest part of navigating this pandemic?
It seemed as if life on so many levels came to a standstill in the early days of the pandemic. But at a hospital, we know that cannot happen. Those within our walls continued then and continue now to need the care we provide. Our frontline staff did not have the option to work from home. They remained on the floors doing what they do best. Some had the added stress of finding supervision at home for their children when the schools closed.

There were several aspects that were challenging. We had to close our doors to visitors early on. This meant that loved ones were unable to be with their family members who were hospitalized. This was so difficult for both the patient and their family. Many of our patients are with us for an extended time and the help from family caregivers makes a difference.

What was your silver lining?
The kindness and generosity of our community! Companies like yours either reached out or responded to our request for help for our front line staff during the height of the pandemic.

What did you learn about yourself?As the only member of the fundraising team at the Grace, I learned that fundraising is so much more than money!

How did Xpand’s donation impact your team?
From the first distribution of the laces, we saw smiles on faces that had not had one for a while. The unknown was the most stressful part for all, so gifts like yours helped them appreciate that there were those outside of The Grace thinking of them. The KN95 masks were gratefully received as we all know that PPE was in short supply and still is.

What’s something you learned that you wish you knew when this all started?
How essential eye contact is! Now that everyone is wearing masks.

What’s the best way to support/thank the healthcare workers who have done so much for us?
Do just as YOU did! Reach out and show your gratitude to them in the best way you know how by sharing what you have to offer to make their lives a little easier.

Jennifer Mostowski
Trillium Health Partners

What has been the toughest part of navigating this pandemic?
For me, the toughest part of COVID was the constant fear of bringing the virus home and infecting my family. Professionally, it was holding iPads up to medically unwell patients as their loved ones said goodbye. This affected me severely, as it was heartbreaking. Not something I will fully recover from. There were days I cried my whole way home or nights that I couldn't sleep.

What was your silver lining?
Although COVID took a lot from all of us. It also brought the community together while staying apart. As a community, we looked after each other. Professionally, staff looked out for each other. Supported each other.

What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am stronger and braver than I ever thought. I learned that my commitment to health care is more of a calling rather than just a job. I learned that when times got tough, I could too.

How did Xpand’s donation impact your team?
I am very careful not to cross-contaminate work with home. Having Xpand laces allowed me to not worry about touching my shoes to tie them. Once on, I was good to go. I didn’t even have to touch my shoes to put them on. This was a huge bonus for me

What’s something you learned that you wish you knew when this all started?
I learned how dependent we are on products from outside Canada and how scary it is when resources get cut off. I have learned the importance of being self-sufficient and buying local products.

What’s the best way to support/thank the healthcare workers who have done so much for us?
I was shown kindness from so many community agencies and members. I have appreciated the line bypass for groceries this helped me significantly. The best support for me would be to follow health regulations rules and practice social distancing. Keep doing your part. I would love to see the ongoing support of health care workers. Especially when it comes to government funding of health care.

Sibylle Foppa
Psychological Associates, Southlake Regional Health Center

What has been the toughest part of navigating this pandemic? Uncertainty, fear of losing loved ones, not being able to see family members and friends.

What was your silver lining?
The sense of community at work. Caring from people and organizations that donated so generously to Southlake. Being able to do meaningful work through the patient-family liaison role and in my regular job as a therapist in child and adolescent outpatient mental health.

What did you learn about yourself?
That I am willing to take personal risks in order to help others.

How did Xpand’s donation impact your team?
It felt so caring that we got all these donations and that it enabled the creation of the wellness cart. I went around with the cart a few times to promote the staff mental health initiative, Caring for Colleagues, and it was just lovely to see how happy the cart made staff. I was so appreciative of these thoughtful donations, as they took into account staff comfort during long hours at work with uncomfortable equipment.

What’s the best way to support/thank the healthcare workers who have done so much for us?
All the donations and encouraging words, signs, parades were wonderful.


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