Michener-led team helps upskill critical care workers to provide COVID-19 care

Screenshot of Critical Care Learning website

With the rapid rise and severity of COVID-19 cases, hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities are urgently redeploying health care professional to support patients and LTC residents. To make this happen quickly, a team led by the Michener Institute of Education at UHN worked with experts from across Toronto Region to create an online education package to bridge knowledge from one’s current practice to the requirements to care for those impacted by COVID-19, and other critical care patients. These educational materials are now available for clinical staff at Critical&COVIDCareLearning.ca

The resources on the site are intended for health care providers such as, but not limited to, anesthesia assistants, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, registered dietitians and respiratory therapists, who are involved in the care of COVID-19 and other critical care patients. It is also intended for those who will be redeploying to support LTC facilities, an includes several resources related to different LTC roles, including aides, meal assistants, and personal support workers.  Anyone in these professions wishing to access the site should connect with their Ontario hospital clinical director or manager for the access code and instructions.

The site also features resources on palliative care and bioethics, as well as team-based models of care, team wellness and resilience to ensure healthcare workers are supported to take care of each other and themselves through this pandemic. More professions and resources will continue to be added as redeployment strategies evolve, and as we learn more about COVID-19.

The rapid development and delivery of the Critical and COVID Learning resources was led and supported by a highly skilled and collaborative regional team of educational experts, clinicians, academics and leaders across the region.

Michener’s Executive Vice-President of Education Dr. Brian Hodges is the education lead for the Critical Care Capacity Steering Committee, which asked Michener to bring together a task force to create the education resources. That task force was chaired by Maria Tassone, Michener’s Senior Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development, and the education streams were led by Karen Chaiton, Director, Business Operations, and Mohammad Salhia, Director, Continuing Education and International. They brought together not only an impressive team of subject matter experts from across the Toronto hospital, LTC, and academic health sciences network, but also delivered Phase 1 of the education package and website within 10 days – a phenomenal accomplishment that would typically have taken months.

“This interprofessional and collaborative team has done a service of immense importance to healthcare professionals from across the GTA who are now facing the very daunting prospect of working in critical care.”
said Dr. Hodges.
“What this team has accomplished will directly translate into increased confidence and better peace of mind for very anxious healthcare professionals and I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say it will lead to better care for patients and contribute to lives saved.”

Within days of the site’s launch, more than 2,000 health care professionals accessed the site’s resources in order to prepare for possible redeployment. Eden Wright, a registered nurse working in a cancer unit at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre that has recently transitioned to a COVID-19 unit, was one of the site’s early users.

“I can tell that working through the course will help my patients tremendously, as well as myself and my colleagues. Thanks again and know that this will have a positive impact over here.”
said Ms. Wright.