“We feel incredibly fortunate to be in a department of people who, in the face of uncertainty said, ‘We are the Patient Registration & Admitting team, and we have to work together with the rest of our hospital to respond to COVID-19 and serve our community.’”
That’s what Ashley Ukrainetz, a Patient Registration supervisor at Scarborough Health Network (SHN), had to say about the approach her team took when the global pandemic hit in early 2020.
Patient Registration supports SHN’s Birchmount, Centenary, and General hospitals, and is a vital entry point for patients seeking care. Through Patient Registration, an electronic record is created for each patient’s information, including contact, demographics, family doctor, and health insurance-related details.
For patients who have to stay in hospital, the work of the Bed Allocation clerks is critical to patient flow and patient safety. They are responsible for placing patients in the right bed, which during the pandemic has become more complex given that they need to make sure that patients under investigation for COVID-19 are kept isolated, versus COVID-19 positive patients who can be grouped together.
Patient Registration has been particularly integral to the new COVID-19 Assessment Centres that were built on site at each of SHN’s hospitals. Running these centres 12 hours a day, 7 days a week required more than 30 registration clerks. “The staff readily volunteered to work in the COVID-19 Assessment Centres – registering patients and placing lab orders for the COVID swabs – key functions that are integral to the process.”
The registration team also played essential roles in SHN’s COVID-19 testing programs that have been delivered at Long-term Care homes and other settings. Lesley Douglas – Manger of Patient Registration & Admitting had been tapped to help plan how the Registration Team would support the work being done in the Long-Term Care homes. She asked her staff if they’d be willing to get ball rolling by pre-registering all the patients and staff members at the homes. Everyone immediately agreed. “It was a lengthy process, and we were registering people overnight on multiple occasions. We sometimes registered over 500 residents so that we had all the paperwork organized and ready for the deployment team the next day. This also included placing the orders for the COVID swabs through Meditech – which is something registration would not normally do.”
“Pandemic planning immediately became a way of life because changes were coming so fast,” remarked Patient Registration manager Lesley Douglas. “We had to move quickly too, taking on a day-to-day and even hour-to-hour mentality.”
Throughout the pandemic, SHN’s Patient Registration team has provided inspiring support to each other, and continues to show incredible dedication to their work. And with so much on the line, the strong bond between its members has grown even stronger.
“I was never alone. Our people supported each other with each big leap we took. That kind of bravery and fortitude made the impossible possible,” said Mary Walsh, Patient Registration supervisor.
In total, since March 2020, SHN has done over 142,000 COVID-19 tests at its three Assessment Centres and more than 50 community testing initiatives. So much of this achievement and the groundwork to inform future pandemic planning is due to the dedication of the Patient Registration and Admitting team.
Thanks to the efforts of these frontline heroes, SHN has not only been able to continue to deliver quality, compassionate care to patients and families at our hospitals, but has also stepped up to bring support and care into community across Scarborough.