Community Spotlight: Chatham-Kent

As with all health care settings, the Thamesview Family Health Team and Chatham-Kent Family Health Team had to pivot very quickly with the arrival of COVID-19 in Canada in March 2020.  Many of us worked shifts at the newly-established COVID Assessment Centre or continued our duties in a new way in the Emergency Departments.  We reorganized our hospital rounds into small groups to minimize the number of people rounding in the hospital, and we began to figure out how to provide “virtual” visits. 

We also wanted to make sure that our Family Medicine Residents were safe and were able to continue their learning as much as possible.  We had them see the patients who were seen in person in the office—well-baby visits, prenatals, complex chronic disease management—and together we navigated telephone and video visits.  Our Residents spent some more time in the Emergency Departments and in hospital so that they could see more acute issues and lay hands on more patients.  We appreciated our social interaction, safely, as part of the team during lockdowns.  And we signed up as “light touch” supervisors required by the CPSO so that our new grads could start practicing right away:  we knew they were ready.

COVID doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but vaccines arrived this year and they are helping a lot.  Our Residents are helping us welcome more and more patients into the office.  They are helping us catch up on our preventative care, learning more procedures in Ambulatory Care and the office, and counselling those who are vaccine hesitant in an effort to get even one more patient protected.  We are cautiously meeting for small group teaching again before half-day on Wednesdays.  And it felt a bit weird but in a wonderful way to attend in person the CKHA Education Day at the local convention centre in October—masked, social distanced, but together!