There are milestones throughout our lives that cause us to pause and reflect so that we can learn from our experiences and formulate plans for the future. This week marks a significant one for me; October 7th is my one-year anniversary of joining Headwaters Health Care Centre. And, what a year it’s been!
At this time in 2019, I was excited about a new beginning; becoming part of an incredible team of people and an organization with a stellar reputation and amazing community partners.
Never could I have imagined the changes and challenges that were ahead. Since March, all of our carefully laid plans had to be set aside for the important work required to manage the COVID-19 outbreak and everything that it entailed. As challenging as 2020 has been, I’m very pleased with the efforts we have made as an organization and the ways in which we have collectively worked with our community partners to support one another through an extraordinary year.
This week’s exceptional efforts to switch our Assessment Centre to establish a booking system based on provincial directives, was yet another example of the strength in our community partnerships. It was all made possible through the collective efforts of our leaders, staff, physicians, contractors and Dufferin County.
Pride in the past year
We have worked hard to ensure that our patients have continued to receive the high standard of care they have come to expect at Headwaters. Communication has become more important than ever, so we tried to ensure that patients affected by COVID-19 related program and service closures were informed as soon as possible and supported to manage their situation until the resumption of services. We hope that the collaboration between Headwaters, family physicians and specialists, and other community agencies has helped everyone feel well informed and cared for during this time.
I am incredibly proud of our team at Headwaters and how they have responded to our communities’ needs. Highlights include: our collective COVID-19 response including management of the Assessment Centre, guidance and support for long-term care residences in the community and collaborative PPE sourcing efforts with our community partners; continuing to manage patient care services unrelated to COVID-19, which have actually increased over last year; our continued efforts to make it easier for our patients with the introduction of online tools increasing access to health records and our new electronic registration system; the renewal of our Urology Program and enhancements to others; and facility upgrades and renovations that make our building a safer and more welcoming place to work and visit.
Our work as part of one of the original 24 Ontario Health Teams formed in December, the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative, has also enabled us to collaborate with close to 40 partners in our community. We established working groups, confirmed first year priorities and most importantly worked together to support our community during COVID-19. All of these accomplishments fill me with a great sense of pride!
Optimism for the future
Despite the adversity we’ve faced in 2020, I am filled with hope and optimism as a result of our response to the pandemic and ability to manage through these difficult times. It hasn’t always been easy. There have been funding issues, incredible planning challenges and the need to pivot our resources and plans in the blink of an eye. But through it all I have seen teamwork, resilience, patience and perseverance like never before. I’ve witnessed grace and generosity in a variety of big and small ways. The outpouring of support from local businesses, individuals and organizations this year has been nothing short of incredible! I am truly grateful and touched by the connection people feel with our hospital.
While the pandemic definitely isn’t something any of us would have hoped for, the reality is that it required us to get more creative, work together harder than ever and explore unexpected opportunities for partnership and collaboration. This is what gives me a sense of excitement for what lies ahead.
Although we are still in the midst of dealing with COVID-19 and expect to be for the foreseeable future, we have learned many lessons this year and are well prepared to manage it. At the same time, we recognize that “the show must go on” so we are forging ahead with ensuring our surgical and Ambulatory Care services are fully mobilized. Our facility renovations will continue as well, along with program and service enhancements to continue to adapt to the changing times and evolving needs of the people we serve.
Each day, I see examples of everyday heroes at Headwaters making our community a better place. I recognize that this has been a strange year, to say the least. After working at Headwaters for a full year now, I have been struck by the professionalism and compassion that is ingrained in the culture here. No matter what comes our way in the months ahead, we are prepared to keep providing all of you with the health care services you need.
I am sincerely thankful to have the privilege of working with our community partners and at Headwaters Health Care Centre. My first year here has been an unforgettable one! Our Purpose – One Community, Caring Together - has resonated with me for the past twelve months as I’ve experienced it in a very real way. I know that as we continue to serve our community in an exemplary fashion, my next year will fill me with the same sense of pride and optimism.
Thank you for your ongoing support and collaboration. Stay safe.
President & CEO