Monday, 7 December 2020

Gratitude to Hospital Staff Looks Different This Holiday Season

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe County and in the District of Muskoka as the holiday season nears is alarming. It’s also important to recognize that COVID positive cases in Muskoka are likely higher than what is being reported locally when cases are attributed to and counted in another health unit within the province. A surge in cases has the potential to also impact bed capacity within the hospitals and our ability to maintain the provision of outpatient services, such as scheduled surgery and procedures.

As we watch the numbers grow everywhere, we must pause and reconsider traditional holiday approaches. Regardless of a pandemic, the holiday season is a time for giving. Over the years many of our staff and/or their departments have been on the receiving end of tremendous acts of gratitude during the festive season.

Thoughtful gifts to say thank you like boxes of chocolates or Christmas baking warm our hearts and mean a lot to our team members, but they also carry a level of risk to our staff and physicians that is not advisable, and can ultimately potentially hinder our ability to provide high-quality care to you or your loved ones when needed.

Gift baskets for example, similar to boxes of chocolates, typically contain items that are intended for sharing, which results in multiple sets of hands touching products. This has the potential to increase the risk of sharing germs that make people sick. It’s not just the COVID-19 virus we have to worry about, but also seasonal influenza and gastrointestinal illness that can easily spread from person to person if we let our guard down to risk.

The safety and wellbeing of our team members is a priority for our hospitals, and therefore we regret our staff are unable to accept homemade prepared food such as Christmas baking and shareable items in gift baskets this holiday season. We hope you can understand why this is necessary.

We are truly touched that grateful patients and/or their caregivers want to show their appreciation this holiday season. Perhaps the best way you can show our team your love is to give the gift of better local health care by supporting our Foundations that work tirelessly to raise money for our much-needed capital equipment and technology needs.

Both of our Foundations have specific giving programs that allow you to honour a hospital hero by making a tribute gift in their honour. We encourage you to consider gratitude in the form of a donation to your hospital hero:

Huntsville Hospital Foundation “Hospital Heroes” giving program:  https://huntsvillehospitalfoundation.ca/heroes/

South Muskoka Hospital Foundation “Health Care Heroes” giving program: www.healthmuskoka.ca/givetoday

This holiday season, the MAHC organization has also ensured gratitude is shown to our staff and physicians for their dedication and hard work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of being able to hold a Christmas Dinner & Dance, the Team Building Committee, with the additional support of the Joint Credentialed Staff Association and the MAHC Christmas Party Committee, have organized the “12 Days of MAHC-Mas” events, including a $5 “downtown dollars” voucher for Huntsville or Bracebridge to support local business and encourage each team member to stay local, shop local.

On behalf of the MAHC team, I also want to offer my deepest appreciation to our communities for your unwavering support in 2020. Season’s greetings from my family to yours and best wishes for a safe holiday season and a prosperous and healthy New Year.

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