While the doors of Grandview Children’s Centre were closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the work to support and care for Grandview kids and their families did not stop.
#TeamGrandview has worked tirelessly, around the clock to retool their practices and therapies to ensure children and youth were able to receive the care they needed and continue working on the goals they are working hard to achieve, albeit in a completely different and new way.
Prior to COVID-19, the heart of Grandview Kids could often be seen and heard in the halls of the Centre; with smiles and laughter booming from wall-to-wall. Over the last 12 weeks, that heart kept beating; as close to 200 clinicians were set up at home with the technology required to deliver services virtually.
Grandview’s team of Physicians even reconfigured their usual methods to partner with the Vanderbilt Institute out of Tennessee, U.S.A. to receive training on how to virtually diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder, making Grandview Children’s Centre one of the leaders in Ontario, along with Holland Bloorview Children’s Hospital to be using this intervention.
“It has been well-received by families who’ve been waiting long periods of time to get a diagnosis for their children,” explained Grandview Kids CEO, Lorraine Sunstrum-Mann.
“We are ramping up each week. Families are getting more comfortable, clinicians are getting more comfortable and so we are seeing these virtual telepractice activities increase.”
In addition, Grandview has also provided critical in-person appointments at its main Oshawa headquarters. The team developed a prioritised ranking to determine which children would come into the centre to receive therapy in-person. Up until this time it has been only a very select group of children who predominantly have had an increase or an exacerbation of pain or loss of function. These children and youth have been coming in for an intervention at the Botox clinic.
“Staff used recommended PPE and took all the necessary precautions to be able to support those kids,” said Sunstrum-Mann.
As the Province reopens in phases, so too is Grandview. Beginning Monday, June 8 the number of in-person appointments will grow.
Schedulers are reaching out to families with children and youth with urgent needs to book therapy appointments at Grandview’s main headquarters.
The increase in in-person therapy has caused Grandview to have to retool the organisation once again, reconsidering almost every aspect of how the team delivers services.
“Working with children and the work we do is very high contact,” explained Sunstrum-Mann. “We have to think from a health and safety lens first and foremost so we have redesigned almost every process at Grandview.”
What to expect at appointment in Centre:
- Appointments will be scheduled with a COVID-19 health screen for both the client and caregiver.
- Main waiting room eliminated.
- Only one parent/caregiver allowed to accompany child to appointment.
- Screener/greeter will meet families upon arrival to their appointment and another COVID-19 health screen will occur.
- Families will be asked to wait in their vehicles (if that is a possibility) until their clinician is ready and then they’ll be escorted directly to a treatment room.
- If arriving by transit or by walking, families will be health screened and greeted then asked to wait in a private, designated waiting space until their appointment time when they’ll be escorted directly to the treatment room.
- Staff and families will don the appropriate PPE based on Public Health Ontario’s recommendations.
Children under 2 years old, people with breathing difficulties and those unable to remove a face mask on their own are not recommended to wear a mask or face covering.
“This can be tricky. Many kids at Grandview might struggle to wear a mask because of sensory challenges or other concerns and so our staff in that case would not require the child to mask but staff themselves would increase their level of PPE so in addition to a mask they would don a face shield for example.”
Grandview has a priority ranking for clients to return to the Centre.
“Just like we’ve been seeing a very select children in-person all during COVID, the ranking will increase the number of kids based on urgent requirement to come in and see a therapist.”
This new priority ranking system is part of Phase 1 of Grandview’s reopening. This is expected to continue over the summer, gradually increasing to more groups of children as required based on their need and Grandview’s ability to maintain safety.
“There won’t be hundreds of kids next week but we plan to start gradually increasing the number of appointments over the month of June and then into the summer,” said Sunstrum-Mann. “This means for some families they’ll continue with virtual services until September and for other families, depending on the need of the child and the kind of intervention required, that they will be given an option of returning to the Centre for that in-person care.”
Sunstrum-Mann acknowledges for some families neither of those options will work and so a break in therapy may be what’s best, with plans to resume in September or whenever is best for the family.
- Grandview has conducted close to 13,000 appointments during the time period of COVID, which includes telephone calls, virtual sessions and a small number of in-person interventions.
- Grandview has 7 locations but will begin the reopening stage at the main Oshawa headquarters only.
- In Centre staff to work limited 4-5 hour shifts, alternating schedules due to elimination of staff lunchroom and areas where people could congregate.
- The maintenance team has undergone extensive training to prepare for heightened cleaning.