Year in Review
Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS)
To meet the needs of the community, the CTS moved from Street Health to Artillery Park and then to its permanent home, the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) at 661 Montreal Street. The ICH is an innovative model serving some of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our community and has been a partnership including KCHC, HARS and the City of Kingston. The facility has dramatically increased the reach of our programs (visits have more than doubled), and increased access to wraparound care for those we serve.
Self-Management Program of Southeastern Ontario (SMPSO)
This year, SMPSO transitioned all free programming to an online format and/or at-home kits with telephone support. These switches provided ongoing support for those living with chronic disease and chronic pain and their caregivers. SMPSO continued to provide free workshops for healthcare professionals. SMPSO took on the Kids Get Stressed Too program and sourced out adult mental-health programming. SMPSO was also an integral partner in the development of a new Cultural Humility and Anti-Racism Program (with ISKA and Queen’s University) and the opening of the west-end hub at the Boys and Girls Club.
Rural Frontenac Lennox and Addington Allied Health Team (RFLA)
This year, 12 clinics across three Family Health Organizations and the CHC-Allied Health Team adopted a single Electronic Medical Record system. RFLA has also implemented interdisciplinary multi-agency regional mental health rounds and developed a privacy framework for providers and staff using the regional primary-care record.
RFLA also had a rapid and smooth transfer to virtual service delivery for all visits and groups, highlights included, but were not limited to, transitioning to wildly popular online exercise classes and classes to help youth, families and individuals with healthy eating in isolation and during stressful times.
EarlyON staff moved quickly into virtual programming, and last year’s completion of the backyard renovation at Weller made it possible (when public health guidelines permitted) to offer some outdoor programming. EarlyON staffers also created weekly videos for families to enjoy via social media and called all families every week to check in. Staying open (virtually) and staying in touch with families to support them during the pandemic was incredibly important.
EarlyON has been a blessing to our family! Being a stay at home mom, having a support system for myself and kids has helped us a lot! Having teachers who are supportive, helpful and kind keeps us coming back! I love having a safe place for my kids to play, and me to grow as a mom.- EarlyON family
Napanee Area Community Health Centre (NACHC)
Thanks to the United Way and Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Social Services (PELASS) we were able to transition the Youth Hub to a Virtual Youth hub, providing 419 Youth and Families programming and direct support. Thanks to funding from PELASS, we worked with multiple partners to house over 30 homeless and perilously housed folks for three months or more. The Diabetes Education Program piloted a program to personalize Diabetes Education using Freestyle Libre monitors and intensive counselling.
NACHC Primary Care team provided ongoing support to clients, both virtually and in-person. The clinic also maintained availability of sexual health appointments, including an STI quick test clinic, to ensure these important services were minimally disrupted due to the pandemic. Remote work opportunities were given to staff members wherever possible to allow for seamless support to NACHC clients. The footcare nurse adapted an existing triage tool to identify which patients needed to be seen in person, this tool was then shared with and adopted by other CHC footcare nurses.
With the support of the United Way, Community Development acted swiftly from the beginning of the pandemic to ensure food access for our most vulnerable populations. They started delivering food boxes every week: some to seniors so they could remain safe at home (Seniors Food Box), and some to low-income families (Good Food Box). This project has continued to grow. At last count, staff and volunteers were delivering 400 boxes per month to seniors and just over 400 Good Food Boxes per month. Operation Warm Feet delivered more than 500 pairs of boots to local families through referrals from Kingston schools, and in the holiday season, some local students created holiday cards with messages of friendship and hope that were delivered to seniors with their food boxes.
KCHC’s dental team dedicated resources to infection prevention and control practices to ensure the safety of staff and clients through the pandemic, and offered existing clients urgent care and support by phone during lockdowns. To complement its existing care, KCHC also enhanced the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program by hiring a Denturist, Endodontist, Periodontist, Oral Surgeon, and two additional Dental Assistants. It also opened a second operatory in Napanee and began the Weller Dental Clinic expansion.
The school readiness team continued to build strong relationships with children and families through phone calls, texts, and emails, and by delivering activity packs to their homes. School readiness staff also stepped up by working with Community Development staff and volunteers to pack and deliver Good Food Boxes. When possible, they ran in-person groups and thoroughly enjoyed being part of the much-needed social interaction the children received in their groups.
Pathways to Education (P2E)
Pathways was one of the first youth programs in the city to go fully virtual with their programs. Obviously, one of the biggest shifts for families with school-aged children was the transition to (and from) remote learning. P2E was able to connect with some students that schools were struggling to connect with and ensure that students and families had access to technology, food, and financial, governmental, and mental-health supports. Pathways staff dropped off wellness kits for students, which was a welcome in-person connection after many months in lockdown, and in June they also delivered grad baskets to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2020 graduating class. Online tutoring continues to be available, connecting students with highly skilled mentors. The Trauma Responsive Team Leads (TRTL) team was able to bring Trauma Responsive education and training to over 300 community partners, which is especially astonishing during a time when we could not meet in person. The new and innovative PC CHEF Program had many powerful outcomes; students learned cooking skills and about food security, navigated technology, tried new things, were exposed to budgeting and planning, and engaged in collaborations between families and students. This was one of Pathways’ most successful programs ever.
P2E staff are incredible. We received a significant funding shortfall this past year and staff had to take reductions. All they worried about was creating a plan to continue serving students, uninterrupted. This is the epitome of “client centred care.”- KCHC staff member
Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program (OHRDP)
With COVID-19, OHRDP found itself supporting the 435 harm reduction programs in the province in new ways. The pandemic did not change OHRDP operations, but the 36 Core Needle Syringe Program’s services, shipping addresses, satellite sites, staffing, volumes, and types of supplies underwent significant change. OHRDP began exploring ways to use computerized predictive analytic modelling tools to assist with harm reduction supply projections. OHRDP worked closely with our medical distributor and Core Programs to ensure no disruption in harm reduction supplies during this time of crisis.
The site also includes a resource and training portal for Core programs and their satellite sites.
Two reviews were completed: investigating harm reduction procurement processes in Canada, and examining the use of vending machines for harm reduction supplies. OHRDP produced Connecting – A Guide to Using Harm Reduction Supplies as Engagement Tools, a comprehensive resource developed through a Public Health Agency of Canada grant. Six hundred copies of these Guide have been distributed to staff working at harm reduction programs in Ontario and is available free for download. (ohrn.org/connecting) OHRDP collaborated with two provincial stakeholders (CATIE and OHRN) to produce two webinars focused on COVID-19 and harm reduction activities.
Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA)
Even through lockdown, ISKA never stopped serving clients, virtually when necessary and in-person when possible. ISKA hosted virtual citizenship ceremonies, ethnic cooking classes, tutoring and support sessions for youth, therapeutic art hikes, and a women’s hike for International Women’s Day to empower women against domestic violence and build a community of support. ISKA also ran a program called Allies for Refugee Integration, which allowed private sponsors for refugees and settlement workers to collaborate.
Clients were served virtually over multiple platforms, most of the time in their own languages. When necessary, clients were able to drop off and pick up documents. Last year also saw ISKA create new partnerships with Queen’s and the Tett Centre.
Pandemic Response Committee
This committee was formed early in the pandemic to ensure that all KCHC sites and programs were kept up to date with information and best practices on screening, PPE, physical spaces, vaccinations, etc. Weekly meetings enabled us to respond quickly to changes and updates and share the most pertinent news and information with our staff and community.
The way that the KCHC community rose to the challenge presented by the pandemic. From screening and cleaning to a hasty transition to remote work, we’ve continued to deliver high-quality service for our clients while respecting and protecting the health and well-being of our staff.- KCHC staff member
Our Primary Care team continued to support clients with live appointments, as well as phone and virtual. The clinic also offered community sexual health services, including the STI quick test clinic, to help fill the gap in case for many community members related to the pandemic. The team pulled together to support our eligible clients and community members with COVID vaccines, and continued to collaborate with specialists to offer embedded services such as Psychiatry and Paediatrics on-site. Staff members were given opportunities and equipment to work from home when needed, so they could continue to support clients throughout the pandemic.
Street Health Centre
Street Health Centre (SHC) staff adapted a number of services to be able to continue to provide in-person care. They received permanent base funding for their Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) program and expanded RAAM funding to include an additional 1.0 FTE NP and RN. Through the South East Local Health Integration Network, SHC acquired phones for clients to increase access to phone visits with SHC and other organizations. Donations of masks and personal hygiene items were received with gratitude when some people had limited access.
This year saw the creation of KCHC’s first full-time communications position, and the timing couldn’t have been better: there was a lot to say this year! KCHC’s social-media followers and media hits increased markedly as a result of a proactive strategy.
This is a one-stop shop for staff and include information previously shared via the newsletter, as well as some requested resources like a visual staff directory, an internal quick guide to KCHC programs and services, and a section devoted to posting all-staff emails.
All of this is accessible from any device or location and functions even if there are interruptions to KCHC’s email/network services. KCHC and Public Health’s communications departments built a relationship this year and shared resources and ideas throughout the pandemic to ensure as many people as possible were receiving crucial public health information.
KCHC continued to support the powerful momentum around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma responsiveness in both Kingston and Napanee. We were fortunate receive funding from the Community Foundation to train five staff through the Community Resilience Initiative out of Walla Walla, Washington, the community that has driven the ACEs movement in North America. Four Pathways to Education staff went on to become ACEs trainers through funding from the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area. A “community of practice” was launched in Kingston where collaboration began with local community partners and also learning from our CHC partners in Guelph/Wellington and their ACEs Coalition. KCHC’s Trauma Responsive Training Leaders, along with Dr. Meredith MacKenzie, facilitated training and hosted viewings of the Resilience documentary for over 300 people. In Napanee, NACHC created a partnership with Maltby Centre and Resolve, funded by the United Way, to deliver psychological educational programming and counselling targeting ACEs and trauma for parents and those considering parenthood. Trauma responsiveness continues to be a strategic priority for KCHC.