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Year in Review

Street Health Centre

During this last challenging year, Street Health has been able to continue to keep their doors open and support clients in the community. Staff rallied together to work through staffing shortages and the added COVID pandemic and opioid epidemic complexities that disproportionally affected the population we serve. Street Health adapted service delivery and ensured face-to-face interactions were available 365 days per year, for a total of 19,976 client encounters. They also worked many long hours alongside community partners to ensure added resources were available to help clients navigate the challenges incurred during COVID outbreaks. As always staff were able to keep things light and continued to support each other during some very challenging days. As our fiscal year came to an end, we are excited to expand our outreach services in the next fiscal year.

This is the first time I have ever had a brand new pair of shoes.
- Client at shoe-fitting event at Street Health Centre

Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS)

The CTS continues to respond effectively to unprecedented demand for harm reduction services, with over 12,000 visits occurring this fiscal year. The newly constructed onsite exam room was successful in reducing barriers and improving access to primary care services. On average, over 40 clients a month are accessing on-site primary care; this represents more than 25% of monthly clients at CTS. Due to demand for service exceeding current hours and staffing, a proposal for expanded service was submitted to the Ministry of Health, with the CTS preparing to implement a 12-hour service model in the upcoming fiscal year.

Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program (OHRDP)

Connecting - A Guide to Using Harm Reduction Supplies as Engagement Tools, was developed by OHRDP in collaboration with frontline workers including those with lived and living experience of drug use. Designed to support frontline harm reduction workers in their day-to-day work, the resource was released in April 2021. It has been either downloaded or a hard copy requested five times every day over the past year. Portugal is currently adapting it to their country’s harm reduction realities, and a French version is nearing completion.

COVID-19 has had an impact on almost every aspect of daily living. Many items that people rely upon have become difficult to obtain due to world-wide supply chain issues. Using an innovative business approach that OHRDP adopted for its operations in 2019 meant that harm reduction supplies were available to communities uninterrupted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, no community experienced any issues with ensuring its residents had access to evidence-based harm reduction supplies.

Some of the tips brought me insight. Also, it taught how the harm reduction supplies are to be used for preventing harms!
- Front line worker re: Connecting Guide

Napanee Area Community Health Centre (NACHC) and Rural Frontenac Lennox and Addington Allied Health Team (RFLA)

This year, the Regional Privacy Framework was put in place. The framework refers to a high-quality set of privacy policies that were uniformly adopted across the regional practices that use the Community Electronic Medical Record (EMR). The framework ensures that patient data is well protected and that its collection, use and disclosure are managed according to the best available guidance from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

NACHC and RFLA also continued to support digital health through the adoption of the Ocean secure messaging platform for communicating with patients and by piloting a virtual eConsultation process.

Diabetes care was improved, with the evidence informed “Learning in a Flash” program resulting in a significant decrease in HgbA1C levels.

Weller Clinic

Year two of the pandemic did not slow down the Primary Health Care Team at Weller. Over 6,000 clients were served by the primary health care team over the last fiscal year, accounting for more than 27,000 encounters with staff. The team pulled together to support the community with sexual health services, unattached refugee access to care, and embedded services such as psychiatry and pediatrics on-site, in collaboration with specialists. The team administered over 25,000 COVID-19 vaccines and continue to offer vaccines to clients and priority populations. Weller’s Foot Care Nurse teamed up with Street Health Centre and Runners’ Choice to host a shoe clinic targeting patrons of Street Health Centre and the Integrated Care Hub. The clinic was a great success, resulting in fitting 81 clients for new shoes. All involved are excited to make this a regular event.

Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA)

ISKA moved to a new location this year, a change that was bittersweet. While the team was sad to leave 263 Weller Avenue, they are excited to be in a space that was more accessible for their clients. New funding from the Ontario government means they can serve clients they were unable to support previously, such as people on work permits and international students.

They have also been able to facilitate citizenship tests and ceremonies at ISKA for clients, many of whom do not feel comfortable using their own devices and navigating the process through Zoom.

Dental

This year saw the completion of the capital dental clinic build at Weller – a massive project which saw the creation of three new operatories, a new sterilization bay, new lab space, and new office space. The clinic now offers five operatories and three programs (Healthy Smiles Ontario, Low Income Adult, Ontario Seniors Dental Program). It has a team of two dentists, two hygienists, five dental assistants (plus one off on maternity leave) and one program administrator. The Dental Team also fully operationalized the Ontario Seniors Dental Program to provide connection to continuing care dental services, including dentures, for low-income seniors in our community.

Early Years

The truly remarkable staff with Early Years at KCHC worked tirelessly to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. While so many people struggled, there were some silver linings. Several new parents learned new ways of comforting their infants through our “Serve and Return” pilot project that showed parents how to follow their baby’s lead in interacting with them in a calming and responsive way. Despite working virtually, EarlyON opened up two new sites: one at Lord Strathcona School and the other at the Kingston East Community Centre.

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.

I like all the workers at Pathways, everyone is so nice. I like it’s a place that I can come when I feel overwhelmed or stressed with school and home. It’s a safe place.
- Anonymous, Pathways to Education, Grade 10 Student

ACEs/Trauma Responsiveness

Evidence of trauma was certainly prevalent across all programs. In response, throughout the year KCHC’s Trauma Responsive Training Leaders (TRTLs) leveraged Zoom technology and taught the brain science related to Protective and Adverse Childhood Experiences (P.A.C.E.S), to approximately 200 people. The TRTLs also presented at the National Alliance for Children and Youth conference. It was inspiring to see them connect with so many community partners and to know that a Community of Practice is well underway.

Community Health

While the significant impact of a relentless pandemic confronted all sectors of our society, for so many community-based programs it posed unique challenges, since it inevitably illuminated emergent and enhanced needs throughout our community. Those challenges were real and pervasive. Nevertheless, there was also profoundly encouraging news. That was found in the resiliency, dedication and creativity of KCHC staff, volunteers, and among those we serve.

Sadly, social isolation was painfully evident among all of the age groups served by our community health teams. New parents, who would normally have enjoyed sharing their experiences with their newborns with other parents, lost the opportunity to share their joy and to support one another. Many seniors missed their weekly group activities and often had little or no interaction with others. High school students told us they felt confined to their homes and had to rely too heavily on social media and technology for their peer interactions. Online learning was particularly challenging for many of our youth. Many of our newcomers missed the opportunity to practice their English speaking skills while others worried about delays in their citizenship applications. Many of KCHC’s wonderful and invaluable volunteers missed being on site in order to give back to the community.

Facilities

The KCHC Facilities team has been busy over the past year. The small, but mighty, team of two responded to more than 2,000 facility requests, supporting over 12 KCHC programs, eight tenants in more than six locations, and many satellite offices and spaces (e.g., EarlyON locations at schools, Boys and Girls Club locations, etc.). And that’s not all – they supported the vaccine and COVID testing pop-ups, KCHC’s Personal Protective Equipment needs, the Good Food Box program, Operation Warm Feet, Lionhearts warm food program, the Indigenous Wellness Council (storing/stacking wood for the sacred fire, etc.). They also completed two major dental expansions, (at Weller and Napanee), renovated and moved the pharmacy back into Street Health’s 115 Barrack location, and assisted in the ISKA relocation. All this on top of their regular duties, including security at all sites (cameras, alarms, fobs and panic alarms, etc.), on-boarding/off-boarding support for every staff member and volunteer, maintaining KCHC’s vehicles, and countless other jobs to ensure that the needs of the organization, clients, and staff are always met.

Pandemic Response Committee

This dedicated and active committee continued to meet, as needed, to provide information and support to all KCHC staff and clients on all things COVID. Meetings were sometimes held as often as twice a week, and sometimes only once a month, as dictated by changes in COVID numbers and public health restrictions. While this is an incredibly skilled and dedicated committee, they certainly look forward to becoming obsolete as soon as possible!

Coming Up

Connection

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