Partners in East Toronto join forces to develop infection prevention and control training program for staff in long-term care settings

Krizia Enriquez is an RPN and IPAC Champion at Chester Village.

When Cynthia Marinelli, CEO of Chester Village, was approached by Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) to join forces on developing an infection prevention and control (IPAC) training program for staff working in long-term care (LTC), she jumped at the opportunity to participate.

After witnessing the first-hand devastation of COVID-19 on LTC homes during wave one of the pandemic, the MGH team saw a need to continue supporting LTC partners in making improvements to their IPAC practices to protect against future waves. The program was spearheaded by Dr. Jeff Powis, Infectious Disease Specialist and Dr. Jarred Rosenberg, Geriatric Medicine Specialist at MGH.

“It was my pleasure to assist their team by providing insight into the LTC setting and adapting the hospital curriculum to better meet our specific needs,” said Cynthia.

“This very timely program will provide all the LTC Homes with the tools and the confidence to move forward in preventing and managing any future outbreaks and will go a long way in keeping LTC residents and staff safe.  Without the partnership of MGH and the dedicated IPAC team led by Dr. Jeff Powis, this would not have been possible.”

Cynthia Marinelli, CEO of Chester Village.

Cynthia Marinelli, CEO of Chester Village.

After several meetings about the challenges and differences in LTC versus a hospital setting, the LTC IPAC Champion program was created. The main goals of the program include:

  • A dedicated LTC staff member to take on the role of IPAC champion and liaise with the MGH team

  • Establish a robust syndromic surveillance program

  • Meet the IPAC program standards as set by the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007

  • Identify ways to prevent and/or contain future outbreaks

  • Participate in a quality improvement program by sharing key performance indicators with MGH

All 10 of the long-term care homes supported by MGH in East Toronto currently have two staff enrolled in the new LTC IPAC champion training program. Classes began Aug. 25 and run until Oct. 1; they are held virtually or on-site at Chester Village.

Queena Shen, Quality & Education Coordinator at St. Clair O’Connor Community, said “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to learn and meet with everyone.  Thanks to Anna and Megan for instructing us, and facilitating all champions in exchanging frontline working experiences and providing a platform for mutual learning and sharing.  Special thanks to Cynthia, Gina and the Chester Village team for the hospitality and the case presentation.”

Meghan Crandall, MGH facilitator, added, “We wanted to send a huge thank you to Cynthia and Gina for hosting us at Chester Village. The case study was a perfect example of how consistent surveillance and maintaining a low threshold for testing can catch a positive case quickly, and proper PPE use can prevent transmission to other residents (even if a staff member is working with many others). The format used to create a timeline is so helpful and is a great reference tool for potential outbreaks during a second wave.”