Fighting COVID-19 with pride and purpose

May 26, 2020

It’s no secret during the coronavirus pandemic long-term care (LTC) facilities and retirement homes have been hit the hardest.

When Dr. Stephanie Klein, a Family and Community Medicine physician at North York General Hospital (NYGH), heard the plea for health care workers to volunteer assisting staff and providing testing in long-term cares homes, she didn’t hesitate to jump in. “From the beginning I’ve felt a strong desire to help in the long-term care sector, so rather than fearing COVID19, I felt quite the opposite,” says Dr. Klein. “I felt a sense of pride and purpose knowing that we could step in to support our community partners in need.”

In the earliest days of COVID-19, one of North York General’s first steps to tackle the disease was to connect with community partners to ensure a united front by working together and lending out expertise.

Dr. Klein has always had a passion for geriatric care, so stepping up to help older adults during this pandemic undoubtedly made sense.

“Seniors are a group who have contributed so much to society throughout their lives, and they are also the group in greatest need of our help now, says Dr. Klein.

Along with helping seniors, Dr. Klein felt compelled to lend a helping hand to her peers – the hardworking staff in these LTC homes. She observed tremendous teamwork and dedication from the LTC staff and felt an awe-inspiring sense of unity, working as though they are all in this together to protect vulnerable seniors.

“The most impactful moment for me is the look of relief on the faces of the staff when they see the team from NYGH arriving to provide support,” says Dr. Klein.” Spending the afternoon working side-by-side together and seeing how kind, gentle and compassionate they are with the residents, despite the stress they are under, has been one of the more inspiring moments of my career thus far.”

NYGH’s Department of Family and Community Medicine has collectively stepped up to serve our patients in the community and keep people well and supported at home. “I couldn’t be more proud,” says Dr. Klein. “Many of us have volunteered to support LTC homes, staff the Branson site Assessment Centre and provide follow-up phone calls to patients who test positive for COVID-19. It’s a time when family doctors are shining, and I know I speak for many when I say how grateful we are to be a part of this effort.”