After more than two years fighting a pandemic that never seemed to end, Lakeridge Health staff and physicians took the time to give themselves a virtual pat on the back at last week’s 2022 Annual General Meeting.
“This past year, despite the many challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, team members came together every day to ensure that patients received high-quality care when they needed it most and supported one another during some of the most difficult days they have ever experienced,” said Sharon Cochran, outgoing Chair of the Lakeridge Health Board of Trustees.
“The pandemic has tested us in so many ways, but what it has shown us is that when we work together, we can achieve so much,” added President and CEO Cynthia Davis. “I am excited by what lies ahead, and I look forward to seeing what more we can all accomplish together in the year to come.”
Some of the accomplishments over the 2021/2022 fiscal year were:
- Continuing the pandemic response through COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics and virtual urgent care centres, as well as opening a new COVID-19 Therapeutic Clinic to deliver the new COVID-19 treatment, Paxlovid.
- Launching a new, digital clinical information system, Epic, simultaneously alongside six partner hospital organizations across Central East Ontario.
- Opening the new long-term care home, Lakeridge Gardens. This 320-bed state-of-the-art home was completed in record time through the Ontario government’s Accelerated Build Pilot Program, and in partnership with PCL Construction and Infrastructure Ontario.
Dr. Tony Stone, the hospital’s Chief of Staff, said that it’s “hard to believe” that two years in staff members were still dealing with waves three, four, five, and six of the pandemic this year. “Our teams, fatigued as they were, continued to deliver the care that Durham Region needed, despite growing health human resources and capacity challenges. Their resolve, their dedication, and their ability to care for those in need in a time of crisis have been remarkable.”
The AGM was also a time to honour Dr. Dan Ricciuto, the Lakeridge Health Chief and Medical Director of both Quality and Patient Experience and of Infection Prevention and Control. Ricciuto was celebrated as the recipient of the organization’s 2021/2022 Local Health Care Hero Award.
“Dr. Ricciuto has been a champion for vulnerable populations throughout the entire pandemic,” said Stone. “He has advocated for effective infection, prevention, and control practices, and for Durham Region community members to receive vaccinations in a timely and accessible way. He has worked tirelessly to review data and best practices to ensure everyone is protected and receives the best care options. His actions have saved countless lives in Durham Region and have protected staff and physicians during an ever-changing situation.”
The board also thanked six departing Board members – including outgoing Board Chair Cochran – and welcomed new members.
“We are so grateful to Sharon for her unwavering commitment to Lakeridge Health,” said Davis. “To date, Sharon has served eight years on the Lakeridge Health Board of Trustees and four years as Chair and will continue to stay on as a Board member. We look forward to working with incoming Board Chair Cordelia Clarke Julien.”
Attendees also paused to remember Board member Jeff Beaton, who died in September 2021.
“Lakeridge Health’s strength is truly our people,” noted Cynthia. “To each and every staff member, physician, volunteer, and partner, thank you. Together, we remain unwavering in achieving our vision of One System. Best Health.”
With five hospitals, four emergency departments, three critical care units, a long-term care home, a full range of medical and surgical specialties, and more than 20 community health-care locations, Lakeridge Health offers some of the broadest and most comprehensive range of acute care, ambulatory care, and long-term care services in Ontario.