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Orthopaedic unit overhauled — twice!


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Manager of Patient Care Anna-Marie Papiz and her colleagues on HSC Winnipeg’s orthopedics unit (GD2) were among the many frontline heroes at Heath and Sciences Centre. They went the extra mile during the height of COVID-19.

Papiz, a practicing nurse for over 30 years, explains that you “could be talking with a patient who seemed just fine and then an hour later they would be in serious distress and needing oxygen. We got through it because we supported each other.”

“You could be talking with a patient who seemed just fine and then an hour later they would be in serious distress and needing oxygen…we got through it because we supported each other.”

GD2 is where patients are treated before and after surgeries for back conditions, broken limbs, and other orthopaedic injuries and illnesses. In the pandemic’s earliest days, GD2 morphed into a “COVID suspect” unit for patients with COVID symptoms, regardless of their primary reason for being in hospital.

“Suddenly we were a medicine unit,” says Papiz. “It was a learning curve because these patients had different needs.” By the summer of 2020, the unit returned to orthopedics, but in the fall, they switched again. This time, GD2 became “COVID Red”. This meant we were treating patients with confirmed cases.

For Papiz, her colleagues, and health care workers everywhere, treating COVID-19 patients-especially in those early months of the pandemic-was stressful, frightening, and challenging.

Papiz also credits the unit’s performance to a shift to a “teams model of care”. This is a model adopted by many health care facilities in response to the pandemic. A teams model has people performing tasks outside of their usual duties, but still safely within their scope of practice and training. In 2021, GD2 became an orthopedic unit again, with important lessons learned for the delivery of health care going forward.

“I look at what our health care teams have accomplished in GD2 and throughout HSC, and I am in awe,” says Jonathon Lyon, President and CEO of the HSC Foundation. “It is exactly this commitment to high performance that is driving our Operation Excellence campaign. With the ongoing support of Manitobans, we will move forward to ensure that HSC personnel are equipped with the best technology and spaces so they can remain nimble and continue to provide patients with the best care possible.”

To make your gift to Operation Excellence, please visit OperationExcellence.ca, call 204-515-5612, or toll-free at 1-800-679-8493.

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