oneVCH COVID-19 Bulletin
May 8, 2020
Bulletins are also available on the COVID-19 section of our VCH staff intranet.
Minister of Health's message on surgical renewal

On March 16, 2020, we made the difficult decision to postpone non-urgent scheduled surgeries to ensure capacity in our hospitals to address COVID-19 patient needs. I made a commitment at the time to those who had their surgery postponed that you would not be forgotten. You are the centre of all we are doing in surgical renewal.

We’ve never launched such a massive surgical renewal before. From readying our hospitals, making sure we can handle both surgical renewal and the needs of COVID-19 patients, to building the teams of health professionals these surgeries require, and making sure it all comes together in the safest way possible for patients and providers; it is as complicated as it is unprecedented.

Making the changes outlined in this plan will achieve our first target of significantly increasing the number of surgeries performed beyond pre-COVID-19 levels. This will enable us to keep up with new demands for surgery and complete the surgeries lost to COVID-19 within approximately 17 to 24 months. This timeline is based on actions we can put in place; however, it is highly vulnerable to external forces over which we have much less control. As Dr. Henry and health officials around the globe have indicated, we are likely to see a second wave of COVID-19 this fall that will again impact our hospitals and surgeries performed.

Surgical renewal has begun. We’re determining the priorities and what surgeries can be done most safely at this time. We’re making sure that those patients needing surgery most will have their surgery scheduled first. We’re taking care to do it right, to learn and adapt as we go. We’re giving it the same 100% effort we’ve made in addressing COVID-19. Everyone involved across the health-care system and across the province is all-in on surgical renewal.


  • On May 8, the Ministry of Health confirmed 29 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. for a total of 2,315 cases in the province. 
  • Of these cases, 1,579 have fully recovered.
  • The total number of confirmed deaths is 127.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health had 866 cases.
Click here to see the BC COVID-19 Dashboard

If you receive a media inquiry or see media at any of our locations, please contact our Public Affairs team. Our media line is 604-202-2012 or email
Reimagining the new normal – we want to hear from you! 

Over the past few weeks, we have come together to focus our efforts on the COVID-19 pandemic. We have faced loss and challenging situations, but we have also seen remarkable examples of innovation, creativity and quick collaboration.
We have seen how you have responded to changing priorities, while ensuring patient, client and resident safety, and how you adapted to new roles and responsibilities. Many of you quickly moved to remote or flexible work environments where possible to follow physical distancing and work from home recommendations from public health.
Now, as we enter into a new phase of the pandemic, we are considering what our future might look like in the coming weeks and months. This is an opportunity for you to reimagine our new normal and leverage learnings about new ways of working to help transform the employee experience and make VCH a great place to work.
If you have worked from home or would have liked to work from home during the pandemic, we want to hear from you! Please fill out the Working Remotely – Employee Experience Survey.
This confidential survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and is open until 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2020.
Minoru staff help mother and daughter stay connected

Looking for ways to make your mom feel special this Mother's Day? There are lots of safe ways to show you care without a face-to-face without, such as a phone call, a virtual visit or even a window visit/phone call combination.

The story below is about a mother and daughter who have gotten creative to make sure they connect during the pandemic. 

Every other day, resident Marci gets a special visitor. Her daughter, Nancy, rides her bike to Minoru to have a chat with mom through the ground-floor window. It's an opportunity for connection—one that Marci looks forward to.

“These visits are really important, because then you don't lose contact," she says. “I know what the family doing every day and how they're coping."

Nancy shares the same feelings around the importance of these visits.

“I am her contact with the outside world and someone who can help her celebrate these relationships that she has nurtured over the years. They're short, seemingly insignificant moments that bring meaning to life."

With many group activities postponed, recreation assistants like Jodie Jackman have become connection facilitators—helping residents connect via cell phone through the window or setting up Facetime calls.

“We're getting creative with how we can best support our residents and their families during this time," she says. “Facilitating the connection of residents with family and friends virtually has been very rewarding and created a unique opportunity to get to know both the residents and their loved ones on a very deep and emotional level."

Read the full story on VCH News here.

Virtual health support & solutions

As VCH begins to shift to imagine our “new normal,” it gives us the opportunity to think about the changes we’ve implemented over the past two months and what we’d like to bring with us as we transition into our recovery plans.
The uptake of virtual solutions to support patients, clinical teams, physicians, and staff during the pandemic has demonstrated the appetite and desire to integrate virtual health across our organization.
Whether you’re already using virtual health or would like to learn more about how you can transition to supporting more virtual tools in your work, our Virtual Health team is here to provide support. You can learn more about the virtual health tools at or by contacting
Starting today, we will regularly feature common questions frequently asked by staff and medical staff. Topics will vary.

Q&A: Connecting with family

Can I hug my mother on Mother’s Day?

This weekend is Mother’s Day and a time to celebrate and honour someone important to us. We can all do something special for our mothers, whether they are near or far, in your household bubble or not.

For now, avoid any close physical contact, unless your mother is in your immediate household. And if your mother is older, awaiting surgery or has an underlying illness, celebrate at a safe distance. Give your mother the gift of staying safe and healthy. There are lots of safe ways to show you care without a face-to-face without, such as a phone call, a virtual visit or even a window visit/phone call combination.

What are some ways to support residents during COVID-19 visitor restrictions?
  • Encourage connection with the patient or resident though their room phone or personal device, with texting, video call such as FaceTime, Skype, Facebook messenger or Zoom meetings.
  • Suggest a family member bring any important patient/client/resident items to the main entrance, in a bag clearly marked with the patient’s name and room number. Encourage them to choose wisely as the fewer items brought in means the fewer germs go back home.
  • Ask family members if there is anything important they want to share about the patient to help improve care plans.
  • Create a plan for when patients and families may call for updates or when they will be contacted by a staff member.
  • Consider family meetings via telephone, including the appropriate family member during bedside shift report and rounding. Please be flexible with requests to use personal audio and video devices to bring families who are not allowed to visit into conversations such as medical updates, shared decision making, and discharge planning.
Diary of a day: Sunny, Nurse Practitioner

In celebration of Nursing Week, nurses from across Vancouver Coastal Health are taking us along for their shift — giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the important work they do, alongside their interdisciplinary teams, to care for our patients, clients and residents.

Sunny Khangura, a Nurse Practitioner (NP) at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), works in the Neurosurgery Department at VGH with a diverse and highly skilled group of surgeons, residents, nursing, allied staff, educators and leadership team members. On any given day, Sunny and her team care for patients with a multitude of neurological complexities from various types of brain bleeds to patients with a wide range of brain tumours making her role as an NP varied and dynamic.

Sunny recently took us along for one of her shifts — documenting her day to give us a behind-the-scenes look at her role.

Read Sunny's story here.
Coffee break with IPAC

Do you have questions about infection control topics? Tune in on Wednesday, May 13 from 2:30 to 3 p.m. for a coffee break chat with Andrew Hurlburt and Amira Imamovic-Buljubasic. They’ll be answering your questions about Aerosol Generating Medical Procedures (AGMPs), in third second installment of weekly webcasts hosted by Infection Prevention and Control, Clinical Education and Learning Technologies.

Tune in Wednesdays using the following link: If prompted for a password, enter 1234.

Unable to join live? The presentation will be uploaded to the IPAC site following the event, and questions we couldn’t get to will be answered. Recordings of previous sessions focusing on PPE and testing can be found there too, under Coffee with Infection Control.

Relaxation meditation video for staff and physicians

Could you use a short break to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance self-awareness and focus on your overall emotional health? Bodhi Meditation is pleased to provide a free hour-long relaxation meditation to help health-care workers cope with anxiety and stress, as well as fatigue, during this time. The teachings are based on Master JinBodhi’s meditation methodology and the ancient Eastern philosophy of compassion, an understanding of humanity’s inter-connectivity and its inseparability from the natural world. You can access the one hour free Bodhi Relaxation Meditation Video here. Enjoy!

For more information, please contact Arlene Kroeker LingHu (Program Director) at or visit their website.
Additional employee wellness services and resources

Care-mongering ideas from the field: From the hearts of children 

Today’s “Care-mongering: Ideas from the Field” feature comes from Phides, an Administrative Support Coordinator at George Pearson Centre. 
Phides sends us photos of posters created by the staff’s children and families who are remaining home in service of flattening that curve. The works of art are posted throughout the facility to encourage and appreciate the efforts of our frontline staff.   
Not only are the posters filled with love and admiration for our everyday heroes, they also show how much children are learning about the good habits we need to form in order to be safe from the virus. Thank you for sharing these rays of hope!

Thank you for sharing these care mongering stories please send any other examples of care-mongering or coping tips to and we will continue to broadly share your highlights through this bulletin. Take a moment to let us know what’s working for you – it may be just what someone needs to get through their day!


For suggestions or feedback on Caring for our Community & Caring for Ourselves, please contact the People+Culture team at

To contact Employee Wellness/EFAP, please visit or email us at To get started with one of our services, please fill out this form.

Having recently written about how as the pandemic controls loosen a little we need to embrace some peace, I am mindful that we are also right on the cusp of rediscovering many things. Some of us may feel like we are awakening from an almost hypnotic trance associated with working feverishly for so long. Others of us who have been shut off at home may feel like they are awakening from a hibernation. But both groups of individuals have experienced being denied many formerly familiar things. There has been what we might call a communal cut off from social encounters of all kinds – sports, theatre, concerts, barbecues with friends, extended family dinners, shopping at our favourite stores and the list goes on.

Whether we feel like a bear coming out of hibernation or like a hummingbird that has been flitting so fast that we can barely catch our breath, we have missed out on our normal familiar patterns. It is like we have been away from the world or it has been away from us. It has all felt quite surreal. I think our re-entry may also feel a little odd as we re-discover people, places and activities. This could be a very good thing. I am put in mind of the words of the great T.S. Eliot who once penned the following:

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we first started and know the place for the first time.

So we may be transitioning from that which was disturbingly surreal to that which is pleasantly surreal. It will indeed feel odd to experience familiar things as if they are new. Just as there were moments that were sacred when we were in full fight mode with the virus, so now there may be sacred moments of re-discovery. This is in keeping with a principle often recognized but too seldom embraced. Joni Mitchell wrote of it well in her 1970s hit song Yellow Taxi.

Don't it always seem to go — That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone

Let’s savour the moments so we can remember them and learn from them as individuals, as a country and as the world. That which was gone for a spell is back. Let’s appreciate it and protect it for the future. If we do this, we will truly know the place for the first time as Eliot suggests and that would knowledge worth having.

Written by Doug Longstaffe, Profession Leader, Spiritual Care & Multifaith Services
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