North of Superior Healthcare Group (NOSH) includes a large geographical area over which 7,500 residents are distributed. The two hospital facilities are 80km from one another, serving a total catchment area stretching 200km along the north shore of Lake Superior. NOSH is a small corporation with limited budget and human resources.
There are a limited number of hospital beds which meant the small community could have easily been overwhelmed by the pandemic. NOSH looked to the community to come together to combine planning efforts in order to prevent the worst case scenarios for the COVID-19 pandemic.
- NOSH and a small group of partners began weekly community huddles on March 3 to build a collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The huddles were based on the premise that good things happen when community partners get together and talk.
- No ToR but worked together for a single outcome – a healthy community
- The huddles grew through word of mouth.
- Some of the participants included the hospitals, 2 Family Health Teams, 3 municipalities, 3 First Nation communities, schools, mental health, industry, shelters, peer support, and more.
- With limited resources and a large geography, huddles created opportunities to link together, share resources and practices.
- Many innovations occurred within the huddles, for example, an Environmental Services Manager became an informal consultant for community partners in implementing Infection Prevention and Control measures.
- Able to plan for congregated work sites that drive the local economy such as a pulp mill and gold mine; support hundreds of workers to continue safely on the job during the pandemic.
- Each community organization contributed their unique lens and expertise focusing on everything from social connections, educational access, and commercial needs to maintain essential services.
- The area includes industry work where hundreds of external contractors enter the community. Despite this, the North of Superior catchment has managed to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19 to date (as of October 2020).
- NOSH identified need to collaborate.
- Reached out to community partners.
- Facilitated huddles through new web platform.
- More community members joined through relationships.
- North of Superior partners continue to huddle and plan for prevention.
For more information on the Community Huddles to Maintain Community Health, contact Adam Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org