Jumping into action

Pitching in to help bridge the gaps from COVID-19

Roslyn Irvine and Dino Bratti
Roslyn Irvine and Dino Bratti

The COVID-19 pandemic threw many front-line healthcare workers into the spotlight as they worked harder than ever to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also caring for patients. But with many things in life, it takes a village to accomplish the extraordinary, and West Park has many remarkable people in its village.

From the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) department to Campus Development, several departments and countless staff members swapped their typical business casual attire for uniforms and masks as they were redeployed to environmental services, screening, infection prevention and control, recreation therapy, and more.

Employees from the AAC department were redeployed to several areas across West Park as outpatient clinics closed in the first months of the pandemic. Roslyn Irvine, Clinical Coordinator with AAC, did the rounds as she was initially redeployed to Environmental Services (housekeeping) to help with high-touch cleaning, before moving on to supporting Recreation Therapy with Chronic Assisted Ventilatory Care (CAVC) patients.

“When I was redeployed to housekeeping, it felt really good to do something practical to keep staff and patients safe,” Irvine says. “I was well supported by Paula Silvestre and other staff on her team. It helped return some normalcy and routine to my day, and it was great to catch up with colleagues in the halls I hadn’t seen in weeks.”

With the increased demand on cleaning protocols at the beginning of the pandemic, Silvestre, Environmental Services Supervisor, found herself in need of some extra hands.

“When this first hit, we knew we had to look at ways to address the increased demand in a very short span of time,” Silvestre recalls, “We thought about who we could maybe bring back out of retirement, and Dino Bratti was the first person who came to mind.”

Bratti, who retired from West Park in 2019 after 28 years working in Environmental Services, was asked to come out of retirement eight months later. He remembers being a bit hesitant to come back during a global pandemic.

“When they asked me to come back, I was a little nervous because of COVID,” Bratti recalls. “But then I thought, ‘it’s going to be safer in the hospital than in the community,’ so I agreed to come help.”

Within four days of being asked back, Bratti was working his first shift.

Since coming out of retirement, Bratti has been working part-time with Environmental Services, helping however he can. While he’s enjoyed seeing familiar staff members and the experience of working during the pandemic, he’s looking forward to his second retirement.

“It’s been an experience, but I’m ready to be done again,” Bratti laughs.

As West Park begins entering its next phases of reopening and returning to a new normal, everyone can agree that the Centre wouldn’t have made it this far without all the staff members who jumped into action to help out, wherever it was needed.