RCHS pivots to continue to serve clients during pandemic


With Ontario now in Phase 3 of reopening, the Rideau Community Health Services (RCHS) is looking forward to welcoming more clients back into their health centres.

RCHS CEO, Michele Bellows, says that, as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, the organization was able to adapt quickly to offer most of their services and programs online. “We pivoted really quickly to take advantage of virtual care,” she says.

Working with their community partners has been key to ensuring the RCHS can continue to offer their services. Sustainable Merrickville-Wolford has been a great support for the Merrickville District Community Health Centre’s food bank and has played an integral role in making sure people in the Merrickville area have access to nutritious food. “It’s really quite amazing the response,” Michele says.

In preparation for welcoming more people back into their centres, the RCHS went through a detailed risk assessment to ensure they are able to offer their programs and services in a way that is safe for clients and staff. This includes working with all program coordinators, doctors, and other healthcare professionals, to ensure that they are able to maintain physical distancing in waiting rooms, proper PPE is available, and strict cleaning practices are in place. Michele says the risk assessment is a living document which they will continue to modify to meet the needs of the community.

While no one hoped for a pandemic, the situation has pushed the organization to adapt and be creative with how they are offering their services. Michele says many of their clients are really appreciating the ability to connect with their clinicians safely from their home. “I can’t say more about how awesome my team has been,” she says. “It’s amazing what has evolved because we were forced to.”


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