Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Covenant’s frontline healthcare workers across Alberta have faced unimaginable pressures and challenges. Despite the uncertainties and demands, they continue to show up with compassion, determination and the best care possible for patients, families and our community – sometimes sacrificing their own emotional and physical wellbeing to do so.
Recognizing the tremendous job frontline workers do day-in and day-out to fight a seemingly unrelenting and sometimes unpredictable enemy, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) partnered with 39 hospital foundations like ours to create Operation Frontline Impact and provide vital support for those who have experienced incredible stress on the frontlines while resiliently protecting our community.
Intended to bring hope and healing to frontline workers, Operation Frontline Impact has provided much-needed support through online 50/50 proceeds to the participating hospital foundations across Alberta. In 2021, funds from the 50/50 raffles for the first two Edmonton Oilers games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs were dedicated to the initiative, with the money raised for our foundation supporting specialized programs and services for Covenant Health’s dedicated frontline teams and staff.
"We are incredibly grateful to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation for their generous gift. We appreciate this continued recognition of the importance of the health and wellbeing of our frontline healthcare workers,” says Geoff Hoeppner, corporate director of occupational health, safety and wellness at Covenant Health. “Our staff give so much of themselves to support our patients, residents and each other. This funding has furthered vital resources such as mental health supports and counselling for our teams, particularly as they continue navigating these difficult times.”
In response to the unique pressures of the pandemic, Covenant Health identified psychological health and safety as strategic priorities. With the funds received from Operation Frontline Impact, several initiatives have been introduced to help improve mental health and wellbeing for Covenant Health staff including:
- Take Five – a specialized tool to help staff embrace calmness during high-pressure moments. By taking five specific steps – notice the cue, notice something new, notice the body, notice the breath and notice now – frontline staff are encouraged to find time for mindfulness amidst busy days.
- The BlueZone challenge – a specialized program that involves a series of steps encouraging staff to make balanced lifestyle choices. The challenge is based on the Blue Zone philosophy that there are five areas in the world classified as blue zones (areas where people live on average longer, happier and healthier lives). In line with this, Covenant Health introduced more plant-based food options for staff in on-site cafeterias in the Grey Nuns and Misericordia Hospitals. Participating cafeterias also placed blue stickers on plant-based food options and displayed signs encouraging workers to ask about Blue Zones.
- Mental Health First Aid training – a specialized course now being offered for Covenant staff. This two-day training course, hosted by the Canadian Mental Health Association, teaches individuals how to help provide initial support to someone who may be developing or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps staff care for patients and colleagues at work, as well as loved ones in their personal lives.
- Team Care and crisis management – specialized services, in partnership with Homewood Health, which have been introduced to support teams who feel they are struggling. The service helps provide a professional who can speak with the team to help them navigate challenges and strengthen their team bond.
- Homewood Health webinars – opportunities for individuals and teams to participate in personal development sessions. Webinars include topics such as financial management and strategies for working through negativity.
Covenant Health also looks forward to hiring a psychological health and wellness manager, and a wellness advisor to further research strategic tactics that will help staff live more balanced lifestyles and better care for themselves and their patients and residents.
“The generosity of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation through Operation Frontline Impact is unparalleled,” says Katherine Captain, vice president of philanthropy at Covenant Foundation. “We’re so grateful to the foundation and Oil Country fans across Alberta for helping our frontline heroes get the supports they need to better care for themselves and their patients amidst the most challenging of times.”
The EOCF is a proud supporter of Oil Country and has been contributing to the community’s success since 2001. Since its inception, the foundation has given over $86 million to more than 2,900 charities, community groups and minor hockey groups throughout northern Alberta.
No stranger to partnering with Covenant Foundation, the EOCF gave a generous $50,000 gift to our foundation in 2019 to help support Covenant Health’s Foster Care Clinic at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. Their tremendous generosity helped meet the needs of the 2,000 children and teens supported by the clinic annually at that time, providing supplies such as food, clothing, toiletries and transportation.
Whether supporting frontline healthcare workers or the patients and families they care for, specialized programs and services like these are made possible thanks to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation that continues to set the standard for what life-changing community leadership looks like.
Written by: Tara Joyce
To help us continue to support the greatest needs for Covenant’s frontline teams and patients, please visit our donation page and give today.