New Health in Emergencies service launched

Topics: Saskatchewan, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada
August 13, 2021

nurse in yellow gown and PPEThe Canadian Red Cross was pleased to welcome Briana Mullock, R.N., MBA, to our team in the new role of Director, Health in Emergencies for Saskatchewan in 2020-2021.
She has helped shape Red Cross emergency health interventions in the province and strengthen our surge capacity to respond to health-related issues.
One of the key accomplishments of the Health in Emergencies team, which grew to include a public health lead, was providing support to two co-located long-term care homes in Regina to help manage and contain a COVID-19 outbreak in December 2020.
At the request of the leadership of the facilities, the Red Cross deployed epidemic and prevention control experts and a team of emergency care aides to assist during the outbreak, which at its height saw eight elders and two staff members test positive for COVID-19.
Under Mullock’s leadership, and with the support of the Red Cross Operations team, the Epidemic Prevention and Control team was activated and conducted a virtual assessment, followed by an on-site assessment.
This service supported the safe adaption and implementation of protocols and enhanced the development and organization of a safe healthcare environment during the pandemic. As a result of the rapid assessment, enhancement measures were implemented by Red Cross staff over a two-day period to bolster containment efforts and prevent spread of COVID-19 at the facilities.
Following the introduction of the enhancement measures, a Red Cross Emergency Care Support team was deployed to assist in the day-to-day operations for a four-week period.
One of the important roles of the support aides was to provide companionship for the elders who were isolated in their individual rooms and unable to see family members due to the outbreak. From visiting with the elders for a chat, reading a book aloud, or playing cards to hallway bingo or sing-a-longs, support aides provided much needed interaction for the elders, while freeing up staff for those tasks that involved higher-level care.
Depending on the needs that develop in Saskatchewan, some of the services Mullock could help to facilitate may include:
  • epidemic prevention and control, contact tracing, testing, and support to vaccination sites
  • provision of mental health and psychosocial support services
  • support to quarantine or isolation sites, and emergency field hospital or clinical surge support to local health authorities.
Mullock is also helping to build relationships to better understand health needs within the province, and provide leadership and technical expertise towards the planning, design and coordination of Red Cross interventions and services if needed.
“The team has been built and over the last year we have been creating the internal capacity to respond to any future need from communities or the province of Saskatchewan,” said Mullock.

2020-2021 Saskatchewan Report Back to the Community
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