Stay Safe in Winter Weather With These Handy Tips…

Over the next few days our area is expecting winter weather that may lead to hazardous driving and outdoor walking conditions.  Please use extreme caution and stay safe.

For an upcoming weather forecast, please click on link below:

AAA recommends the following tips while driving in snowy and icy conditions:

Cold Weather Driving Tips

  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a windo scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.

Tips for Driving in Snow or Ice

  • Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
  • Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Winter Slip/ Trip/Fall Prevention

  • Use special care when getting in and out of vehicles. Try to park your vehicle in a clear area and watch where you step as you get in or out.

Snow and ice can build up between parked vehicles in lots under continuous use. Beware of icy conditions between parked cars!

  • Keep you arms and hand free.

Avoid walking with your hands in your pockets to help with balance. Avoid carrying items if at all possible.

  • Scan the path six or more feet ahead of you for trip hazards.

Make sure your route ahead is clear of hazards such as rocks, clumps of snow, or a stray branch.

  • Walk slowly and take small steps.

Walk slowly and take small steps to help you maintain your balance and lessen the danger of your feet slipping out from beneath you.

  • Wear appropriate winter footwear that has slip-resistant soles.

As the name indicates, slip-resistant soles lessen your chance of slipping on ice, snow, or water.

  • DON’T RUSH! Give yourself sufficient time to get where you need to go.

Whether walking or driving, leave your current location early in case roads and sidewalks are covered with snow and ice.

  • If you do happen to slip, try to avoid using your arms to break your fall.

Also, if you fall backward, tuck your chin into your chest to prevent hitting your head against the ground.

  • Watch out for black ice when walking.
  • Black ice from freezing mists or from snow melting and refreezing can form very quickly. If not, find another route to take.
  • Use your vehicle for support when entering and exiting.

If you’re parked in a potentially slick area, be sure to hold onto your car when entering and exiting so you can maintain your balance.

  • When entering a building, be sure to wipe your feet.

Removing as much snow and water as possible from your shoes will decrease your chance of slipping when walking around inside.

  • REPORT SLIPPERY CONDITIONS!

Call engineering during normal business hours or Security on off shifts to report the location of slippery conditions!

SJMAA, SJML & SJMC COVID-19 TESTING SITE UPDATE

St. Joe’s Ann Arbor and Chelsea to go live with online scheduling for COVID-19 testing on January 26; St. Joe’s Livingston and Brighton will follow on Feb. 8 – pre-procedural patients to be tested at Brighton.

On January 26, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Chelsea will open an online scheduling system for community members with COVID-19 symptom(s) interested in being tested for the virus. To better meet demand for testing and create ease of registration, community members should visit stjoeshealth.org/covid19 to schedule a time to be tested for COVID-19. Testing is provided to anyone with at least one symptom of COVID-19.

On February 8, a COVID-19 testing site will open at St. Joe’s Brighton Suite 114 for pre-procedural patients only. The testing site will also have online scheduling. Brighton hours are Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,  8 a.m. – 12 p.m. The Brighton testing site will be closed on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. For scheduling assistance and other questions, please call (810) 844-7136 during the hours of operation.

St. Joe’s Livingston will also go live with online COVID-19 scheduling on Feb. 8.

Because online scheduling will be available, appointments will be strongly encouraged at all sites. Signage will be posted at each symptomatic testing site (which does not include Brighton) to direct people to register from their smartphone in their vehicle or call for assistance if they have not previously scheduled an appointment online. Knowing that the appointment process will be new, testing sites will be flexible with community members who have not scheduled an appointment prior to arrival.

Black Men in White Coats Film Screening and Live Q&A Session with Film’s Creator

As we prepare to celebrate Black History Month, the Diversity and Inclusion Council at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is pleased to offer free virtual film screenings of Black Men in White Coats to colleagues across Trinity Health Michigan. This documentary explores the systemic barriers that prevent black men from becoming medical doctors, and has received national attention on outlets such as The Today Show, Forbes, and NPR.

The film’s description states, “Fed up with the lack of diversity among doctors, a medical doctor sets out to explore why only 2% of American doctors are black men and what that means for society.”

We will offer virtual film screenings of Black Men in White Coats on demand from Feb. 1 – 5. For an admission code, please submit a request at www.surveymonkey.com/r/BMIWC.

On Friday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m., we will also host a live virtual Q&A session with Dale Okorodudu, MD, the film’s creator. Dr. Okorodudu is passionate about increasing the number of black men in medical school, and will spend time discussing his experiences and answering colleagues’ questions.

We are honored to offer this experience to our colleagues, and encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity for learning and reflection.

SJMAA, SJML & SJMC iBelong Diversity and Inclusion Survey – Jan. 18 – 30


Now more than ever, we are called to work together to achieve greater equity in the workplace and in the health care we provide. This will require a renewed understanding and commitment to our Mission, Core Values and Vision. It will take all of us actively working together.   The 2021 iBelong Diversity and Inclusion Survey, which we will conduct from Jan. 18 – 30 is a vital opportunity to gather your feedback, concerns and suggestions on how to create a truly inclusive, diverse culture where everyone can thrive.

Please take about 10 minutes to share your input:   St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, Livingston, Brighton and Canton colleagues can take the brief, confidential survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/stjoesibelong   St. Joe’s Chelsea colleagues can participate in the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/chelseadi

Lori Marie Key, SMML RN, to Sing at National COVID-19 Memorial for Biden Inauguration Activities

A nationwide COVID-19 memorial is being held tomorrow to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, the night before Inauguration Day. We are honored to share that Lori Marie Key, an RN at St. Mary Mercy Livonia, will sing as part of the ceremony. The memorial will feature a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, and cities and towns are invited to illuminate buildings and ring church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET that day as part of a national moment of unity and remembrance. For more details and to watch, click here.

We Want to Thank You! 76% of Colleagues Vaccinated with First of Two Doses

A big thank you to all our colleagues who have eagerly sought to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. You have become some of the first across the country, even the world, to be vaccinated!

We are proud to report that as of Monday, January 18, 76% colleagues across Mercy Health and St. Joe’s have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As our colleagues have been returning for their second dose, or full course of the COVID-19 vaccine, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will provide up to 95% protection from COVID19 within a week or so after the second dose.

Although we are challenged by limited supply, clinics are prioritizing vaccinating our returning colleagues to ensure maximum protection. Colleagues are advised to receive their second dose within 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna of their first shot. If the second dose is delayed, it is still felt to be effective, but should be obtained as early as possible.

In the clinical trials, fewer patients complained of arm pain at the injection site with their second dose, but more people felt fatigue, had muscle achiness and chills with the second dose than with their first dose. Our own experience with Trinity Health Michigan colleagues who have received both doses is about the same. In all cases, symptoms have rapidly improved.

If you have not yet received your initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine, please be patient.

The COVID-19 vaccine, while not mandatory, is in high demand among our communities with very limited supply. We are working diligently with local health departments and the state of Michigan to roll out vaccines in a safe and equitable manner.

76% of Colleagues Vaccinated

Cardiothoracic surgeon Manak Sood, MD, IHA Chief of Surgery, and Chief Clinical Officer Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD, proudly show off their 2nd dose card at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.

A big thank you to all our colleagues who have eagerly sought to receive their COVID-19 vaccines. You have become some of the first across the country, even the world, to be vaccinated!

We are proud to report that as of Monday, January 18, 76% colleagues across Mercy Health and St. Joe’s have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As our colleagues have been returning for their second dose, or full course of the COVID-19 vaccine, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will provide up to 95% protection from COVID-19 within a week or so after the second dose.

Although we are challenged by limited supply, clinics are prioritizing vaccinating our returning colleagues to ensure maximum protection. Colleagues are advised to receive their second dose within 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna of their first shot. If the second dose is delayed, it is still felt to be effective, but should be obtained as early as possible.

In the clinical trials, fewer patients complained of arm pain at the injection site with their second dose, but more people felt fatigue, had muscle achiness and chills with the second dose than with their first dose. Our own experience with Trinity Health Michigan colleagues who have received both doses is about the same. In all cases, symptoms have rapidly improved.

If you have not yet received your initial dose of COVID-19 vaccine, please be patient.

The COVID-19 vaccine, while not mandatory, is in high demand among our communities with very limited supply. We are working diligently with local health departments and the state of Michigan to roll out vaccines in a safe and equitable manner. 

iBelong Challenge Resources

We invite all colleagues to engage in the resources provided below as an opportunity to further our own learning and growth so we can work together for equity in the workplace and in the health care we provide. This resource list was curated by The RIDE (Respect, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity) group. If you have any questions about the resources shared here or would like to join The RIDE please email RIDE@stjoeshealth.org.

Act

  • Take the iBelong Diversity and Inclusion Survey from January 18 – 30.
  • Sign the I Belong Because… Banner. The banner will be displayed in the main lobby at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor from January 18 – 30.

Read

Watch

Listen

Group Discussion and Reflection Activities

  1. Ask group members to think about a time when they have interacted with a customer or colleague who was not respectful of another’s differences.
    • What did it feel like?
    • Did you do or say anything during or after the interaction?
    • What are some ways you could have addressed this situation in the future? 
    • How can we support our colleagues and customers and create a sense of belonging, in the face of hate?
  2. Ask group members to select a quote from a social justice leader and share them as a group.
    • What does the quote mean to the person who read it?
    • How do other group members feel about the quote and it’s message?
    • How do sharing these messages promote an environment of inclusivity and belonging for our colleagues and customers?
    • What would your quote of belonging?
  3. Ask group members to examine and think about their interactions at work – those they observe and those they participate in – with a perspective of belonging and acceptance. 
    • Are most of the interactions that came to mind positive or negative?
    • Is there someone at work that you know who models inclusiveness and acceptance?
    • What can you do to create a more inclusive workplace where colleagues and customers feel accepted?

We’re Getting Ready For Community Vaccinations

St. Joe’s is committed to helping vaccinate our community against COVID-19. As of today, January 11th, the State of Michigan has moved into Phase 1B of the vaccination plan, which opens vaccine access to all community members and patients age 65 and older as well as specific front-line essential workers including police officers, first responders, teachers, childcare providers and other eligible frontline workers in Phase 1B.

St. Joe’s is quickly working to complete vaccination of health care workers as we prepare to expand access to more people. There are health care workers in our communities who still need to be vaccinated and we are reaching these individuals as quickly as possible.

This week and over the coming weeks, we will begin offering vaccination opportunities for individuals in Phase 1B. This expanded group represents hundreds of thousands of newly eligible individuals. Please keep in mind that vaccine supply is allocated by the State and is still very limited. It will take time to cover everyone who is eligible.

Please Be Patient
We know that demand for the vaccine is high and that many are anxious to get theirs scheduled. We ask for your patience. Our operators, call centers and physician offices are experiencing an extremely high volume of calls regarding vaccinations. Please do not call or email St. Joe’s or your physician to schedule your appointment. We will share updates and scheduling information on our website as it becomes available. All vaccination will be by appointment only. Do NOT show up at any vaccination site without an appointment. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work toward vaccinating as many people as possible.

In the meantime, we must all continue taking essential precautions to help slow the spread of the virus. This includes wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, social distancing and limiting gatherings. Together we will stop the pandemic.  
Visit St. Joe’s Vaccine Webpage

It’s Lonely at the Top

By Jennifer Hill Buehrer LMSW

My aim in writing this column has been primarily to acknowledge and support the work of my frontline colleagues, and try to give voice to their feelings, struggles, and hopes. In a recent article I briefly mentioned the pressure and stress that our leaders are experiencing through this pandemic.  I do think it warrants looking for a moment at the experience of our leaders – especially those at the top (where I like to joke with them that the air is thinner) – and how this pandemic has affected them.  I think it’s often easy for people in my position to look and them and think, “well, that’s why they get paid the big bucks.”  But that’s really not fair. 

So they don’t have to don and doff PPE day in and day out like the staff at the bedside, or get their hands dirty in the same way – true.  But the weight on their shoulders is no lighter.  I would argue that it’s often heavier, particularly when they are deeply caring and empathic people like many of them are.  Like me, they worry about the toll this work and this pandemic is taking on their staff; but they also carry the responsibility of finding ways to help with that toll, using very limited resources.  They carry the responsibility of making cuts – including staff – in order to keep the organization as a whole afloat.  And, they have to find ways to fill the gaps when staff make the decision to leave because they just can’t do it anymore.

There is all the testing that people need and want.  There is the planning for distribution of the vaccine, and on a very quick timeline.  There is the issue of visitation rules and guidelines, and decisions about who gets an exception – knowing that these restrictions are adding to the suffering of many of our patients and their families.  I can only imagine how challenging it must be to have to balance the safety of our staff and the pressures on them, with the needs of our patients – especially the sickest ones.  And all of this is in addition to their usual tasks and pressures.  I am truly grateful that there are people who are willing and eager to take on these tremendous responsibilities.

I’ve had a couple of conversations with administrators over the past week that have refocused my thoughts on these leaders, who are affected by the pandemic in a different way.  I’ve heard about their phones and pagers keeping them tied to their work nearly 24 hours a day. Meals take place at their desks, if they take place at all.  All the meetings they have to attend are now happening online, so they don’t even get the chance to meet and support each other as they would like.  I’ve heard about the difficulty they’re having sleeping at night, and the amount of time that they have to take away from their families.  I see the fatigue and worry on their faces, most of it worry for us.  I’ve even seen tears. 

When we do get cheers and applause from our communities (admittedly sparse these days), it is directed at those at the bedside.  It is generally not directed at our leadership.  So it’s up to us to let them know how grateful we are for their sacrifices and their support.  And I don’t mind saying that I do think we should be grateful, no matter how difficult our own situation might be.  And gratitude does the most good when we put voice to it.  Think about stopping in the hall to say thank you to one of our leaders when you pass them, or dropping them a note through e-mail or interoffice mail.  The smallest gesture can go a long way in helping our leadership understand that we see them too, and their own struggles to cope with these difficult circumstances.  And it can do a lot for you too.

Jennifer Buehrer, LMSW is a palliative care social worker at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor.