Providing Security during the COVID-19 pandemic

 Rob Kneeshaw has been providing security to the Agriplex Vaccination Centre since it opened in December 2020.

Rob Kneeshaw has been providing security to the Agriplex Vaccination Centre since it opened in December 2020.

June 28, 2021

The security team at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) provides a variety of support including conducting routine, preventative patrols, safety care support plans for inpatients and staff, parking enforcement, and responding to codes. During the COVID-19 pandemic the team has continued to perform their daily work with some additional changes to help keep everyone safe.

“LHSC is a busy organization. We usually spend our days in security going from call to call, providing patient care support and emergency response,” says Rob Kneeshaw, security guard at LHSC for 27 years currently working at the Western Fairgrounds Agriplex Vaccination Centre. “Like everyone else, the pandemic has added work and variations to our daily schedule. We’ve all come together as a team – nursing, medical staff, security – everyone. It’s been a really good experience, especially from the teamwork aspect.”

While the team has seen a decrease in codes being called, especially for helping locate patients who may have wandered out of the area, they are now helping enforce the visitor restrictions, supporting the screening teams, and ensuring physical distancing is respected throughout the organization.

The team is helping educate patients, care givers, staff and physicians about the physical distancing rule, and conducting extra rounds to help ensure safety. While most people are understanding, they have experienced tense moments ensuring safety measures are followed. “There’s been a lot of COVID-19 exhaustion and frustration, especially at the entrances,” says Chris Askew, a manager of the Security Team.

Kneeshaw sees how this pandemic differs from previous years. “I was here during H1N1 and SARS, this one is completely different than those two. It has been the most troubling from stress and anxiety point of view,” he explains highlighting the variability of who contracts the disease, who is asymptomatic and the serious variations of it. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, especially where we are heavily involved with the patient population.”

Despite the uncertainty and anxiety, Askew notes how strong the morale has been among the team. “They know the importance of their jobs and they are really feeling part of the LHSC team in the role they play, this is especially true at the vaccination centre, they feel a part of history,” says Askew.

At the Agriplex the team is supporting the staff and physicians, retrieving the vaccine from the fridges, escorting the staff with the vaccine, monitoring the freezer temperatures, and perimeter control. “We help enforce the policies of no photos or videos to ensure the privacy of patients and staff and physicians,” explains Kneeshaw.

Kneeshaw has seen the positive impact of the vaccine while working at the Agriplex Vaccination site. “Seeing the vaccine rollout is a positive feeling, like we are coming out of this and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.” He references the joy and optimism on the faces of clients when they leave the site. “You get people coming in here who may be initially nervous, anxious or uncertain but when they leave they’re taking selfies and seem quite happy and joyful,” he says.

For Askew, the security team has embodied the LHSC’s values of teamwork and compassion. “They’ve done so well at supporting each other, looking out for each other and supporting our patients, staff and physicians,” says Askew. This includes the transfer of information to each other at shift change, being vigilant in properly wearing their PPE, and responding to calls. The security team at LHSC has been supporting patients, care givers, staff and physicians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.