Welcoming you to LHSC during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kelsey Hammet joined the LHSC as an entrance control officer in July 2020

Kelsey Hammet joined the LHSC as an entrance control officer in July 2020.

May 27, 2021

When arriving at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients, visitors/care partners, staff and physicians are all welcomed by Entrance Control Officers and Greeters. Working at LHSC entrances, the screening team ensures infection prevention practices, universal masking and visitor policy requirements are being followed to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

The Screening Department’s team of 160 members are the first people patients, visitors/care givers, LHSC staff and physicians see at the entrances ensuring established policies for entry are consistently followed. Entrance control at LHSC has presented numerous challenges for helping the community understand and adapt to changes in accessing LHSC’s sites. At this point in the pandemic, the team has completed over two million screens, supporting over 39,000 staff and physicians, 10,400 patients and 3,600 visitor/care partner screens on a weekly basis.

The screening team continues to build upon the successful foundation developed by Scott Ketchabaw and many redeployed hospital employees, taking pride in supporting the community though the pandemic. The team has been challenged as hospital policies have adjusted frequently to support safe access to LHSC sites.

“We’ve had confrontations at the doors. People are frustrated and tired. We understand,” explains Emily Hahn-Trnka, manager. “It’s frustrating for people accompanying friends and loved ones, bringing them from far away and not having anywhere to go or being able to use the facilities while they wait.”

As an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the screening team is dealing first hand with the frustration the community is facing with the restrictions at this time. Kelsey Hammett, an entrance control officer since July 2020 sees the frustration first hand. “It can be challenging not letting somebody in even though you want to because we are following the rules to keep people safe. We have a lot of tough conversations,” says Hammett.

“We understand everyone is frustrated. The rules are there but we work with people on a case by case basis to ensure it is implemented fairly,” explains Hammett. She enjoys being able to assist patients and visitors/care givers connect with the floors and clinical care teams to get the access to the floor when it’s necessary. “It can seem like you’re just asking questions, but really it’s more than that, you’re really helping people,” she says.

With a background in Human Resources, Hammett has found the work interesting as it changes every day. “It’s been pretty great, even if you think you know what’s going to happen, things change and happen to make every day interesting,” Hammett says. Although it is a large team, to Hammett it feels like a small team that is supportive of one another.

By forging relationships with clinical departments, the team supports positive patient and visitor experience upon arrival at LHSC’s sites. They work collaboratively to ensure practices are evaluated and improved upon to best support changing requirements.

They also work closely with clinical areas to react quickly to the many scenarios that present at the entrances, ensuring patients and visitors are properly supported at entry and their visit is managed to minimize risks if they are symptomatic or COVID-19 positive.

“Entrance control is a very emotional position and can be really tough,” explains Hahn-Trnka. “The team is extremely resilient, and I’m very proud of them.” Hahn-Trnka mentions how the team has seen many team members take on other roles at LHSC and are now currently looking for new staff members. For more information on Entrance Control Officer of Greeter positions, visit the LHSC Careers page.