gillian gravely

Volunteering to help the most vulnerable at Rekai Centres

Nearly 75 per cent of all health-care workers in Ontario are women, and every one of them is a hero! Here are just a few of their stories.

GILLIAN GRAVELY | The Rekai Centres

On April 21, Gillian Gravely, an advanced practice nurse educator (APNE) at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, began a voluntary redeployment to Rekai Centres long-term care facility. “Having worked the front line through SARS, I always thought another deadly virus could come along at some stage — but never to the extent of COVID-19 and its unimaginable global impact,” says Gravely. As an APNE, her role is to keep staff updated with best practices around personal protective equipment and also provide support and understanding of their anxiety and concerns. She is providing that same coaching and support at Rekai Centres. “When I learned about what was happening in long-term care, with no visitors allowed on top of being short staffed, I was horrified. These residents are someone’s mum, dad or neighbour — and our most vulnerable population.” So when the University Health Network, which includes Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, put out an appeal to staff to help, Gravely stepped forward. “I volunteered because, if I can at least support and improve the care of just a few people, I have helped to make a difference,” she says. The nightly 7:30 p.m. noisy salute on Gravely’s street is one gesture that warms her heart after a tough day. “But what is even more inspiring is the resilience of humanity. Globally we are all in this together, and the kindness and generosity is connecting us all,” Gravely says. “I do believe we will get through this.”

Article exclusive to TRNTO