The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative partners participate in an emergency and pandemic virtual tabletop exercise

The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative partners participate in an emergency and pandemic virtual tabletop exercise
ORANGEVILLE, ON – September 1, 2020 – Recently the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Ontario Health Team partners met together to do a virtual tabletop exercise in emergency and pandemic planning. The exercise was led by the County of Dufferin, Dufferin County Paramedic Services and Headwaters Health Care Centre.
Over 30 people participated in the simulated exercise designed for partners to test their emergency plans and procedures in relation to an infectious disease pandemic. The virtual event, held over several hours, focused on a pandemic, with ‘mock’ outbreaks declared in various congregate settings, the hospital and schools as well as shortages of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing issues and severe weather warnings all evolving throughout the exercise.
A full debrief of the event will be held soon. In the meantime, the partners committed to participating in future exercises to ensure readiness and opportunities for additional emergency preparedness training.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the Collaborative’s first real test and partnerships have been strengthened over the past number of months. One positive outcome has been a regional approach to sourcing and purchasing personal protective equipment for partners. The process is being project managed temporarily by a member of the Headwaters’ team and the County of Dufferin is supplying the storage space for all partners. This way, all partners can benefit from economies of scale, when purchasing PPE.
The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Ontario Health Team was chosen as one of the Province’s 24 Ontario Health Teams in December 2019. The partners are working with one another to create a local system that is designed locally with patients, families, caregivers and providers to meet the needs of our specific community.
You can find out more on the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative website.
Additional Experiences from Members of the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative 
Kat Anderson, Core Group Member for the Community Wellness Council for the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative: “It was a great way to see how we all solved problems in the minute. I know they have the welfare of patients, families and caregivers in mind and it puts my mind at ease.”
Nancy Saxton, Director, Home and Community Care: “It was a great test. We have already learned so much from the COVID-19 pandemic and know there are opportunities to learn more and smooth out some of the connections that you need, in the moment.”
Sandy Critchley, Director, Quality Improvement, Planning and Performance, Headwaters Health Care Centre: “Our partners did really well. Our experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic have strengthened the already solid partnerships among local health care organizations and from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
Steve Murphy, Emergency Management Coordinator, County of Dufferin: “Building on our collective experience from COVID-19 and other emergencies, we did our best to put as many possible obstacles in front of the partners, that would simulate what could happen in reality.”
Margaret Paan, Executive Director, Bethell Hospice: “It is a cliché, but we are stronger together. There is trust, a commitment to help one another and even a willingness to pull out some creative solutions when it comes down to it.”
Tom Reid, Chief, Dufferin Paramedic Service: “We do these kinds of exercises all the time in my work. We need to be ready. We are definitely proud of how well our partners did. We know that practice does work when it comes to being ready for an emergency.”
Additional Resources
The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Website
The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Video
The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative full OHT Application
The Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Appendices
The Ontario Health Team
Media Contact on behalf of the Hills of Headwaters Collaborative Partners
Jennifer Hamilton, MA, MBA Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations, Headwaters Health Care Centre | Cell/Text: 519-278-5085| Email:


Lived Experiences