With extra training, changes to how the Emergency Department operates and a new ‘hot’ ICU unit, staff at Guernsey's only hospital are working round the clock to prepare for the extra pressures covid-19 will put on our healthcare service.
A number of new measures have already been put in place and this week saw the completion of work to convert the day patient unit into an extra intensive care space - the team managed to get the project done in just two weeks.
“Because we’ve opened this new unit, we’ve put through more than 90 staff who’ve had training to support in this unit,” explained Head of Acute Nursing, Elaine Burgess. “That includes not just nurses but also doctors and physios, so we’ve got a comprehensive training package and we’ve really supported them to be able to go through that.”
Above: The Day Patient Unit has been transform ahead of an expected peak number of corona virus patients needing treatment at Guernsey's only hospital.
More change is on the way, with a new streaming system for patients heading to the Emergency Department introduced yesterday.
From now on, anyone who needs to use the ED will be guided to an ED Streaming Nurse who will ask the patient a few questions about travel history, isolation and potential contact with a COVID-19 positive patient. Following this assessment, the patient will be instructed to go to the zone to best suit their needs.
The important message for everyone is that no patients should enter the hospital without being seen by the new Streaming Nurse.
“What we’re trying to do within the hospital is separate those patients that are going to be suspected or covid-19 positive from those patients that aren’t,” Ms Burgess continued.
“As this escalates, we’ll get patients that will just present to ED with covid symptoms and those that won’t [have symptoms]. So, all of the outside of ED will be changed and we’ve got a portacabin where patients will be triaged to either go right to the non-covid area, or left if they’ve got covid symptoms.”
For the past couple of weeks, Public Health has been testing all hospital patients with respiratory symptoms corona virus. About 49 patients have been tested to date, with no confirmed cases.
Health & Social Care recently announced plans to postpone all elective surgery for the time being and asked that visitors stay away. Meanwhile, staff have been working to safely discharge patients earlier than usual, so the hospital can maintain capacity.
“In terms of preparing some of the ward areas if they are needed, we’ve had additional work by our fantastic States team carried out on Brock Ward and Carey Ward,” added Director of Hospital and Adult Community Services, Dermot Mullin. “That’s been about installing sinks, putting additional doors etc. It helps us to provide the best practice standards around infection control.”
Pictured: The Chest and Heart clinic at the Oberlands entrance to the hospital site is the new GP 'hot surgery' for patients displaying corona virus symptoms.
Another new measure will see the ‘hot’ GP surgery for patients with symptoms of corona virus move from the Longfrie Surgery to the PEH site.
“As we’ve been looking at the escalation of this, we’re going to make the chest, heart and stroke facility our GP ‘hot’ surgery,” said Mr Mullin. “The GPs will then have additional resources on this campus, but equally if someone presents there and needs emergency treatment, it means the ambulances aren't having to travel from the Longfrie to the hospital. That helps preserve our ambulance crews who are valuable to us at this time, because there will be stretch on them as well as this situation evolves.”
Agency nurses have been brought in to help the island’s only hospital cope with the expected rise in demand over the coming weeks.
Further information and advice on covid-19 is available HERE.
Pictured top: The Emergency Department at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital.
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