UHK Says Preparations Are Continuing To Deal With Coronavirus Outbreak

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UNIVERSITY Hospital Kerry (UHK) has issued a statement saying they are continuing to work at pace to bring the hospital to a state of readiness to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

In the statement (below), they detail how they are handling all emergencies, the establishment of a ‘COVID-19 Patient Flow Hub Room’, the situation regarding PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and donations of same; maternity clinics and outpatients services.

The statement is as follows;

“Staff at UHK are determined to bring about the optimum state of preparedness by taking the proactive necessary steps in accordance with guidance from the South / South West Hospital Group, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the Department of Health and the HSE.

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Emergency Department Activity

The Emergency Department at UHK is continuing to accept all emergencies. There will be a clear division pathway between normal emergency and respiratory (Potential COVID-19) emergency patients.

COVID Patient Flow Hub

A COVID Patient Flow Hub room has been established within UHK and is manned 24 hours a day. This is effectively the base for management of all COVID-19 inpatients at the hospital.

Staffing:

Many medical, nursing and therapy staff from across the hospital are being redeployed and upskilled  to assist their colleagues in dealing with COVID-19 patients.

All other cohorts of staff are being deployed as required to meet daily changing demands e.g. cleaning, HCAs, portering, logistics, clerical, laboratory, radiology.

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Bed Capacity:

UHK is working closely with our Community partners to ensure the appropriate and timely discharging of vulnerable patients.

The recent announcement regarding private hospitals is very much welcome, and here in Kerry, the additional bed capacity of the Bon Secours Hospital Tralee will greatly assist in dealing with this crisis.

Within UHK, works are nearing completion of an additional 30 bed ward which will also boost our capacity to manage COVID-19 patients.

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and Medical Equipment

University Hospital Kerry  is working closely with the South / South West Hospital Group and national logistics to ensure that all our staff have appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and Medical Equipment to care for COVID-19 patients.

Outpatient Clinics

The evolving COVID-19 issues have required cancellation of face to face out-patient clinics in UHK.  Urgent face to face outpatient clinics are continuing in UHK, though very limited and based on urgent need only.

To allow standard UHK outpatient clinics to continue and avoid the cancellation of clinics, UHK have commenced ‘Virtual Clinics’, which means a consultant can call a patient (via telephone) to review his or her health care needs.

The purpose of the ‘Virtual Clinics’ is to continue the care for UHK patients during this adverse event and as far as feasible to meet patients’ health care needs. Following the telephone consultation, the telephone contact is tracked with a written note.

With National guidance and direction, the urgent high priority UHK Endoscopy procedures were suspended on Monday the 30th of March 2020.

Much discussion and engagement with UHK and private hospital services is taking place with senior management to set out a workable solution to continue delivery of urgent high priority Endoscopy procedures.

In relation to Maternity services, booking clinics are now taking place at the Tralee Institute of Technology.

Patients are being contacted with regard to the change in location. Online videography has been prepared for Maternity Parent Education and will be shared on UHK’s social media this week. Regarding visiting restrictions, please note:

·         Women admitted for induction of labour or in labour can have one nominated companion. This companion can only join the woman when she is in labour or called for caesarean section

·         For all other inpatients, including Antenatal inpatients and Postnatal inpatients, no visitors are allowed

·         For patients in the Neonatal unit, mothers only are allowed

·         For Outpatients, only the women attending the appointment are allowed – No partners, children or companions are allowed

Donations

UHK has been completely humbled by the outpouring of support from our community, with generous offers of goods and services of all descriptions.

For donations of medical supplies including PPE, our drop off location is Unit 1 B, Clash Industrial Estate, Mon-Friday 9.30-12.30 and 14.30-16.30hrs.

From there, our logistics team will evaluate same and if suitable, UHK will utilise as part of our PPE replenishment daily. UHK will reply to all donators, suitable or otherwise.

All products should be in their original packaging – unopened and unexpired. The medical equipment we’re grateful to accept at this time includes:

FFP2 Masks Medical Grade
Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Surgical grade ear loop facemasks or tieback face masks
Masks with face shields
Goggles
Isolation Gowns
Surgical gloves

Finally,  University Hospital Kerry is greatly inspired also by the response of retired / ex staff who have joined with us working in areas such as contact tracing and occupational health.   Our utmost gratitude is extended to these and the many volunteers who are assisting our efforts.”

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