How Hospitals Have Adapted To The Pandemic

asian male nurse and doctor wearing ppe suit and face mask pushing stretcher gurney bed with seriously infected coronavirus or covid-19 patient towards quarantine room in hospital.

Early this year, many hospitals worldwide found themselves battling the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19). The viral disease triggered a pandemic that led to an upsurge of patients requiring hospital admission. 

Consequently, the crisis saddled healthcare workers and resources with ill patients of an immensely infectious disease that, currently, medical experts haven’t found a cure for. 

The COVID-19 pandemic…

It forced the majority of health institutions into unknown territory. Most found their emergency and planning contingency put to the test. And to cope with the overwhelming situation, hospitals need to change personnel’s duties, workloads, and schedules abruptly, as well as reinforce new sanitary protocols to avoid disease transmission.       

While those mentioned above may look like nominal changes, health systems also underwent other significant adjustments to accommodate the massive surge of patients. 

To give you an idea of these transitions, we discuss several measures on how hospitals have adapted to the pandemic:

Concentrate On Infection Prevention

To shield healthcare workers from the disease, hospitals have equipped them with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE). PPEs safeguard the wearer from the risk of exposure and direct contact with individuals infected with the virus. 

Most institutions likewise have to reconfigure the setup of their emergency department to allow medical staff to provide urgent care to both non-COVID and COVID patients. 

The initiative also lets workers take care of patients while guarding themselves against the probability of transmission. If you want to learn more about emergency hospital services, visit this site

However, with the rising influx of COVID cases, hospitals are rapidly running low on PPEs. And to address this scenario, medical experts have advised nurses to reduce their patient interaction, which will be discussed further in this article. 

It’s also essential for them to carefully sanitize high-touch areas after attending to sick patients. When the doctor finally discharges a patient, the hospital should adhere to the approved and exact sanitation process. 

Other steps taken by health institutions are to provide online resources filled with details about the pandemic and address other issues encountered by healthcare workers, which can help eliminate false information.  

Lessen Patient Interaction And Diagnostic Procedures

As mentioned earlier, the pandemic resulted in lessening patient interaction and diagnostic procedures. Hospitals reduced the number of medical personnel that enters a patient’s room. 

Firstly, doctors and nurses usually perform separate medical visits. If a patient needs to talk to a doctor but it is already beyond consultation hours, the hospital recommends video consultation. 

Secondly, hospitals practice healthcare distancing such as scheduling group medicine administration and merging of medical procedures.  

Furthermore, doctors and medical staff communicate with patients’ families by phone to refrain from transmitting the disease. Of course, this means family members can’t stay with a patient inside a ward. 

Healthcare providers likewise conduct medical consultations through video conferences or phone calls. 

Nowadays, health experts instruct people to avail of remote services or speak first with a member of the medical staff rather than rushing straight to the hospital. In doing this, workers can screen their conditions and advise them on the proper course of action. 

If possible, patients demonstrating mild COVID-19 symptoms should observe self-quarantine at home. This act will help decrease the workload of healthcare workers in the hospital. 

However, note that medical personnel should evaluate the individual’s capability to manage and properly monitor symptoms while staying at home.

Moreover, if needed, there should be a relative or a caregiver who knows how to handle emergency and home treatment. Otherwise, health workers should monitor the COVID-19 patient at home with routine text messaging, calls, or other platforms if possible. 

Intern nurse with a face shield showing at positive test tube on covid 19 in hospital

Implementation Of Temporary Triage Sites

At present, it is common to see a temporary triage facility in places like medical clinics or even vacant parking lots. Again, this move will help separate COVID-19 infected patients from sick individuals with less urgent concerns. Other examples of sites converted as an interim medical station are convention centers and Navy ships. 

For instance, the Jacob Javits Center in New York City is a 160,000 square-foot facility converted into a 2,000-bed capacity Federal Medical Station. The site will care for general or non-COVID-19 cases to permit hospitals to accommodate and primarily focus on severe virus conditions.  

Meanwhile, early this year, the Navy mobilized two vessels to aid in this heightening pandemic situation. With New York City’s worsening COVID-19 cases, patients suffering from other medical conditions proceeded to the U.S. Naval Ship Comfort that can accommodate 1,000 beds. 

On the other hand, the Navy stationed the USNS Mercy in Los Angeles. The ship features two oxygen-producing plants, a medical laboratory, and 12 operating rooms.  

Creation of RIUs

RIUs or Respiratory Isolation Units became the means of treating non-intensive COVID-19 patients. Individuals who are displaying infection symptoms or who doctors suspect to be COVID-19 positive can then be admitted to the RIU. These units employed medical consultants but avoided engaging medical residents and students.

Hospital RIUs strictly adhere to healthcare distancing. These sites emphasized room-entry regulations and use technology like video conferences to check, evaluate, and talk with patients. 

To receive discharge orders from an RIU, the patient must have a negative COVID-19 test result and medical doctor request. However, these criteria may change as the pandemic circumstance constantly shifts.  

As the whole world continuously endure this pandemic, people see the unmistakable similarities of people worldwide. The whole nation, regardless of where they live, is grateful to medical institutions, especially the healthcare staff working for them.

While hospitals promptly adapted measures to contain the pandemic, they also need the people to battle this problem. Thus, it is wise to follow the health expert’s advice on effective hand hygiene, staying at home, and avoiding self-medication to prevent further complications.  

The novel COVID-19 not only brings a threat to people’s physical condition but also their mental health condition. 

Therefore, it is best to guard your health and well-being by regularly exercising, meditating, reading, taking vitamins, getting adequate sleep, eating fruits and vegetables, and generally staying positive.  With physical travel right now a challenge, don’t forget to communicate and stay remotely connected with distant friends, relatives, and loved ones.  

Last Updated on December 18, 2020

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