SUSPECTED Covid-19 patients continue to be segregated from those who don’t have the disease, a local consultant in emergency medicine has confirmed.
Dr Gareth Quin, Lead Consultant in Emergency Medicine for UL Hospitals’ Group has outlined the new processes that are in place in the ED at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) to combat Covid-19:
As soon as a person registers in the department, Dr Quin explained they are asked to put on a facemask, if their face is not already covered.
The new triage, assessment and admission processes will continue for the duration of the pandemic, along with the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) by staff in the ED, and, in line with the guidance of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the requirement for patients to wear a facial covering.
“UHL recognise that for many people the sight of hospital staff in PPE may be disconcerting and the requirement to wear a facial covering may not be welcome. However, we need to continue to work together to ensure the infection does not spread within our hospitals or throughout our communities,” he explained.
The first step in a patient’s ED journey is triage, where patients will meet staff wearing personal protective equipment including gown, gloves, facemask and eye protection.
“It’s really important that we segregate patients who may have Covid-19 from those who are not suspected of the disease. To do this, all patients are asked a number of questions during the triage process about symptoms and signs of Covid-19.
“Patients whose symptoms suggest possible Covid-19 are managed in the Emergency Department with isolation and other infection control precautions.
“Patients who are not suspected of having Covid-19 are seen and treated elsewhere in the hospital in our Medical and Surgical Assessment Units, depending on their condition” he stated.
Physical distancing, infection prevention and patient streaming measures introduced in UHL during the Covid-19 pandemic will remain in place for the protection of patients and staff as the virus remains an ever-present threat.
These measures were put in place in ED to reduce the risk of an outbreak of Covid-19 within the hospital; and they remain in place as part of the strategy for the safe resumption and delivery of services across all hospital sites in the UL Hospitals’ Group.
Dr Quin acknowledged people’s compliance to date with the national public health guidelines and with the safety measures at UHL had helped prevent a major virus outbreak in the hospital.
“As activity in UHL resumes and presentations at the ED increase, he urged people not to become complacent and to continue to adhere to public health measures.
The ED in UHL is one of the busiest in the country, and with levels of presentations now surpassing pre-pandemic levels with a weekday average of more than 200 presentations.
“The ED in UL is open 24-7 to treat people with serious injury and unexpected illness such as heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening conditions. People with less serious injuries and conditions should consider all other care options before attending the ED, and they continue to first consult their family doctors, pharmacists or out-of-hours GP services.”
Patients with minor injuries continue to be redirected to the Injury Units at St John’s, Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals.