NSLHD News COVID-19 special March 24

PATIENT visitor changes across nslhd All hospitals across the

Local Health District is implementing a number of measures to ensure the wellbeing of patients, staff and the community during the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation. Hospitals are facing unprecedented demand due to a large number of people requesting testing for COVID-19, at the same time reconfiguring services so we can be prepared for an expected increase in patients needing intensive care. In order to meet the demand, the district has set up COVID-19 clinics at each of the hospitals to streamline testing, and ensure Emergency Departments are kept for those patients who are critically ill. As part of the district’s response, an executive level incident management team has been set up and meets daily to ensure hospitals and services are appropriately resourced. district are asking patients to limit visitors to one per patient. This change is for the safety and wellbeing of patients, staff and the community during this time to slow the transmission of COVID-19. Each patient will need to nominate one person, such as their next of kin, who will be able to visit them during their stay, with other family and friends encouraged to use technology to check in with their loved ones. There will be exceptions for patients with children, children who are patients or those who are very unwell and receiving palliative care. As well as visitor limitations, the attendance of volunteers and consumer representatives onsite across all NSLHD hospitals and services will need to be

on a daily basis providing up to date clinical advice to guide our staff through these difficult times. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said hospitals were reviewing their pandemic plans and planning was underway to increase the capacity of intensive care units. “Colleagues across intensive care, medicine, surgery, outpatients, emergency and other large departments are working together to prepare for the predicted increased demand,” she said. “Our staff have been working incredibly hard and responded positively to ensure our health services can respond to COVID-19.” COVID-19 Care teams have been deployed to support frontline staff in hospitals and provide them with information, education and ensure their wellbeing is temporarily postponed. The district will reassess all changes and advise when the hospitals can return to their normal procedures. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said: “As the number of confirmed cases across NSW continues to increase, there is a need for us to focus on keeping the number of individuals moving through our hospitals to a minimum.

looked after during this difficult time. “We have put in place arrangements to ensure the rapid assessment and testing of staff for COVID-19. “We are also implementing a process to ask every staff member at the beginning of each shift whether they have respiratory symptoms or history of fever, and if so, to ensure staff who have symptoms are assessed for COVID-19 and self-isolate until COVID-19 is excluded,’” Ms Willcox said. “This is to ensure the safety our staff and patients, as well as ensuring we have a workforce that is healthy and able to care for our community over the coming months. “I want to assure the community Northern Sydney Local Health District is doing all that it can to safeguard our patients and be prepared for the anticipated increased demand on our services.” “We know how important visitors are for the wellbeing of our patients, however to ensure the safety of our patients and staff, we need to limited the number of visitors coming to our hospitals and services. “I appreciate this is a significant change but equally know that our patients and community will understand why we need their help at this time.”

NSLHD RESPONSE AND PREPAREDNESS TO COVID-19 Northern Sydney Importantly, senior clinicians from across our district are



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