How has the Countess of Chester Hospital adapted to COVID-19?

The Countess of Chester Hospital has introduced an array of changes to cope with caring for patients and continuing to operate safely and effectively during the coronavirus pandemic.

The city’s main NHS medical facility, the Countess of Chester Hospital on Liverpool Road, was founded in 1984 and provides a 24-hour accident and emergency unit, a range of medical departments and beds for 625 patients. However, following the coronavirus outbreak, the hospital has been required to adapt.

A statement by the hospital announced that changes are being put into place to:

“…prepare for, deal with and adapt to the unprecedented challenges facing us regarding the global outbreak of COVID-19.”

These amendments have included alterations to outpatient and elective surgery clinics, maternity services, visiting conditions, and who can use the hospital’s emergency department, but structural changes are also taking place on site.

Dedicated centres for respiratory care

The construction of a new reception and attendance area has been actioned at the hospital for those suffering from coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses.

Dr Susan Gilby, chief executive at the Countess of Chester Hospital commented on the development:

“That’s going to become our attendance and reception area for people with respiratory illness whether or not we have an indication in terms of their COVID-19 status. We’re going to be able to assess, treat and probably admit for a short time a number of patients in that area, and that keeps them well-away from the emergency department.”

Another facility is being built inside the hospital’s main building and is likely to become the dedicated “Respiratory Support Centre.” To avoid the possibility of spreading the virus, all patients suffering from respiratory illnesses, whether they are diagnosed as coronavirus-related or not, will be instructed to attend the centre rather than the accident and emergency department.

Although recently used as an administrative workspace, the area will now be transformed into a ward. In the original architectural plans for the hospital, the area was designed for patient beds, so it has the much-needed infrastructure already in place for oxygen, suction, and air.

A modular approach to patient wards

To cope with the increase in new patients and hinder the spread of COVID-19, several portable buildings have been established to the hospital’s rear, delivering greater capacity for the Haygarth Building previously operating as the facility’s Coronavirus Support Centre.

The first portable unit set up within the hospital grounds was originally commissioned to offer additional beds for peaks in patient numbers during winter months. The modular structure offers the hospital an additional 20 beds divided into bays of four or five. Repurposed, the units make ideal locations to care for COVID-19 patients compared to the previous options open to the hospital, which included side rooms and two-bed bays.

Due to the risks of infection, the hospital has ceased face-to-face consultations with outpatients unless there is a critical requirement, but emergency operations and cancer patient management will not be disrupted. Where possible, the hospital is performing patient consultations virtually using the communications technology at their disposal.

Posted by Mark
April 30, 2020

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