Coronavirus: Hospital CEO asks for community support

By Mary Dennehy

TALLAGHT University Hospital has introduced a number of restrictions across its campus after being in contingency planning mode for coronavirus since January.

In a statement to The Echo this week, the hospital acknowledged that this is a worrying time for people but believes, that with the support of the community, they can minimise the impact on services.

Tallaght Hospital 03 compressor

Tallaght Hospital

The Echo also asked the hospital about isolation facilities available, with management confirming that 22 per cent of its inpatient beds are single rooms.

The hospital added that there are also plans in place to create additional single rooms by re-purposing multi-occupancy rooms.

However, this move will require a reduction in elective activity. 

To date there has been 43 confimred cases of coronavirus in Ireland, with one death of a person with Covid-19. 

With growing numbers of people with Covid-19 nationally, Tallaght University Hospital has asked for the public’s support in reducing footfall into the hospital.

According to Lucy Nugent, Tallaght University Hospital CEO: “We would remind everyone that patients admitted to the hospital are ill, they may have complex medical conditions and be particularly vulnerable and we must reduce the risk of infection to them.

“This measure was introduced with interests of the safety of both patients and staff, and we would ask for the public’s support and co-operation.

“We have previous experience with other contagious viruses but Covid-19 numbers are forecasted to increase substantially in the coming weeks.

“As with all other challenges presented to us we will work together to plan and mitigate the interruption to elective care.

“The hospital acknowledges that this is a worrying time as there are so many uncertainties and unknowns but I am also sure that with the support of the community we will minimise the impact on our services.”

Ms Nugent added: “The Covid-19/coronavirus is changing from day to day.

“Staff from Tallaght University Hospital have been in contingency planning mode since January and will continue to review contingency measures on a daily basis.”

Restrictions 

Restrictions at TUH include; no children to visit the hospital; visitors are only allowed in exceptional circumstances and with prior agreement of the ward manager; restricted visiting to patients in intensive and coronary care units.

Other measures include the suspension of the hospital’s volunteer service and cancellation of the arts programme and public information stands.

Hospital management has also asked staff that, where possible, meetings with external stakeholders be held using video or conference calls.

All outpatient clinics are at the moment continuing to run as normal.

In light of the restrictions, the hospital has introduced Patient Care Packages. 

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This service facilitates personal belongings being dropped off for patients, the hospital has introduced a parcel drop service, which is open from 2pm to 4pm in the main atrium, Monday to Friday.

Do not attend A&E if you are feeling unwell 

The hospital stressed that people concerned about coronavirus should not attend the emergency department (ED).

“Emergency departments are for medical emergencies”, the hospital said.

“The vast majority of people who acquire COVID-19 will not need hospitalisation.

“Attending the ED without warning will expose other patients and staff to unnecessary risks.

“The advice from public health is to call your GP, they have a series of questions to ask you to triage you over the phone.

“They will then make a decision on whether you will be seen by appointment in the doctors.”

The HSE has advised that anybody with severe symptoms should call 112 or 999.

Around 80 per cent of cases of Covid-19 will be mild to moderate illness, close to 14 per cent are severe and around six per cent critical.

People who have questions or concerns about coronvirus should call the HSELive team by calling 1850 24 1850 or 041 685 0300.

For advice and up-to-date information visit the HSE’s website or follow Tallaght University Hospital on Facebook for local updates at the health facility.

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