LETTERKENNY University Hospital is braced for an increase in COVID-19 patients, the Hospital Manager has said.
Staff in LUH have been working hard to prepare for the expected increase in COVID-19 patients presenting.
The bed capacity at the hospital is being increased by 40 beds. Contractors have been working in shifts, while adhering to physical distancing requirements, to deliver the additional beds.
“A huge amount of work has taken place in Letterkenny University Hospital over the last number of weeks to prepare for an increase in COVID 19 cases,” LUH manager Seán Murphy said.
“I want to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of all our staff as we prepare for this unprecedented public health emergency. We have moved and reconfigured existing inpatient wards to facilitate the treatment of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients in the safest possible way.
“In our ICU we have we have created extra critical care capacity to allow us treat more patients, should that be required. We have also purchased extra critical case equipment for all our ICUs.”
All medical and nursing staff and some therapy staff have undergone specialised training to enable them to support their critical care colleagues.
Mr Murphy added: “We have cancelled all but urgent cancer and time critical procedures, diagnostics and outpatient appointments.
“We are contacting patients directly to advise them if their appointment is going ahead and reminding all those who are due to attend the hospital, not to do so if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms.
“Visiting restrictions continue in our hospitals with the exception of end of life situations and we expect that to continue over the coming weeks. We fully appreciate how difficult that is for our patients and their families but we must do it to protect our patients in the first instance but also our staff.”
Paul O’Connor, Consultant in Intensive Care Unit at Letterkenny University Hospital said: “All of the clinical teams, nursing staff and our Health and Social Care Professional colleagues have been working really hard over the last number of weeks to make sure that we are in the best possible position to treat suspect and confirmed COVID-19 patients both now and as the number of cases inevitably increase.
“In relation to Personal Protective Equipment, the HSE is currently seeking to redistribute stocks to sites with particular shortages and are encouraging staff to use these resources appropriately at this stage of the crisis.
“The most important thing the public can do is protect yourself and protect others. Do this by washing your hands properly and often.
“Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze and put used tissues into a bin.
“Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Avoid close contact with others by keeping a distance of 2 metres between you and others.
“If you are waiting on a test to see if you have COVID-19 or you have been tested and are waiting for the results you need to stay home and self-isolate. If you have any symptoms, assume you have COVID-19 and isolate yourself for 14 days to prevent spreading any potential infection to others and to help stop the spread of this disease”.