As part of the HSE measures being taken in response to COVID-19, the Donegal Community Assessment Hub officially opened yesterday.
The Community Assessment Hub is located on the Kilmacrennan Road, Letterkenny adjacent to the St Conal’s Hospital Campus and opposite Letterkenny University Hospital.
Community Assessment Hubs are being developed across the country with four being developed in Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1, which covers the counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Monaghan. The Donegal Community Assessment Hub is the first of these to open.
Community Assessment Hubs are for patients over the age of 16 who are COVID-19 positive or presumptive COVID-19 as determined by the criteria applied and who require assessment.
Hubs aim to provide a timely community based clinical assessment for these patients in their own geographical area so that patients can be supported to manage their condition to best effect through the provision of clinical input, advice and supports.
Through the provision of such a community service the HSE’s aim is to maximise the number of patients with the COVID-19 virus who can self-care at home and minimise any inappropriate referrals to Acute Hospital services.
Appropriate community assessment and management of patients with confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 will also assist in minimising the risk of community transmission of COVID-19.
Patients seen at the Community Assessment Hub may have an onward referral made for them to a Self Isolation Unit if self isolation in their own home cannot be achieved. For others assessment at the Community Assessment Hub may indicate the need for transfer to the Acute Hospital treatment
Dr Paul Armstrong, GP Clinical Lead for the Donegal Assessment Hub said “Our aim in setting up the hubs is that anyone who needs a clinical assessment can get one in the community, as quickly as possible. This will assist patients who need assessment but who do not need immediate hospital care and will avoid referral to an acute hospital where possible.”
Patients may only be referred to the Community Assessment Hub by a GP. The GP in the patient’s own practice or a GP in the GP Out Of Hours Service, NoWDOC, may make the referral to the Community Assessment Hub via Healthlink.
NoWDOC referrals to the Community Assessment Hub will be accepted on Saturdays and Sundays. The Donegal Assessment Hub will operate seven days per week for up to twelve hours, if there is sufficient demand for the service.
The Donegal Community Assessment Hub is located in a bright, spacious building which has been adapted for purpose. Clinical equipment and supplies have been purchased and are in situ ready for patients being seen.
Significant measures have been taken to ensure that patients and staff in the Community Assessment Hub are protected with high standards of infection prevention and control being applied.
Edel Quinn, General Manager, Donegal Primary Care Services, thanked all the teams involved in getting the hub operational.
She said “People have been working extremely hard to get this hub up and running in a very short space of time, it was a real team effort.”
The Donegal Community Assessment Hub services will be lead and managed by Dr Paul Armstrong, GP Clinical Lead, Ms Sinead McConnell, Clinical Coordinator from the Donegal Public Health Nursing Service and Donna Carroll, Service Manager.