The regiomed facilities are preparing for an emergency: "we must now prepare ourselves for the fact that we will be caring for a very large number of corona patients in a very short time – many of whom will require intensive medical care and even ventilation.", explains regiomed chief executive officer alexander schmidtke.
Coburg hospital took a first visible step on wednesday: tents were erected by the fire department in front of the main entrance. There, "corona triage" is performed on all incoming emergency patients the patient has been in a corona risk area in the past 14 days? Had contact with an infected person? Does he have corona symptoms?
"In this way, suspected cases of corona can be identified before they enter the clinic and treated separately", says the deputy medical director of coburg hospital, rudolf bartunek. The goal is to minimize the risk of infection for staff and other patients. One tent is set up for adult patients, another for children "because they often have infectious diseases", as bartunek says.
In addition, all regiomed employees are currently working to expand the intensive care capacities as quickly as possible and "with a great deal of care," explains regiomed’s general manager, as it says in a regiomed release – to check whether planned interventions, such as the insertion of artificial hoof or knee joints, could be postponed. "If we now keep intensive care beds free by making such collections, they will be available for patients with covid-19 and for other emergency patients in an emergency", explains the medical director of coburg hospital, professor stefan piltz. There are also plans to reallocate beds from the intermediate care area (IMC) to intensive care units. In addition, efforts are currently being made to purchase additional ventilators despite existing supply bottlenecks. Existing anesthesia units can also be used to some extent for this purpose.
Every additional day that remains for such preparations is "a day gained", emphasizes bartunek. The situation is still calm, which is also being used to reduce overtime "so that employees can have a rest," explains the medical director.
Bartunek is aware of the concern that people can become infected and infect others without falling ill themselves. "The risk of someone having no symptoms and infecting others is low," says the deputy medical director, he emphasizes. "Nonetheless, staying away from other people is the best way to contain the spread of the virus!"
The preparations in the hospital were made for those patients whose illness is severe and who need ventilation. "Our efforts are therefore aimed at ensuring that our capacities are sufficient in the event of an emergency", says bartunek and points to the example of italy.
The network helps itself
In this situation, cooperation within the network is a great opportunity, explains medical director piltz. "If there is a shortage of beds at one site, patients can be treated at one of the other hospitals in the network." Doctors and nurses could also move between facilities to accommodate possible bottlenecks.
The medical director also emphasizes that there is close coordination with the health authorities of the coburg, hildburghausen, lichtenfels and sonneberg districts. "If things get really tight, rehabilitation clinics in the region have already promised us support, for example with staff or free beds."
In an absolute emergency, it would also be possible to set up bed-carrying areas in the old building of the lichtenfels hospital within two days, says piltz. The arrangements for this are now in place.
"The cohesion that we are currently tracking – in the region and in the association – is a great support for us", emphasizes managing director schmidtke. He was particularly encouraged by the commitment of the workforce. "I’m impressed by the way you’re standing shoulder to shoulder to help our patients through the corona crisis. I would like to express my sincere thanks for this."