Hospital rehearses pandemic scenarios


Dunstan Hospital management is taking the advice of a former All Black coach when it comes to planning for Covid-19.

Central Otago Health Services chief executive Dr Kathryn de Luc said the hospital was working to ensure it flattened the curve of patients requiring hospital admission and had been working on a plan in case of a sudden increase in patients requiring hospitalisation.
‘‘Borrowing the strategy of former All Black coach Graham Henry, our approach is to ‘plan for the worst and hope for the best’.’’

The plan allowed for isolating areas of the hospital for potential or confirmed cases of Covid-19, while carrying out inpatient services for non-Covid-19 patients in separate areas, she said.
That included clinical teams completing regular simulations of Covid-19 patients requiring care at Dunstan and patients needing transfer to the base hospital in Dunedin.
‘‘It also includes planning scenarios where we would keep community teams working in the towns where they live in order to reduce travelling.’’

Many health professionals and staff within Central Otago Health Services and Dunstan Hospital had stopped travelling, were working remotely, and that had prompted changes in communication.
Once out of lockdown and Level 4, the aim would be to continue these innovations so they became a ‘‘new norm’’, with greater focus on the patient with their care happening closer to, or in, their own home, Dr de Luc said.

Finally, she said if people were accessing healthcare for an existing pre-condition or had had an accident and were seeking care, it was important they disclosed symptoms that had markers of Covid-19.
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