1st May 2020 HSE Midlands Louth and Meath Community Healthcare Update Pat Bennet Chief Officer of HSE Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare acknowledged: “A sincere thanks to all staff working here in this community services and hospital groups over the past number of weeks. Staff from within our organisation and staff from outside who have redeployed in. A number of staff have changed roles, worked weekends, worked late into the night, worked from home all to assist in the fight against this challenging circumstance. All of you are heroes, all of you are making the difference to the success of the COVID-19 fight in this country. There will be Five Covid -19 Community Assessment Hubs and Four Testing Centres operating in Midlands Louth Meath this week
The Community Assessment Hubs (CAH’s) will be operating in:
Donore Road, Drogheda, Co Louth Slane Health Centre, Co Meath Clonbrusk Resource Centre, Athlone Primary Care Centre, Ballyminnion, Longford St Fintan’s Campus Portlaoise
The Clinical Assessment Hubs (CAH’s) are being set up so that COVID-19 positive patients (confirmed and presumptive) who require a face-to-face clinical assessment can attend a community-based unit as near as possible to where they live.
The aim is to divert symptomatic patients who require medical assessment away from the acute hospital system and GP practices by providing a facility in the community in which the patient can be seen and clinically assessed by a team of doctors and other healthcare professionals e.g. nurses, physiotherapists. Other members of the team include clerical support and domestic staff.
The National Plan identifies a 7-day service from 8 am to 8 pm. The above CAH’s have opened on an initial phased basis Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. However, the CAH’s teams will monitor the service demands and the opening of the CAH’s will reflect local need.
How do I access a Community Assessment Hub
Attendance is by appointment only following a GP referral. There is no walk-in capacity. The service is designed to accept referrals and to issue appointments within 24 hours, however, 48 hours has been defined as the maximum pre-booking period for safety reasons.
The outcome of an assessment at the CAH is either:
The patient returns home with advice; The patient is referred onto a hospital; or The patient is referred to a self-isolation unit.
A copy of the assessment outcome will be provided to the patient for the information of their next point of care and/or their own GP.
Testing Centres Centre will be open in:
Tullamore, Mullingar, Dundalk, Navan, with capacity to open Athlone/ Longford and Portlaoise to meet the expected increased demand.
Update from Dublin Midlands Hospital Group Trevor O’Callaghan CEO of Dublin Midlands Hospital Group in his weekly update to the community said, “We are now in our 7th week of government COVID-19 restrictions and I acknowledge the efforts the public and staff have made to adhere to the restrictions. It is imperative that we keep this up as it is having a positive impact. It has had a stabilising effect on our acute services, albeit some of our ICUs remain in surge. Our Hospitals are seeing further presentations and admissions to our EDs, and many hospitals reporting that those admissions are people who are non-covid and very sick.
It is so important that people know that if you are feeling particularly unwell, particularly with signs or symptoms of Stroke or Heart Failure that you immediately seek medical advice and attention. GPs and GP Out of Hours Services are available in the first instance to support you. If you have an emergency, please do not delay and attend your nearest Emergency Department. We also want to assure you that extensive work has been undertaken by Hospitals to ensure we protect those who are attending for our services and we want to reassure our patient population," he continued.
Emergency Department Consultant, Sean O’Rourke, Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore and Portlaoise Hospital said, “We also want to reassure people that all EDs check patients for symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival. After this initial assessment, patients are divided into two separate treatment pathways/tracks i.e. one track for patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and a separate track for those who require treatment for other urgent conditions. This is to ensure proper infection control and to minimise the spread of the virus.
The message from our EDs is if you or someone else needs urgent care please go to your nearest Emergency Department immediately or dial 999/112 for emergency care. Please do not delay seeking treatment. EDs always prioritise the sickest patients first for treatment.
The HSE is also concerned about people putting off attending hospital appointments even when the hospital team has contacted them and advised that they need to attend. If you have an urgent or time-critical hospital appointment, please attend as advised by your hospital. If you are worried or have concerns, please phone the hospital staff. Please do not delay getting your treatment and attending your appointment as advised by your hospital team.
A particular focus for Hospitals in recent weeks is with regard to our support and outreach to nursing homes, both private and public through the Area Crisis Management Teams. Significant challenges are now presenting in these units. We are continuing to work collaboratively with our CHO 8 Partners. These units care for the most vulnerable in our society. We need to maintain these residents within the most appropriate setting that best meets their needs with safe staffing levels and expert support of our hospital outreach teams which are all working and engaged with the units. The Nursing Home Temporary Support Scheme will provide financial support and this is also a welcome support,” he concluded.
Michael Knowles, General Manager Portlaoise Hospital said, “I want to acknowledge the support of our clinical and nursing colleagues who are engaged proactively with the CHO8 and individual long term residential units. We want to provide confidence and assurances to the management in these units by working with their own GPs and clinical teams so we can all pull together for these residents in these challenging times.
Finally, in recent weeks the Department of Health has launched a national mental health campaign #Together. These are really tough times and we need to acknowledge and support our staff and their mental health but also the wider community. These are really stressful times but there is a wealth of resources available. I would urge people to visit
www.gov.ie/together and familiarise yourself with the support that is available to you. In particular, for our staff the psycho-social response efforts being developed by our CHO Partners are also available to Hospital staff. If you are a staff member and need this service, contact your line manager immediately who can provide you with this information."