Visiting restrictions remain in place at University Hospital Limerick following a number of cases of flu.
As of 4.30pm on Monday, January 8th there were 11 confirmed positive cases of flu at UHL with a number of other patients symptomatic.
As flu can be carried in to the hospital by patients or visitors, it is necessary to restrict visitors to one person per patient only and to remind members of the public that visiting hours are from 2pm to 4pm and from 6pm to 9pm only and are to be strictly adhered to. Members of the public are reminded not to bring children on visits anywhere in the hospital. Parents visiting children are unaffected by the restrictions but are advised not to bring siblings.
We regret any inconvenience caused to patients and relatives by these necessary measures, which are being taken in the interests of patient care.
All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of the flu. Patients are being isolated as appropriate.
People with flu-like symptoms are advised to contact their GP by phone in the first instance and avoid presenting at the Emergency Department at UHL. Any patient presenting in any part of the hospital for any reason should also advise staff if they or a family member has been showing symptoms of flu or indeed of norovirus (winter vomiting bug).
See http://undertheweather.ie/ for practical advice on how to mind yourself or your family when you’re sick.
UL Hospitals Group again urges at-risk groups to get the flu vaccine from their GP or pharmacist. People in at-risk groups can get the flu vaccine itself free of charge (people without medical or GP visit cards may be charged an administration fee).
High-risk groups are:
- All those aged 65 years and older
- People including children with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic neurological disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and diabetes
- Those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment and all cancer patients
- All pregnant women. The vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy.
- Those with morbid obesity i.e. Body Mass Index ≥ 40
- Residents of nursing homes, old people's homes and other long stay facilities
- Health care workers and carers of those in at-risk groups.
ED Update UHL
UHL continues to experience high volumes of patients attending at the Emergency Department.
UHL apologises for any distress or inconvenience caused to patients or their loved ones who have experienced long wait times in recent days. We acknowledge this is a particularly difficult situation and wish to reassure patients and their families that we are working to alleviate the situation. We also acknowledge the difficult situation for our staff and thank them for their continued dedication and commitment to patient care.
Among the measures being taken to relieve pressure on the ED are: the transfer of suitable patients from UHL to Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, St John’s Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital; the opening in September 2017 of a 17-bed short stay unit for medical patients; the transfer of appropriate patients to community care settings; working closely with Community Intervention Teams to provide antibiotics and other basic care in a patient’s home or care facility; communication with GPs to ensure patients are referred to ED only where appropriate; extra ward rounds; and as a last resort, extra beds are put on wards.
We are again asking people to think about all their care and treatment options and keep ED services for the patients who need them most. For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to an Injury Unit in Ennis, Nenagh or St John’s Hospital. Injury Units are open in Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday and 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday at St. John's Hospital. Others with a less serious illness can be treated by their GP or out of hours GP service where their GP can refer them to an Assessment Unit the following day if required.
During 2017, 14,000 Mid West patients accessed hospital care via their GP streaming patients to the correct department and avoiding the need to present to the ED. GPs contact the hospital directly and will be given access to one of the Medical Assessment Units at University Hospital Limerick, Ennis, Nenagh or St John’s Hospital according to the referring GP’s preference.
However, if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried your life is at risk the ED will assess and treat you as a priority.