Photo: QEII's Endoscopy Team has continued to deliver vital medical procedures despite COVID-19.
The QEII Endoscopy Team has weathered the COVID-19 storm with effective teamwork and a can-do attitude that reflects an unwavering commitment to patient care.
Nurse Unit Manager for Endoscopy Joanne Summers said staff had mobilised to introduce a new service model in April to ensure patients could continue to be treated.
“Because the Endoscopy Unit’s purpose-built suite was converted into an expanded ICU service in preparation for potential COVID-19 cases, we coordinated to run Category 1 colonoscopy procedures out of Theatre and for Infusions to be undertaken in Urodynamics alongside outpatient consults instead.
“To ensure our high-risk, immunosuppressed over-65 patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease could still receive treatment, we also mobilised our Hospital in the Home (HITH) team to deliver infusions for these patients in their own place of residence.”
Ms Summers said QEII had managed patient numbers through the HITH model in combination with telehealth.
“Up until mid-June we were supporting 20-30 per cent of our patient cohort via HITH. Although we are are now back to providing service in the Endoscopy Suite for these patients, our outpatient appointments are split 50/50 between telephone and in-person consultations. We have reduced foot traffic in our outpatient departments by 50 percent through the integration of telehealth technology.”
Nursing Director Surgical Services Amanda Garner said that while COVID-19 had caused significant disruption to medical services, the virus had also given the Endoscopy team the opportunity to look at their operational procedures with fresh eyes, leading to service improvements.
“We are more mindful of the needs of other areas in the hospital and have been able to use scarce resources more efficiently without impacting staff or patient safety,” she said.
“COVID-19 has also helped us triage our patients more efficiently given the impact coronavirus has on bed availability.”
The adjusted model of care has allowed Endoscopy services to return to its pre-coronavirus patient intake levels.