QEII Hospital has become a key part of the Metro South Health plan providing expanded Intensive Care Unit capacity to cater for a potential influx of patients related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To adhere to the Federal Government’s guidelines to expand ICU capacity across the country, QEII Hospital Director of Intensive Care, Dr David Stewart, said the hospital has temporarily relocated the ICU to the former Endoscopy Suite.
“We have repurposed the endoscopy suite in order to relocate the Intensive Care Unit which has increased our critical care capacity from five to nine beds at QEII Hospital, with the potential to expand to 20 beds if required,” he said.
“The endoscopy area has been split into two zones so that we can continue treating our non-COVID patients for as long as possible and keep them separate from those who may be admitted with Coronavirus.”
Endoscopy-specific equipment has been removed to make way for ICU equipment and other equipment borrowed from theatres and the emergency department to fully equip the new ICU.
“Although the bed spaces are smaller than ideal for an ICU, they are perfectly fitted-out to provide an expanded and fully functional critical care space,” he said.
QEII Director of Nursing, Nicki Dennis said a large part of the problem initially faced in planning was the number of nurses who have critical care training.
“We have taken staff volunteers from theatres, surgical and medical wards, and put them through 30-35 hours of ICU training with educators to familiarise them with the specialised equipment, and treatment modalities used in the ICU setting,” she said.
“This has essentially equipped us to handle an increased number of patients as the course of the pandemic progresses.
“So far, Queenslanders have been adhering to the advice from Queensland Health and we are seeing the benefits so, hopefully, this worst-case planning is never required for COVID-19.”