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SMH prepares for surge of COVID-19 patients

[New Tecumseth, ON – April 30, 2020] To say that the staff at Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) have been busy lately is an understatement. Not only are they caring for patients and adapting to the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, including new guidelines and protocols almost daily, significant planning has been implemented to accommodate a potential surge of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This effort includes the creation of a dedicated Respiratory Unit, providing seven patient isolation rooms for patients who are suspect COVID or COVID-positive. The implementation of this unit has led to the Obstetrics Unit moving up to the second floor of the hospital in Ambulatory Care.

“We are doing the best we can with our limited infrastructure to ensure that we have the space we need to care for patients during the pandemic,” says Carrie Jeffreys, VP Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Executive. “Our Medical/Surgical Unit (inpatient) has experienced a steady flow of patients since the beginning of the pandemic, so we are ensuring we have additional beds available for isolation in case we do see a surge of patients related to COVID-19.”

The move of the Obstetrics Unit to the second floor allowed the isolation rooms to become available for the Respiratory Unit.

“The Obstetrics Unit has been a cornerstone in this community and we are continuing to provide the safe, high quality care we always do at Stevenson,” says Dr. Jaco Scheeres, Chief of Obstetrics at SMH. “We have supported capacity needs at the hospital with the move to the second floor, but the patient’s experience, including the care and attentiveness of our staff will remain,” he adds.

In addition to the Respiratory Unit, the hospital has transformed their Day Surgery Recovery Room to a temporary four-bed Critical Care Unit, thanks to the help of Honda Canada Mfg. This unit will be used for patients with advanced care needs without the need to isolate.  The room has been constructed to include an enclosed nursing station, proper air supply and equipment.

“We are grateful for the support we’ve received from Honda Canada Mfg during the pandemic, including their help in constructing our Critical Care Unit,” says Jody Levac, President and CEO, SMH. “They deployed contractors to us very quickly, whose work was very professional and extremely efficient. A project of this magnitude is really unprecedented at SMH,” he adds.

Overall, the capacity planning has resulted in an added 20 beds available for patients at SMH during the pandemic, an increase of 50%. Further planning is taking place in partnership with other facilities within the region to accommodate additional beds if needed.

The hospital has also upgraded their Medical/Surgical Unit to provide a negative pressure room to accommodate patients who are suspect COVID-19 or COVID-19 positive, thanks to the hard work of SMH’s Facilities Department.

“We have taken extraordinary measures to ensure that our hospital is safe for staff and our patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Levac. “As always, the health and safety of our staff and patients is a top priority. Please don’t hesitate to come to Stevenson if you need emergency care. Our facility is safe and our incredible team of physicians, nurses and allied health are available to care for our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”