The Women’s and Children’s Hospital has opened more high dependency beds and is training about 80 nurses to work in high-level care settings, as part of its coronavirus response.
Premier Steven Marshall said the extra beds and additionally trained nurses form part of a suite of decisive measures to bolster the health system in readiness for when the disease peaks.
“The State Government has a strong plan to mobilise South Australia’s health resources in the fight against COVID-19,” said Premier Steven Marshall.
“The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will be on the frontline of dealing with the most severe cases of this insidious disease.
“The battle to control the coronavirus pandemic needs to be fought by all of us in changing the way we live to contain the virus.
“I applaud South Australians for their compliance to the strict, but necessary measures, needed to slow the spread of the virus.
“Our strong coronavirus response plan with these measures is delivering encouraging results - but we cannot take our foot off the brake.
“These measures have slowed the spread of the virus which has eased the pressure on our health system and given us time to build up our hospital and frontline health capacity, such as at the WCH.”
About 80 nurses are being up-skilled to ensure they have the expertise required to work in a High Dependency Unit (HDU) or critical care settings, such as the ICU.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said an additional three HDU beds had already been established with planning underway for an additional 10 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds.
“We know that when the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its peak, our hospitals need to be ready for any scenario,” Minister Wade said.
“That is why it is important to prepare now and put plans in place to ensure we have the capacity to deal with a possible influx of patients whilst maintaining the safety of our other patients and staff.
“The Government is determined to give our frontline workers the support and resources they need to provide the best possible care to South Australian women and children as we face this unprecedented time.”
WCH CEO Lindsey Gough said staff have been working tirelessly to create space and relocate equipment to accommodate the additional beds within the hospital.
“We already have beds and provisions in place for COVID-19 patients, however we need to ensure we still have enough beds available to care for other patients in need,” Ms Gough said.
“HDU beds are used to care for patients who require more extensive care than in a normal ward, but less specialised care than those in the ICU.
“These three extra HDU beds have been placed in close proximity to the current Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) department in the event that we require them.
“The ten ICU beds will also be on standby to care for both women and children who don’t have the virus.
In total, the 13 new beds will allow the hospital to maintain the high standard of care it provides to South Australian children, while simultaneously caring for patients with COVID-19.
For the latest updates on COVID-19 in South Australia, go to www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/COVID2019