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Written by:
May 29, 2020

Dear colleagues,

As you are aware, the focus for our hospital group and health service has now shifted to the resumption of normal service, while still operating within the context of COVID-19.

We have started to experience an increase in non-COVID work, however normal service will take on a different aspect in the short to medium term and as a Group we are working with our hospitals to determine the impact and implications of the virus on various facets of health service delivery, including revenue, beds, labs, estates, and patient flow.  

We are currently compiling an overview of estimates needed to support the resumption of service, which will be submitted to the HSE next week.

Below are further IEHG COVID updates:

• On 8 June, IEHG, together with our CHO partners, will host a workshop to consolidate the work we have been undertaking to develop an Integrated Model for Rehabilitation and Reablement. In order to meet the demand of post-COVID care, and to support acute and community services with step-down and step-up care options, development and testing of this model of care is essential. An integrated solution is critical to the sustainability and success of this model, which will support acute and community services to meet the new challenge of healthcare delivery post COVID, namely working at capacity levels close to 85%, while avoiding delayed transfers of care and patients waiting on trolleys in crowded emergency departments. A Dublin-wide integrated model is required and together we are working to realise this vision for the patients we serve. More details of this workshop will be circulated in due course.

With regard to the above integrated rehabilitation model, it is our hope that the first ten beds will be opened in our post-acute care facility in St Mary’s, Phoenix Park on 3 June.

• Sinéad Brennan (Group Director of Quality & Patient Safety) and Paul Gallagher (Chief Director of Nursing & Midwifery) have been visiting hospitals throughout IEHG. This week they travelled to St. Columcille’s, St Michael’s and St Vincent’s hospitals. The purpose of each site visit is to meet with key personnel including managers and staff in Infection Prevention & Control teams, Occupational Heath, General Services, and Clinical areas. The visits have been most useful for IEHG to gain a greater appreciation of the work that is being undertaken in our hospitals to maintain patient safety and flow within the context of COVID-19.

• With regard to procurement, the IEHG PPE Work Group, procurement teams, store and logistic personnel continue to work locally and with the HSE on ensuring adequate personal protective equipment. Extensive and significant workflows continue, collating and reviewing information to drive the PPE requirement forecasting process. Ability to extract data sets from a range of national and local systems is of paramount importance in facilitating accurate PPE modelling and ensuring adequate PPE supply now and into the future.

As you may be aware, the Minister for Health announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Nursing Home Expert Panel this week, for which UCD Professor and IEHG Board Member Cecily Kelleher has been appointed Chair. The establishment of the Panel by the Minister follows on from a recent NPHET recommendation. The panel will examine national and international measures in response to COVID-19, as well as emerging best practice to ensure all COVID-19 response measures are prepared for. This is in light of the expected ongoing COVID-19 risk and impact for nursing homes over the next 6-18 months. The panel will report to the Minister by the end of June.

The Mater’s Head of Surgery Prof Ronan Cahill appeared on RTE PrimeTime on Tuesday night to discuss the Mater’s Schlieren research. Prof Cahill and his team are investigating the efficacy of face masks to protect against COVID-19. You can watch the piece back here: https://bit.ly/2XySXly

I would also like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Maura Coyle-Meade, Director of Nursing at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan who deferred her retirement for three months in order to help out at the frontline of the COVID crisis. Maura is officially now retiring today and we wish her all the very best and thank her for her incredible service to her patients and staff.

Finally, as an example of the wonderful care and support we have seen demonstrated during this crisis, as COVID-19 visiting restrictions were introduced in hospitals, an initiative to reduce patient isolation was undertaken by the Speech and Language Therapy Department in St. Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown. The hope was to share a thoughtful card or letter to lift spirits and offer a connection with children and students in the community. Drawings, paintings, cards and letters were sent in by primary and secondary school children offering support, hope and friendship to patients during these isolating times.

Regards,

Mary Day, IEHG CEO

This message has been edited for online.