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10 ways hospital management and norms have changed post COVID-19

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Raman Bhaskar, Hospital director, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, New Delhi highlights the post-COVID scenario of hospital management

After the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a major shift in the healthcare sector and it’s safe to say that we are seeing a new era of healthcare. This pandemic has proved how fragile the healthcare system of our country is and that we need to be ready for the future. COVID cases have rapidly fallen for the time being but hospital management norms have been changed permanently, keeping in mind the COVID safety protocols. The healthcare system has become more robust with increased testing, digital consultations and social distancing norms.

The following are 10 ways in which hospitals have been functioning post the pandemic:

Regular screening

Regular screening at all entry point has become a daily protocol which includes temperature checks on arrival into the hospital. Screenings have become necessary for doctors, nurses, staff, visitors and patients visiting the facility for other ailments to ensure that the virus is not spreading. To maintain safety standards and no contact rule, infrared hand-held devices are used to monitor the temperature. The screenings at the hospitals have been essential in limiting any potential infection and have helped in detecting, isolating and treating the infected patients to the earliest. Regular screening has ensured that the hospitals do not become a potential place for spreading the virus.

Setting up COVID response team

Covid response teams have been set up by the institutions in case there is a possibility for a third wave. The response team includes all the care providers and stakeholders necessary from ICU, Emergency Room (ER), administration, support staff, etc. In case there is a third wave, hospitals need to be equipped with measures to tackle the situation. Hospitals have made an emergency response team for this situation. Also, COVID care committee has been formed for policy decisions and monitoring.

PPE kits

Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) have become essential items for doctors, nurses and the healthcare staff as they not only ensure their safety but also stops the spread of the virus. Sanitisers, masks and gloves are also necessary items for providing complete protection against the infection. The healthcare staff on reaching the hospital building puts on their kits and carries out the patient care activities in the areas like ICU, ER, OTs, Casual wards, patient shifting, ambulance, etc.

Personal infection control protocol

Personal Infection Control protocols inside the hospitals have also changed post-COVID -19 and it is advised to use an alcohol-based hand rub before entry into the hospital. Alcohol-based sanitiser dispensers have been installed inside the building. Medical equipment is also regularly sanitized, and complete cleanup in the hospital buildings is carried out throughout the day. Floors are disinfected at regular intervals along with proper alcohol-based sanitizations of the entire hospital.

Video consultancy and appointments

Video consultancies for different specialties have been on a rise in the post-pandemic world. Video appointments for primary healthcare, mental health-related issues and post-hospital discharge can easily be carried out on video consultations. Besides this post-surgery follow-ups are also easily conducted via telephone or video interactions.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing protocol is still being followed to ensure safe operations post COVID-19. The six feet markers have been put at the places where the crowd is common. Places like hospitals that are providing COVID vaccination have set up proper social distancing markers and seating arrangement with proper distancing.

COVID-19 testing

Timely screenings for all the healthcare workers at high risk/exposed are tested only as per the government guidelines. Hospitals and the healthcare system are an essential part of the community and healthcare protocols have to be strictly followed to eliminate the COVID-19 infection. For healthcare workers at high risks/exposed, are tested only as per government guidelines.

Infection prevention and control practices

Apart from wearing PPE kits in the COVID wards, the prevention protocols around the hospitals have become really strict. There are strict guidelines for Infection prevention control (IPC) which is now a critical and integral part of clinical management of patients. These prevention control measures are followed and are initiated at the point of entry of the patients to hospital. Standard precautions including hand hygiene, prevention of needle-stick or sharps injury, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment used on COVID patients have become mandatory to avoid the spread of the virus.

Entry protocols

In order to stop the spread of this fatal virus, entry protocols have also become very strict and only limited number of visitors are allowed to enter the hospitals and visit the patients. The hospitals keep monitoring the temperature of visitors before entry any no one is allowed to enter without wearing a mask and following the safety protocols.

Proper disposal of hospital waste

It is an undeniable fact that the virus can spread from any contact with the infected patients. As a result, proper and safe disposal of waste from the infected patients have become even strict. In order to ensure the safety protocols and stop the spread of virus, the hospitals make sure that the waste from COVID infected patients like used masks, plastic utensils used by the patients, used PPE kits are properly segregated, packed and disposed as per norms and the equipments are fully sanitised in CSSD.

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