AdventHealth Waterman hospital in Tavares. // Archive photo
AdventHealth provided an update this week on frequently asked questions regarding topics such as surge plans, personal protective equipment and masks, donations and more. The health-care system’s facilities include AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares.
Q: Are we prepared for a surge in patients?
A: AdventHealth has aggressively been planning since February for a surge in patients. We have made significant investments in services, infrastructure, personnel and technology.
Some of the ways we are planning for a surge:
• We have task force teams dedicated to evaluating all aspects of their disciplines, from nursing and medical staff to human resources to facilities.
• Our supply chain teams are scouring the globe and purchasing equipment and supplies to ensure our team members and greater community are safeguarded.
• We have reduced the number of patients in our hospital by eliminating elective procedures. This ensures we have space, supplies and personnel to care for a surge in patients.
• We are developing and actively updating a robust surge plan. We’re working with an international company that has performed COVID-19 modeling in Italy, New York and elsewhere to also provide us county-by-county guidance. This allows us to look at our capabilities by county and ensure we have the resources ready to care for the community. In response to that modeling, we’re:
Developing plans to convert traditional beds/units into ICU at our hospitals.
Collaborating with state and county leadership as it relates to a surge that might extend beyond the walls of our hospitals. As part of that, we’re identifying alternative care sites that could be used to treat low-acuity patients off-site.
• Bolstering our testing capabilities, both in quantity of tests performed and speed in which results are returned.
• Creating staffing options, including for community physicians, to care for patients and bolster the number of clinical providers.
Q: How many ICU beds does AdventHealth have in Central Florida?
A: Excluding NICU and PCU, AdventHealth has roughly 570 licensed critical care beds in Central Florida, including our facilities in Lake, Volusia and Flagler counties.
Our teams have plans to convert other units and rooms into critical care if needed. This would add several-hundred more ICU beds across Central Florida and significantly expand our ICU capacity.
Q: How many ventilators does AdventHealth have in Central Florida?
A: We have hundreds of ventilators in stock and have ordered hundreds more.
Q: Where are COVID-19 patients treated?
A: Each campus has a designated unit where all COVID-19 positive and suspected cases are admitted, if admission is required.
Designating units helps significantly for many reasons, including assisting with staffing, minimizing the physicians and team members who are exposed, and preserving supplies/personal protective equipment.
We also have created processes and COVID-19 areas in the emergency department, which allows us to treat all suspected COVID-19 patients in the same area and minimize the risk of exposures to non-COVID-19 patients.
Many COVID-19 patients do not require hospitalization. In those cases, the patients return home with care and isolation instructions.
Q: Do you have enough personal protective equipment (PPE)?
A: The health of our physicians and team members is of utmost importance, and it’s vital that we protect our workforce.
Clinicians who provide direct care to patients with or suspected of having COVID-19 are given appropriate protective equipment, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of global product shortages, it’s important that we are good stewards of our resources today so we have adequate supplies to safeguard our workforce and care for our community in the future.
As of today, our teams have the appropriate level of masks and protective gear based on their role and the level of direct care.
We are aggressively purchasing and ordering supplies, and have also turned to innovative measures such as 3D printed face shields. (See lakeandsumterstyle.com/adventhealth-spearheads-effort-to-3-d-print-shields-for-health-workers/)
Q: Do team members wear surgical masks?
A: All team members who work in a building where patient care is provided must wear a surgical/loop mask. Team members are not allowed to wear masks that are soiled or damaged. If a team member’s mask is damaged, they are provided a replacement.
Q: Can AdventHealth employees use homemade cloth masks?
A: AdventHealth currently has enough hospital-grade masks for team members. AdventHealth does not approve the use of homemade cloth masks used alone. Hospital face masks have been tested to a variety of criteria, including fluid and germ resistance, while homemade cloth masks have not.
Q: Can homemade masks be donated and what type of donations are needed?
A: See this story: lakeandsumterstyle.com/adventhealth-opens-hubs-for-covid-19-donations-encouragement-to-health-care-workers/
Q: What is AdventHealth doing to support its team members?
A: We are taking several steps to assist our team members during this time. Some of these measures include:
• We have provided work-from-home or redeployment opportunities for 100 percent of our workforce, including pay continuation.
• Providing child-care assistance for eligible team members
• Implementing a hotel program for team members to safeguard their families from a potential exposure. Team members who are exposed to COVID at work can use the program for an AdventHealth-paid hotel room. Team members who may have been exposed to COVID outside of work and want to practice social distancing can receive discounted rates at area hotels.