As the rapid spread of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on a global scale, it has become necessary to protect those who fight in the frontline of this pandemic towards the effective treatment of patients. Vaccine development for this life-threatening disease is still underway, meanwhile, the pressure on the global healthcare workforce continues to intensify. The healthcare systems of many nations are being overwhelmed by the burden of numerous sick patients resulting in a lack of infrastructure. Additionally, there is a risk for the healthcare workers being infected by this pandemic as well.
As per the data put forth by WHO, in China 15-20% COVID-19 cases require hospitalization with around 15% of cases presenting with severe symptoms and 5% needing intensive care. While in Italy and Spain, 40-55% of COVID-19 positive cases have been hospitalized, with 7-12% in intensive care units. The reasons behind these national variations in hospital admissions are:
- Different population structures.
- Hospitalization guidelines and thresholds.
- Hospital capacities.
- Testing practices.
- Data collation methods.
- Implementation of infection prevention and control measures.
- Time in receiving care.
- Risk factors among infected patients.
To cope up with these reasons the healthcare system needs to create a surge capacity which is the ability to manage a sudden influx of patients in a disaster or an emergency situation. The comprehensive approach to build surge capacity involves these 4 elements:
- Space: The basic healthcare infrastructure setting which not only covers the hospitals and beds but also includes facilities that are already either available in this setting or which could be equipped for specific emergency needs. Space also includes repurposing of structures beyond a hospital setting to provide for excess patient numbers.
- Staff: This is about ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of aptly skilled and supervised healthcare professionals during the emergency situation.
- Supplies: This relates to the availability of specific equipment for emergency usage, both for patient care and assuring caregiver’s safety. Healthcare workers need to be trained in the use and application of supplies and for certain types of equipment, specialists will be required.
- Systems: This refers to the modes of working to ensure ongoing and proactive coordination for optimum surge capacity response. It covers aspects of decision making, communication, continuity of operations, and supply chain management.
Therefore the availability of ample educational resources for healthcare workers will help build the surge capacity for any healthcare facility. These resources will enable them to be prepared for the community transfer situation of this global pandemic which will drastically increase the number of COVID-19 positive cases. Specialized worker-based Coronavirus online training programmes will ensure that the staff are trained, equipped, and capable of practices needed to:
- Prevent the spread of respiratory diseases including COVID-19 within the facilities.
- Promptly identify and isolate patients with possible Coronavirus symptoms and inform the correct facility staff and public health authorities.
- Provide care for a specific number of patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as part of their routine operations.
- Potentially deliver treatment to a large number of patients in the context of an escalating outbreak while maintaining adequate care for other patients.
- Observe and manage any healthcare personnel that might be exposed to the pathogen.
- Communicate effectively within the facility and chalk out apt external communication related to COVID-19.
iPC Health aims to upskill all those healthcare workers who are at the risk of exposure to this pandemic. Our virtual training programme will facilitate appropriate decision-making in key capacities which include diagnosis, triage, clinical management responsibilities, and essential infection prevention control measures (IPC). Lastly, our COVID-19 programme offers the hospitals a chance to mobilize adequately supported supervision structures and capacity to reinforce and support rapidly acquired knowledge and skills.