About Anna Nowak

Hyperbaric chamber service to resume from 1 July 2020

Friday 26 June 2020: Bermuda Hospital Board is pleased to inform referring physicians and the diving community that its hyperbaric chamber services will resume on 1 July 2020 for elective and emergency service.

The hyperbaric chamber is a treatment chamber used for certain medical (specific types of ulcers) and certain surgical conditions likely to benefit from hyperbaric oxygen treatment. It is also used for diving accidents such as arterial gas embolism, and decompression sickness (‘the bends’). The chamber was closed earlier this year in response to the pandemic and increasing COVID-19 infections in Bermuda. The chamber oxygen was diverted in anticipation of a surge of seriously ill COVID-19 patients who would need all available oxygen in the hospital. Additionally, staff members from the department were seconded to and supported the critical care units in the management of the COVID-19 patients.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency & Hyperbaric Services, comments: “BHB prepared early in case Bermuda experienced a surge of seriously unwell patients. To support a threefold increase in critical care beds and ventilator capacity, we had to preserve oxygen and redeploy some of the hyperbaric and wound care staff. We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 infections, and the continued low prevalence in Bermuda suggests it is safe to resume the service.”

Dr Okereke adds: “Recognising that COVID-19 remains a threat and to ensure the safety of the patients and the staff, all the necessary infection control precautions will be followed for all patients and staff. We will continue to monitor the situation closely in case the situation changes. We would like to thank the community for their patience and for understanding of the need to temporarily suspend this service.”

26 June 2020 Home Page, News

Freisenbruch Meyer wins the 2019-2020 Corporate Blood Drive Competition

Tuesday 16 June 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Ministry of Health today announce that Freisenbruch Meyer has won the 2019-2020 Corporate Blood Drive Competition.

Click here for a short video announcing the winner.

The annual competition, now in its seventh year, saw 16 businesses compete by having employees and their friends and families donate blood on their behalf. This year 371 donations were made as part of the competition, which comprises about 20% of all donations made during the year.

Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP, comments: “Congratulations, Freisenbruch Meyer! This competition continues to be a driving force to encourage blood donation in Bermuda. Thank you to all 16 competing companies. While there can only be one winner, every company who supports the competition is helping save lives in Bermuda.”

Other competing companies in 2019/2020 were: Argo/Ariel Re, Aspen, Butterfield Bank, Bermuda Police Service, Butterfield & Vallis, Chubb, Dept of Corrections, Fidelity, Hamilton Insurance Group, Hamilton Princess & Beach Cub, Kitson Group of Companies, Lancashire Insurance Services, Renaissance Re, Sirius, Sampo International.

Dr Clyde Wilson, Chief of Pathology at the BHB, adds: “We are grateful to all the competing companies, but Freisenbruch Meyer earned the trophy with regular blood drives throughout the year. It is so important for people to donate blood. We rely on a wonderful group of regular donors, and this competition helps encourage more people to donate, which we desperately need. So thank you to all the competing companies this year! We hope more companies join in the coming year and grow the donor pool further. This friendly competition can be a way of generating engagement and raising morale, as well as supporting a critical service that saves lives in our community everyday.”

Companies are urged to email the Blood Donor Centre at blood.donor@bhb.bm if they are interested in competing in the next competition.

16 June 2020 Home Page, News

Lamb Foggo UCC services resume with revised hours

Friday 12 June 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC) with revised hours from Tuesday 16 June 2020.

The UCC will open with a physician and a nurse on duty from noon to 8pm on weekdays, and 9am to 9pm on weekends. X-ray services will initially be limited to Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. COVID-19 testing will not be available at the UCC. People should book a COVID-19 test at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Southside, and if they are experiencing symptoms call their GP for advice and guidance.

In the UCC, masks must be worn at all time and a maximum of three people will be allowed in the waiting area at any given time. Physical distancing markers are on the floor inside and outside the facility. People seeking care should come into the building alone as the waiting room cannot accommodate additional visitors. The only exception will be for parents bringing a child for care, or carers with vulnerable or combative patients. Visitors who accompany a patient should otherwise wait in their car or away from the facility.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency & Hyperbaric Services, comments: “We had to temporarily suspend UCC services due to our concern that the pandemic would create pressures in the Emergency Department that would require all staff. We are very pleased to see the continued low prevalence of COVID-19 and, while this continues, we will resume UCC services. We remain cautious at this stage and have factored the curfew hours into our initial opening. As before, the services remain for minor injuries and illnesses only. People with serious or life-threatening conditions that may require diagnostics, surgery or specialist attention should go directly to the Emergency Department or call 911.”

12 June 2020 Home Page, News

KEMH acute care visiting guidelines available on website

Friday 5 June 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board has today posted a factsheet with details about the current visiting limitations for acute care units at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (BHB COVID-19 Phase One Visiting Factsheet.) A short animation has also been posted to help inform people about the current guidelines.

 

Norma Smith, Vice President Acute and Ambulatory, comments: “We have fielded a lot of calls about the new visiting policy, so we want to make the information as freely available as possible. We are aware that many people want to visit their loved ones in hospital, but we have to remain cautious while the threat of COVID-19 remains. The acute care units care for our biggest patient group and with new admissions every day, we hope these additional resources are useful.”

There are four KEMH acute care units. Three are in the Acute Care Wing (Ace Barber, Ascendant Partner Re and Catlin Lindo), and one in the General Wing (Curtis Ward).

The only exception for the following requirements are patients in isolation (including those with non-COVID-19 infectious diseases), and patients awaiting the results of COVID-19 tests.

Visiting Requirements for KEMH Acute Care Wards:
• Patients in all the acute care wards can designate two support people to visit.
• Visitors are required to check in first at the front desk in the ACW, where the names of all support people are listed.
• They can visit up to two hours between 12 noon and 6pm every day.
• Only one person can visit at a time in Curtis Ward, where there are public and semi-public rooms.
• Two people can visit in the ACW units as rooms are larger and private, so physical distancing can be maintained.
• Visitors must remain masked and maintain physical distancing at all times (even with patients).
• Visitors should also wash hands regularly and well on entry and exit to the hospital, ward and patient room and in between if necessary.
• Visitors should also only use public restrooms, and not use patient bathrooms.

5 June 2020 Home Page, News

BHB moves to limited visitation

Wednesday 3 June 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that it will allow limited visiting for its acute care patients in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) from Wednesday 3 June 2020.  This is a phase one relaxation of visiting restrictions.

To safeguard patients and staff, visiting was stopped in April, except for end of life, births and unwell children. This was due to the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in the community and the risks they posed to patients who were already unwell.

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing, comments: “We are not out of the woods yet and COVID-19 remains a threat. However, we understand the huge difference it will make to those in our care to see their loved ones. We are moving cautiously and monitoring the COVID-19 presence in Bermuda closely, but hope that continued low infection rates will allow us to gradually relax further in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Norma Smith, Vice President of Acute and Ambulatory, comments: “Visitors are a vital support for patients, bringing love and connection to those in our care. It was such a hard decision to stop visitation, and as long as infection rates remain low and all government rules on wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene are followed, we will allow limited visitation from 3 June.”

The one exception to the change is that patients on isolation will not be able to receive visitors. This includes all patients who are confirmed as having COVID-19, or who are awaiting COVID-19 test results. All patients admitted to a BHB acute care unit are tested for COVID-19. The results take at least 48 hours, and there will be no visitation during this period.

Requirements of visiting in phase one:

  • Visitors will need to adhere to physical distancing, good hand hygiene and wear masks at all times during their visit (including in private patient rooms). Visiting may be suspended for breaches to social distancing, visiting policy or infection control requirements.
  • Patients must identify visitors as a support person prior to them arriving. Names will be held at the front desks of KEMH and MWI and nurses stations.
  • People who are feeling unwell will not be allowed to visit.
  • For infection control purposes, visitors will not be allowed to use patient bathrooms and will need to use public restrooms on each floor.
  • Overnight stays are not allowed in this phase.

Limited visitation by BHB in acute care areas:

Acute Inpatient Care (KEMH)

  • Designated support people can visit for two hours each day between 12 noon and 6pm.
  • Check into the front desk in the Acute Care Wing lobby for KEMH.
  • In the three Acute Care Ward Units at KEMH where patients are in large private rooms, two visitors can attend at any one time.
  • In Curtis Ward in the General Wing of KEMH, due to space and the use of public and semi-public rooms, one visitor will be allowed at any one time.

Acute Inpatient Care – Adults, and Child & Adolescents (MWI)

  • Designated support people can visit for up to 30 minutes each day between 12 noon and 6pm.
  • Check into the front desk.
  • One visitor will be allowed with visitation occurring in a public space (eg family conference room).

Intensive Care Unit

  • One designated support person per patient allowed to visit for two hours between 10am and noon, or 4pm and 6pm.

Emergency Department

  • Patients should come to emergency on their own, to minimise numbers in the ED waiting room and ensure physical distancing is possible.
  • Exceptions for one visitor will be made in the following circumstances:
    • Vulnerable individuals and children (1 parent/support person)
    • Combative individuals
    • End of life cases
    • Deaths (prior to or within the ED)

Maternity

  • One designated support person may stay up to 8 hours after the birth.
  • If the mother is not discharged within 24 hours, the support person will be allowed to visit up to 2 hours a day between 10am and noon.
  • The support person will need to stay in the mother’s room.

KEMH acute care visiting guidelines available on website (Friday 5 June 2020)

2 June 2020 Home Page, News

BHB maximises space to cope with potential COVID-19 surge

Thursday 23 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board is continuing to increase clinical space in case there is a potential surge in COVID-19 cases.

Along with the additional negative pressure rooms in the Acute Care Wing (ACW), and an overflow Intensive Care Unit being opened in the surgical area of the ACW, this week, additional acute space has been completed in the old surgical area of the General Wing, and BHB is maximising all the buildings on its campus as potential swing space The goal is to increase the total acute care bed stock to about 200, up from the usual figure of 120.

To prepare the swing space, construction work was approved to continue by the Minister of National Security, in line with Shelter in Place Regulations, at Montrose Cottage at KEMH, and Hibiscus Cottage and Fairview Court at MWI, to ensure the additional space was ready for people to work in if needed.

Chief Operating Officer R. Scott Pearman comments: “A big thanks goes to our Facilities and Estates Department and our contractors, who have worked extremely hard to prepare additional clinical space in the hospital and swing space options outside the hospital building where non-acute, support or administrative services can temporarily relocate if needed. We will do everything we can to make sure we have the capacity to care for people with serious complications of covid-19, although our hope is that people abide by the shelter in place restrictions, and keep washing their hands, not touching their faces, and wearing masks when outside, as this will give us the best chance at being able to cope with all those who may need hospital care during this time.”

23 April 2020 Home Page, News

Over $1 million raised by businesses for COVID-19 medical supplies

Wednesday 15 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today thanks international and local businesses in Bermuda who have collectively raised $1,044,000 to date for essential medical supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment and ventilators.

CEO of Hiscox Bermuda, Mike Krefta, helped coordinate the industry’s fundraising efforts, which included contributions from Allied World, AmTrust Group, Aon, Ascot Bermuda, Aspen, Assured Guaranty, Australia-Japan Cable Limited, AXA XL, Axis, Bermuda Chiropractic Association, Bermuda Dental Association, Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers, Bermuda Medical Doctors Association, BF&M, Catalina Holdings, Chubb, Colonial, CPGB Insurance Management, Enstar, Fidelis, Fidelity International, Guy Carpenter, Hannover Re, Hiscox, Jardine Matheson, KPMG, Lancashire, Liberty Specialty Markets, Markel, MS Amlin, OIL & OCIL, Orbis Management, Par-La Ville Dental, QIC Global, Sompo International, Third Point Re, Transatlantic Re and Willis Re.

BHB CEO & President Venetta Symonds comments: “We are extremely grateful for this donation, which helps the hospitals, staff, patients and country by purchasing vital medical supplies at a time of great financial and social uncertainty. Thank you to our Chief of Nursing, Judy Richardson, who made the initial contact with Hiscox and detailed our needs. Our appreciation goes to the donors who are helping us care for those most seriously sick with COVID-19. We have prepared to the best of our ability to meet the potential challenges ahead and this donation means so much to us as we seek to protect and equip our staff and provide the critical care services people may need to save their lives. We thank you for your caring and support.”

Mr Krefta says: “Coronavirus is affecting all of us in some way, and so all of us must contribute to the response. I’d like to thank ABIR, ABIC, Richard Winchell Executive Director of ABIC, Myra Dill BMDA Communications Director and Bill Shields Chief Financial Officer of BHB for all their significant efforts in helping with this appeal.  I’m really proud of how Bermuda’s insurers, reinsurers, brokers, investment managers, local insurance companies, financial service companies and medical associations  have come together to support the hospital at this time, but like everyone I’m even prouder of the work that those on the frontline are doing, so I hope our collective contribution makes a real difference for them.”

 

15 April 2020 Home Page, News

Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre Temporary Closure Details

Wednesday 8 April: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) has provided a further update on its announcement regarding the temporary closure of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre:

BHB’s priority is to have enough nurses and doctors at KEMH to keep emergency services running at this time when we expect emergency and critical care services to come under unprecedented pressure. The pressure is all the greater given that some of our staff members, like some of the island population, are currently on quarantine depleting our limited numbers. Unfortunately, right now, we do not have enough staffing resources for the out-of-hours urgent care service in St David’s, which has averaged 3 to 5 people per day over the last ten days. We remain open to other healthcare providers using the facility if critical needs have to be met, and we are liaising with the Ministry of Health. Our ability to open up again during the current state of emergency will be reliant on both the pressures in Emergency due to COVID-19, and the number of available staff. We would remind people that doctors’ offices are able to stay open during the shelter in place, and most are appropriately asking people to call if they need medical attention to encourage social distancing. Pharmacies are also open.

Questions have been raised whether the UCC could be used to separate COVID-19 patients from the rest of the patient population. Symptomatic COVID-19 patients who need hospital care need to be close to critical care services in case differing forms of ventilation are needed. This is not available at the UCC, which was primarily established to care for urgent but minor complaints and does not therefore have an in-built critical care component. There are also risks for it staying open for ‘non COVID’ patients only, as there may be asymptomatic people with COVID-19 in the community, who can still infect others.  This is why other clinics and doctors’ offices have moved to a ‘call first’ service for all patients, except the Emergency Department which is the only service that cannot close its doors due to the life-saving nature of its service.

Finally, for people in the East worried about how to deal with a medical emergency, it is important to remember that the UCC itself has never provided an emergency service. People with emergency level illnesses and injuries, such a broken bones, head injuries, heart attacks and strokes, should always come immediately to KEMH where we have a much broader range of diagnostic services, surgery and admissions to hospital if inpatient care is needed. Going to the UCC in such instances can delay care when time is critical. People in the East End can also call 911 as there is an ambulance stationed at the Police Station in St David’s which can pick them up.

We apologise for any inconvenience and hope people shelter safely in place as is currently required to stop the spread of COVID-19.

 

8 April 2020 News

UCC temporarily closed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Saturday 4 April 2020: Following the announcement that Bermuda has entered a state of emergency, BHB is suspending services at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre from Saturday 4 April 2020. This is being done in order to focus much needed resources on the KEMH Emergency Department.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “We have seen in other countries the strain that Emergency Departments have experienced due to an influx of COVID-19 patients, and the strain is compounded because staff themselves can also become sick or need to be quarantined, reducing overall resources. We have looked at how best to keep our emergency services open and running for Bermuda at this time of great challenge and anxiety for the community. We believe that we now need all of our available staff in the Emergency Department. We apologise for any inconvenience and remind people that they can travel during the 14 days of sheltering at home for emergency care.”

Dr Okereke adds: “If people start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are worried they have been exposed, they do not need to panic. For many people this is a mild enough disease they can manage at home, with plenty of fluids and Tylenol, if needed. Please be aware of the risks of age and existing medical issues, or if symptoms get worse, call your doctor, the COVID-19 Hotline at 444-2498, or the Emergency Department Telephone Triage at 239-2009. There is a COVID-19 symptom checklist assessment that can be found on both the BHB and Government websites to help you determine your course of action, but don’t just turn up if you think you need care. Always call first.”

4 April 2020 Home Page, News

COVID-19 pandemic telephone support line for children

Tuesday 31 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board’s Child & Adolescent Services (CAS) team is offering telephone support for families with children who are worried or fearful about the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAS offers mental health services for children up to 18 years old. Usually delivering services from the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), the CAS team offering telephone support for any children who may feel heightened fears or worries due to the pandemic. Parents of the children themselves can call 249-3370 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Jayne Isaacs, Manager of Child & Adolescent Services, comments: “This special COVID-19 pandemic telephone support service is for parents and children who may be struggling with fears and worries about illness, being isolated or about coping with all the changes. During these challenging times, we are here to support families with children who need help. Being stuck at home with schools closed, public transport suspended and without normal supports from family and friends, can be incredibly challenging for families. We are not used to these restrictions and families who need help with the stress and anxiety caused by our situation, can call to speak to our mental health experts.”

31 March 2020 Home Page, News