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BHB doubles oxygen supply with $1m donation from Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation

Thursday 6 August 2020: BHB today officially ‘switched on’ its new oxygenator and thanked the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation for donating the $1 million needed for the equipment, which doubles the oxygen capacity of the hospitals and prepares it should there be a second surge of COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

 

The oxygenator arrived on island at the end of July and following installation, BHB Facilities staff have been trained in its use and basic maintenance. The equipment takes in air and condenses the oxygen from the air supply into a filling station. From there it can supply critical care or acute care beds in both the Acute Care Wing and General Wing of KEMH, or fill oxygen tanks.

Chief Executive Officer of BHB Dr Michael Richmond comments: “We are very grateful for this generous donation. There is no cure for COVID-19 and people hospitalised with this virus frequently need oxygen treatment, including ventilators and high flow oxygen treatments. We hope Bermuda does not experience a second surge in cases, but if we do, this equipment will help us save lives. We have the ability to expand the number of critical care and acute care beds, we have ventilators and other oxygen supplying equipment – and the oxygenator ensures we have the oxygen.

“Some hospitals overseas have run out of onsite oxygen due to the needs of COVID-19 patients. As Bermuda’s only hospital, with no other oxygen supplier on island, we could not afford for that to happen. The benefit beyond COVID-19 is that the island now has two pieces of equipment supplying oxygen, which adds redundancy into the system for our more routine treatments.”

Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mr R Scott Pearman adds: “BHCF’s donation in April meant we could go ahead and place our order early. This has been absolutely critical. We bought the last available piece of equipment from the vendor and reports now indicate a shortage of oxygenators available for purchase globally. If we had not been able to move quickly, we would not be as prepared as we now are. We would like to thank the BHCF for the donation, and also the BHB Facilities and Procurement teams for their work in purchasing and running the new equipment.”

Chair of the Bermuda Hospitals Charitable Foundation Ms Penny MacIntyre comments: “No one wants to imagine struggling to breathe for any reason. COVID-19 means all of us are at risk and we want the assurances our hospital has what it takes to take care of us. Our thanks to BHB and Dr Richmond for identifying the urgent need for the oxygenator. Our ability to act quickly is as a result of the generosity of every individual, family and corporate donor who entrust the Bermuda Hospital Charitable Foundation to make key funding decisions that better our health, safety and wellness now more than ever. What a huge relief to know we have the resources to breathe when we need it the most.”

6 August 2020 Home Page, News

Agape House maintenance In August

Wednesday 5 August 2020: BHB today announces that Agape House patients have been temporarily relocated to Curtis Ward in the KEMH General Wing for about a month, while work is undertaken at the Agape House facility. Work will include some basic maintenance and the building will be tented for fumigation nearer the end of August. During this time the service will be closed to new inpatient admissions, but Dr Debbie Benson, BHB’s Palliative Care lead physician, will continue to offer palliative care consults by referral.

Granville Russell, Director for the service, comments: “This is essential work for us to maintain services over the longer term. We apologise for any inconvenience to our patients, but the relocation is essential for the work to be completed.”

During this time, the fax for referrals has changed to 239-2208, but emails and phone numbers for staff remain the same.

5 August 2020 Home Page, News

Increased visitation for KEMH acute care patients from 4 August

Monday 3 August 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that, given the sustained low prevalence of COVID-19 in Bermuda, that it will allow more visitation over increased hours for acute care patients at KEMH from Tuesday 4 August 2020.

Acute care patients in the Acute Care Wing units (Ace Barber, Ascendent Partner Re, Catlin Lindo): patients who are not on isolation can have up to two visitors in their room at any one time between noon and 6pm.

Acute care patients in the General Wing (Curtis Ward): as these rooms are smaller and have other patients in, acute care patients in the General Wing (Curtis Ward) can have one visitor in their room at any one time between noon and 6pm.

Isolation patients: For patients on isolation due to a known infection of any kind, or in the first 24 hours of admission while waiting for results of the required COVID-19 test, two designated support people pre-identified by the patient will be able to visit for up to two hours per day.

The following requirements must be followed when visiting any BHB services:

  • Visitors must be masked at all times, including in patient rooms
  • Visitors must maintain physical distancing at all times, including in patient rooms
  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19 or any other infection 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 at this time, other than in exceptional circumstances

Norma Smith, Vice President, Clinical Operations (Acute and Ambulatory) comments: “We are encouraged by the sustained low prevalence of COVID-19 in Bermuda at this time and feel it is currently safe to allow visitation so our patients benefit from the love and support of their families and close friends. As front line carers, we see the difference it makes. We remain on alert, however. Our ability to increase visitation may change if there is evidence of second wave of infections in Bermuda. However, while it is safe to do so, we look forward to welcoming more visitors.

The following departments have also increased visiting hours:

Intensive Care Unit

  • Designated support people now allowed to visit for two hours between 10am and 2pm, or 4pm and 8pm
  • Visitors must be on the ICU visitors list

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 now be allowed to visit up to 4 hours a day between 10am and 6pm
  • If the support person leaves the hospital during visiting hours they will not be permitted back on the unit

Visitation in other BHB areas remains unchanged at this time during the pandemic:

Acute Inpatient Care for Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute services (adult, child and adolescent services):

  • Pre-identified support people can visit for 30 minutes each day between 12 noon and 6pm
  • Support people should check in at the front desk
  • One person can visit at any one time and visitation will be in a public space, such as a family conference room

Long Term Care (KEMH and MWI), including Group Homes

  • One designated support person can visit for one hour each day between 12 noon and 6pm

Emergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre

  • 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)
3 August 2020 Home Page, News

Consultation on draft Mental Health Act Code of Practice launched

Tuesday 28 July 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that a consultation has been launched on a draft Code of Practice (the Code) relating to the Mental Health Act 1968 and subsequent amendments. As allowed by the Act, the Minister of Health has delegated the responsibility of completing the consultation on the draft Code to BHB on her behalf. The consultation opens today and will run until 4 September 2020.

The Code can be downloaded from here: Mental Health Act Code of Conduct_CONSULTATION DRAFT-July2020

Feedback should be provided by clicking on the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Code-of-Conduct

The Code provides guidance to medical practitioners, BHB staff and approved mental health professionals on how they should carry out their responsibilities under the Mental Health Act when providing psychiatric treatment and care for persons suffering from mental disorder. The Code will also help patients and their families to understand what they can expect from health professionals who are assisting with their loved ones’ treatment.

This is the first time in Bermuda that a Code of Practice will be available to support the implementation of the Mental Health Act, and it will come into effect on 31 October 2020. It is intended that the Code will:

  • Ensure that all patients receive high-quality, safe care
  • Provide straightforward and accessible information about how the Mental Health Act is to be used
  • Clarify how decisions should be made about people’s treatment and support when it is suspected they may not have the capacity to make such decisions
  • Set out the over-arching principles that should guide the care of people who have mental health needs
  • Ensure compliance with the law
  • Protect patient rights

The Minister of Health, Hon. Kim Wilson, JP MP, comments: “I am pleased that BHB, on behalf of the Ministry, is sharing a draft of Bermuda’s first Code of Practice for all practitioners in the mental health field for feedback. We are looking for input from as wide a range of individuals and organisations as possible. We are particularly keen to have comments about the clarity and detail of the Code. We will review all feedback before finalising the drafting of the Code.”

If people who would like to participate in the consultation have any questions, please email Alick Bush at alick.bush@bhb.bm.

27 July 2020 Home Page, News

Dr Michael Richmond appointed as BHB CEO

Tuesday 21 July 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that Dr Michael Richmond has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & President, and will take over the position when Mrs Venetta Symonds, takes early retirement in July 2020 after eight years as CEO & President. At the same time the Board is recreating the role of deputy CEO which will be filled by Mr R Scott Pearman, who is on a developmental pathway to be a potential candidate to compete for the CEO position in 2023.

Dr Richmond is currently the Chief of Staff at BHB. Having joined BHB in 2017, he also spent three months as Acting CEO during Mrs Symond’s leave last year. Dr Richmond has extensive experience in healthcare and hospital management in the UK and overseas. Immediately prior to joining BHB, he served in the dual role as Chief Medical Officer at Hamad Medical Corporation and Chief Executive Officer of Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital in Qatar.

Originally from the UK, Dr Richmond is an anaesthetist with 25 years’ experience. He has worked extensively on major change programmes both in the UK and internationally. He has developed a strong professional network that includes major medical institutions in the UK, Ireland, United States of America, Canada and Qatar. Dr Richmond obtained his medical degree from the University of Aberdeen and specialised in anaesthetics at the Royal College of Anaesthetists in the UK and College of Anaesthetists Ireland.

William Madeiros, Chairman of the BHB Board, comments: “We would first like to pay tribute to Mrs Venetta Symonds for her leadership and vision over the last eight years as CEO and for her dedication to care over her 40 year career at BHB. To ensure we appointed an equally high calibre CEO who could continue to improve quality and value at BHB, the Board established a subcommittee last year after Mrs Symonds announced her intention to take early retirement. Dr Richmond is an experienced and skilled candidate, with extensive experience as a hospital executive, who is ready to take on this critical role. While we currently face an unprecedented challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Richmond’s leadership of the BHB pandemic response has only highlighted what we already knew – that we have someone with the skills, experience and strategic abilities to navigate hospital services through major challenges and help them become stronger. This appointment supports the current succession plan approved by the Board in 2018. This plan identified Mr Pearman as being on a development pathway to be a potential candidate to compete for this position by 2023, and this development will continue with him in the role of Deputy CEO.”

Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, JP MP, comments: “We remain very grateful for the achievement of Mrs Symonds as CEO and wish her the very best in her early retirement. I am very pleased for BHB and Bermuda that Dr Richmond has agreed to take on the role. COVID-19 remains a potent threat in Bermuda and overseas, but Dr Richmond’s advice and strategic approach to managing the pandemic and looking beyond at how quality and service improvements can be made once the pandemic is over give me great optimism for the future of BHB and hospital services, and their ability to meet the needs of people in Bermuda.”

In addition, “Looking to the future, it is critical that Bermudians continue to be equipped and made ready with the tools for successful leadership. BHB shares this Government’s goal of securing and retaining qualified, professional Bermudians who can lead the organisation. Therefore, I am pleased to see the appointment of Bermudian, Mr R Scott Pearman, to the position of Deputy CEO. The Ministry of Health along with countless Bermudian families invests heavily in the education of Bermudians in healthcare professions and beyond. We are renewing our commitment to realising the best possible return on those investments by ensuring a depth of leadership talent on the proper path to success”.

Dr Richmond comments: “I have spent three years at BHB as Chief of Staff and have experienced first hand the BHB staff dedication and desire for quality. I look forward to building on the awesome work already achieved with my colleagues, and working more closely with staff in support and administrative as well as clinical areas. The pandemic has only highlighted the phenomenal ability of BHB staff to do what is needed to care for the Bermuda community. I remain committed to the key values of quality, patient safety and equity. While we know there are challenges ahead, I have great faith we will navigate through them, be stronger and make Bermuda proud.”

The new CEO’s contract will be for three years with a salary of $485,000. The first effective date of the contract is 1 August 2020.

21 July 2020 Home Page, News

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