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Mental Health Act Code of Practice now available

Monday 18 January 2021: The Ministry of Health and Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announce that the Bermuda Mental Health Act Code of Practice is now available, following the consultation process last year, a process which was undertaken by BHB on the Ministry’s behalf.

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.

It can be found at https://www.gov.bm/mental-health and the link is available on the BHB mental health website at www.bermudahospitals.bm/mental-health

The Minister of Health, Hon. Kim Wilson, JP MP, comments: “I’m very pleased that the Code of Practice is now live – the first ever Code of Practice in Bermuda for mental health. It will provide clarity to all mental health professionals in Bermuda about how they should carry out their roles and responsibilities under the Bermuda Mental Health Act with the goal of delivering high quality and safe care. It outlines protections for patients and explains roles, rights and responsibilities. It is both a guide for professionals and also for patients, families and their carers.”

Preston Swan, VP of Clinical Operations, Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, comments: “BHB is very happy to have supported the consultation process on behalf of the Ministry. It is a great step forward in Bermuda that mental health professionals now have this important Code of Conduct to guide our work and to ensure that safe, effective and consistent services are delivered to people in Bermuda. It is also a great guide for patients, families and carers, setting transparent and clear expectations on how services and processes under the Mental Health Act should work.”

18 January 2021 Home Page, News

Bermuda Hospitals Board COVID-19 vaccination update

Friday 15 January 2021: BHB today provided details of vaccinations given over this week to staff and patients, from Monday 11 January to Friday 15 January 2021.

Dr Michael Ashton, Chief of Medicine & Infectious Diseases Specialist, gets vaccinated at the BHB clinic.

Over the five days, 744 COVID-19 vaccinations were given at BHB. Of these, 584 vaccinations were given to hospital workers in the BHB COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic, and 160 were given to long term care patients at KEMH and MWI (including group homes). The second doses for the individuals vaccinated this week will take place in 21 days, between 1 and 5 of February 2021. In addition, a second clinic for people to get their first shot will be run in a couple of weeks for people who may feel more comfortable getting vaccinated now they have seen the roll out start. Dates will be confirmed shortly.

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing and executive lead for the BHB vaccination roll out comments: “I’m so pleased that we have begun vaccination at BHB. Right now there is no better protection available so getting access to the vaccine is great news for people in healthcare and our community. We hope, as well, that this is just the start. Additional vaccination slots were added onto the Friday clinic to include some people who made a decision to book later in the week, but I feel encouraged as more staff are saying they feel more comfortable getting their first shot now they have seen one group go through. For this reason, we are planning a second clinic, likely in a couple of weeks.

Ms Richardson adds: “The clinic ran very smoothly and a big thank you has to go to all the departments who cleaned andcleared the space, and those who set up, supported and ran the clinic at KEMH, and all those who organised and delivered vaccinations across long term care units at KEMH, MWI and 26 group homes. We did not have any patient safety issues, and people only experienced the expected mild side effects for a few days, which is in line with international experience. We will continue to share information to educate and encourage more staff to get vaccinated. This is our best protection. It is safe, effectiveand will protect people in our hospitals and community.”

BHB has about 1,900 staff including casuals, part time staff and locums; about 1,500 of this number are full time staff. All staff were sent a vaccination intent form, in which they could elect to accept or decline the COVID-19 vaccination. 872 people returned the intent form. Everyone who wanted a vaccination at this time got a booking.

BHB has approximately 250 long term care patients. The long term care patients who were not vaccinated were due to families or the patients themselves declining the vaccination.

18 January 2021 Home Page, News

BHB pilots thermal detectors at its entrances

Friday 15 January 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) is the first company on island to use thermal detection monitors at its entrances. Three monitors have been in use since Christmas Eve in a pilot of the devices. Two Bermudian companies provided monitors from two different manufacturers for the project.

They are located at entrances to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s Acute Care Wing main lobby and Emergency Department. and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute’s main entrance.

The stand-alone machines have thermal sensors that detect your body temperature. You simply stand in front of the device and it advises you exactly what to do.

Specifically designed to address concerns with the spread COVID-19, the monitors will advise you to wear a mask if you don’t have one on, or if it does not cover your nose and mouth. If your temperature is too high, a recording announces that your access is denied and a red light flashes. If you are wearing a mask and you do not have a fever, the monitor will display your temperature on the screen and sound a message that giving you permission to enter.

“We’ve had a great response from staff and the public since we’ve introduced the thermal detection monitors,” says BHB Security and Fire Officer Earlene Wilkinson. “People appreciate the move away from the personal contact involved in manual temperature taking.

“Both brands are compatible with our access control doors and so we will have the ability to programme the entrance doors not to open automatically if you are not masked or if your temperature is too high.”

BHB has protocols in place to manage persons who are denied access. Emergency staff wearing protective equipment will attend to those who were trying to go to the Emergency Department. Those attempting to access other services will be advised to contact their physician.

The pilot will run until the end of January.

15 January 2021 Home Page, News

Why I will be getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Dr Michael Ashton

By Dr Michael Ashton, BHB Chief of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Specialist

Friday 8 January 2021: One of the ICU nurses approached me again as I was coming out of a patient room and asked when the vaccine for COVID-19 will become available in Bermuda. As before, we both keenly agreed that we will gratefully receive it when it finally arrives. We have only to look across the ICU to see the devastating potential of COVID-19 as a disease.

As an Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine specialist practicing in Bermuda for the last 10 years, I am regularly reminded how patients can succumb to disease. Even initial appearances of health and stability can sometimes betray the fragile balance in which we all exist. The COVID-19 pandemic rages on around the world, now with increasing efficiency, and we are far from herd immunity. Without an effective vaccine, there would be no end to the pandemic in sight; and our most vulnerable friends and family would have no hope of a normal life.

And yet after much determination and rigorous testing, there are now several approved vaccines (including mRNA vaccines) with extensive data published from multiple peer-reviewed and credible sources to establish safety and effectiveness. Remarkably, and unlike many other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness has been observed in most all populations – irrespective of age, race or health status.

Bermuda has struggled and made great sacrifices. We have only have to look to our neighbors to recognize the great risks that we have faced. The COVID-19 vaccines now represent a safe and responsible path back to normality. To start, there will be a limited supply of vaccine, so it makes sense for the vaccine to be first available to front-line and vulnerable people. No-one will ever be forced to take this vaccine, but having seen the consequences of this disease and having followed the vaccine development, I wholeheartedly encourage those eligible to receive the vaccine when it becomes available.

Ultimately, whether you take the vaccine is a personal decision – but with implications for those around you. As you weigh the risks and benefits, ensure that your sources of information are reliable, credible, and preferably from peer-reviewed publications. Consider each contingency and have a plan. For the vast majority of people, the vaccine benefits far outweigh the risks. But if you choose not to take the vaccine, are you prepared to continue to be at risk for contracting COVID-19? What will you do instead to protect yourself and those around you? And if you were to get sick, who will take care of you?

8 January 2021 Home Page, News

New year’s baby makes a late appearance

Wednesday 6 January 2021: The first baby of 2021 has finally arrived at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) to parents Danielle Pacheco and Daniel Hayward.

Staff of the Maternity Unit welcomed the little girl at 1:40pm yesterday, 5 January 2021. Kalysta Rayne Hayward weighed in at 6lb 2oz.

Last year’s first baby arrived promptly on New Year’s Day 2020 at 7:58am.

 

6 January 2021 Home Page, News

Call for new blood donors to help over the holidays

The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre team is asking people to give the gift of life this Christmas and consider becoming a blood or apheresis donor, even if they have not donated before. As an added Christmas bonus, people donating blood in December get a free gift of chocolate, donated to the Blood Donor Centre by BGA Wholesale Distributor.

Christmas is usually a busy social time for people, impacting the number of available donors. The pandemic, however, has brought new challenges, with people in quarantine or isolation. A number of donors have been unable to donate as usual due to exposures, travel or returning family members from overseas that require them to quarantine.

Lucy Correia, Nurse Phlebotomist, comments: “Our donors have been phenomenal throughout the pandemic, continuing to donate regularly. However, with positive cases going up every day, more and more people are being impacted either through a positive test or a precautionary quarantine. Once someone is in quarantine, they cannot donate for at least 14 days. This is reducing our number of available donors, and cancellations are frequently at short notice as new positive cases come to light.

Ms Correia adds: “We hope people closely follow government guidance on masking and avoiding the three C’s of crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces. It can save lives, prevent quarantines and for us this means people can safely donate. To help us through the season safely we are asking anyone who may not have donated before to seriously consider helping out this season. All our blood is from voluntary local donations – we rely on this to save lives and help treat people with conditions such as cancer and sickle cell anaemia. Please help us save lives this Christmas and New year and donate blood.”

To make an appointment, call 236-5067 or email blood.donor@bhb.bm. Click here to visit the Bermuda Blood Donor Page and read details about donor eligibility.

23 December 2020 Home Page, News

Dr Wesley Miller appointed as BHB chief of staff

Thursday 17 December 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that Dr Wesley Miller has been appointed as Chief of Staff, effective Monday 4 January 2021. He takes over from Dr Michael Richmond, who was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & President in August this year. Dr Miller is currently BHB’s Chief of Surgery. The Chief of Staff position reports to the CEO, and is accountable to the Board and Minister of Health.

As Chief of Staff, Dr Miller will lead BHB’s team of medical and support personnel. The position is the most senior medical role at BHB and is responsible for the supervision of medical and dental care given to patients and residents in BHB facilities. Dr Miller’s role ensures patient safety, sound clinical governance and building positive relations with the physician community.

Chairman of the Board William Madeiros comments: “We would like to congratulate Dr Miller on his appointment to the Chief of Staff position. Dr Miller is a respected senior medical leader at BHB and his medical experience and skills, and strong relationships with local physicians, will be critical as we navigate through these challenging times.”

CEO Dr Michael Richmond comments: “I’m very pleased to welcome Dr Miller into this new senior role. I’ve had the benefit of working with Dr Miller since 2017 and value his strengths and standing as a physician leader. He is the right person for the job as we manage our hospitals through unprecedented times, due to the global pandemic, and responding to the economic and health impact on our community.”

Dr Wesley Miller had been Chief of Surgery at BHB since 2007. Before arriving in Bermuda, he worked in Jamaica and the United Kingdom. In 1989, he was awarded Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland. He went on to serve as a registrar in Portsmouth, a senior registrar in Northern Ireland, and an ear, nose and throat surgeon in Rotherham, Yorkshire. In 1996, he was recruited to work as an otolaryngologist in Bermuda. After joining BHB, Dr Miller offered a wide range of services including paediatric and adult ENT procedures, sleep studies, allergy testing and management, and the evaluation and management of chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD) and asthma.

Dr Miller comments: “I am looking forward to taking on the Chief of Staff role and working with the physician community inside and outside the hospitals. We are in difficult times, but my focus will remain on ensuring safe, quality services that can adapt to the pandemic restrictions and economic challenges we currently face.”

The Chief of Staff appointment and compensation are approved by the Board and Minister of Health. Compensation for this position is $475,000 per year.

17 December 2020 Home Page, News

Lamb Foggo UCC Winter Weekday Hours

Tuesday 15 December 2020: As part of its winter planning, Bermuda Hospitals Board today announced that it will be reducing the weekday hours of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC) for the winter months, as it did last year.

From Monday 21 December 2020, the UCC will open from 4pm to 8pm every weekday and public holiday and will not offer a weekday x-ray service. Previously opening at noon, the later 4pm UCC start reduces daytime hours, but keeps the service open at its busiest time in the evening. Weekend hours will stay the same from 9am to 9pm, with an x-ray service. People can call the UCC if they need to check the hours at 298-7700.

BHB anticipates that the winter hours will be in place until Sunday 31 January 2021. Below is a video overview of the winter hours.

 

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “Reduced UCC hours were first introduced last year following a rather difficult 2018 – 2019 winter. This reduction in UCC hours allowed us focus important resources on the Emergency Department, which always has an increase in seriously unwell people in winter. It worked very well and we saw a reduction in the number of people who left without being seen in the ED by 65% – something that happens when wait times are too long. Additionally, there was a 44% improvement in average time from arrival to discharge for all patients (2.8 hours verses 4.1 hours) and the boarding time for people admitted to hospital from the Emergency Department improved by 34% (from 13.1 hours to 9.5 hours), this despite an increase in total admissions (4% up, or 979 compared to 935 in 2018 – 2019). We are keen to improve this further.”

“This year obviously has added challenges as we are in a pandemic and we are currently experiencing a steep rise in positive cases. We may have to make further changes if these numbers continue to rise and our Emergency Department comes under greater pressure.

“We are however doing all we can to maintain the urgent care service at Southside. We know people in the East End appreciate having the service available, and it is a place anyone on the island with minor injuries and illnesses can attend and will often be seen more quickly than in the ED.

“I would stress that people with COVID-19 symptoms should not turn up in person for care at any medical facility unless they have called in advance, and I would add that the UCC Is not the right place to call. The UCC does not offer COVID-19 testing, and more importantly for people who feel very unwell, the UCC, unlike the ED and KEMH, does not have inpatient acute or critical care services.

“People who are concerned they have COVID-19 can utilise the COVID-19 patient symptoms self-assessment checklist which is available at bermudahospitals.bm and the Government website. I would urge them to contact the Government’s COVID-19 hotline (444-2498) or primary care physician if they need advice and, failing this, call the Emergency Department at 239-2009 so, if needed, they can be instructed how to access care services safely.”

14 December 2020 Home Page, News

BHB gives mental health the green light

Sunday 13 December 2020: Green is synonymous with Christmas, but it’s also the colour chosen internationally to denote mental health. This holiday season the management and staff of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are shedding light on the importance of good mental health.

On Monday 14 December, Preston Swan, Vice President of Clinical Operations, MWI, will flick the switch at sister hospital King Edward VII Memorial Hospital lighting the outside of that facility green.

“The theme for mental health this year is kindness, and in this season of giving we want to remind the public that simply being kind to someone can have a positive impact on their mental health,” said BHB Chief of Psychiatry Chantelle Simmons.

“As we experience increasing numbers of COVID positive cases in the community, stress levels are likely rising, and feelings of sadness or anxiety may emerge. These are normal reactions during this unprecedented period. Being kind in this climate can be comforting, uplifting and help to boost our mood,” she continued.

“When you see the green lighting on the hospital in the December night, we would like you to pause and take stock of your mental health,” said Mr Swan. “Think kindness – being kind to yourself and to others. It need not cost money. Enjoy the beauty around you and share your thoughts with others.”

“If you are feeling overwhelmed please reach out to a professional who can help –seeking support is not a sign of weakness,” said BHB Deputy Chief of Psychiatry Anna Neilson-Williams. “You are not alone. We encourage you to contact MWI, your GP or one of the range of mental health professionals available within our community.”

If you need mental health assistance, please call the MWI Acute Community Health Service at 249-3432. For serious mental health crisis at any time of the day or night, call 239-1111.

13 December 2020 Home Page, News

BHB maternity guidelines during the current surge of COVID-19 cases

Friday 11 December 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today confirmed that the guidelines for designated support people attending births and visiting mothers in Maternity are not currently changing. However, in order to minimise the number of people from the community in the Maternity department, BHB is returning to the guidance earlier this year relating to doulas not attending births until the risks of transmission have once more declined.

Current guidelines allow for one designated support person to attend the birth and stay for up to eight hours afterwards. For mothers who have to stay in Maternity for more than 24 hours, that designated support person can visit up to four hours a day between 10 and 6pm.

Granville Russell, Director of Maternal Child, comments: “A birth is such a precious experience and as much as possible we want to allow the mother and her designated support person to be together throughout and after the birth. However, we also have to recognise that the rising numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 means everyone entering Maternity brings an additional risk to mothers, babies and staff. We will continue to closely monitor the prevalence of COVID-19, and when the risks decline again, we look forward to welcoming doulas back for mothers who want their support.”

Expectant mothers are reminded that the free wifi at BHB will allow them to video chat, message and email friends and family without incurring mobile data costs while they are in the Maternity department.

Mr Russell adds: “We will do all we can to support and care for mother and newborns in the Maternity department. We recognise these are stressful times. Our guidelines will likely change in the coming months based on the risks of exposure rising or declining in the community. Expectant mothers or their designated support person can call the Maternity department at any time if they have any questions, or they can visit bermudahospitals.bm and view the latest maternity guidelines.”

As tours of the Maternity department have been suspended due to the pandemic, BHB developed a virtual tour earlier this year so expectant mothers and their support person know what it is like before they arrive for the birth. The tour is on the Maternity Page of our website and the BHB Youtube Channel (see below).

Click here to read the full guidelines on the Maternity Department page of this website.

 

11 December 2020 Home Page, News