Dr Ashiq Zindha Basheer Ahamed, Medical Director, Ahalia Hospital Mussafah, Abu Dhabi, reveals the measures adopted to ensure complete safety for patients coming to the facility
What were the measures undertaken to declare your hospital a non-Covid-19 facility?
We have taken all the necessary measures such as strict screening at the point of entry by answering a questionnaire and thermal scanning. All Covid affected in-patients were shifted to field hospitals. All in-patient units, including the equipment, were deep cleaned and disinfected. Linens were laundered following the infected linen handling protocol. Temporary clinics, physical partitions, etc, which were built to contain Covid cases during the outbreak time were dismantled and brought back to normal. Elevators designated for Covid clinics were deep cleaned, fumigated and opened to the public. The temporary modifications made in HVAC system to create negative pressure were turned back to normal. Deep cleaning of all nook and corners were performed around the entire facility.
The UAE leadership has done an excellent job in reducing Covid numbers within a very short time span. The Department of Health, Abu Dhabi has also played a big part in making private healthcare facilities Covid free. Ahalia Hospital Mussafah offers multiple specialities and super specialities including paediatrics, obstetrics, general surgery, urology, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery. It is very essential to ensure a Covid-free environment for the safety of patients and staff during consultation and during and after procedures.
As per DOH directives we run a separate fever clinic isolated from rest of the hospital, where any patient with fever is consulted with dedicated lab, radiology, ECG services and Covid swab area. In case a patient tests positive, he or she is referred for home quarantine or to specialised field hospitals. No Covid positive patients are admitted at Ahalia Mussafah. In the hospital we maintain social distancing, face masks, gloves, regular disinfection and hand washing to ensure our patients and staff are safe.
Have you completely stopped admitting people with symptoms of Covid-19?
We are stringent in segregating patients at the point of entry itself by strict latest screening tools. Only non-Covid-19 patients are allowed to enter other OPDs. Any medium/high-risk patients suspected for Covid will be escorted to a separate zone with HEPA filters and designated staff taking care of them. Since this processes are extremely streamlined, it never affects the safety of other patients who are getting admitted in other zones. All patients undergoing surgery and other in-patients will also be screened for Covid-19 by RT-PCR.
How are you ensuring that your patients and staff are safe from any Covid patients coming into your facilities?
We have strengthened the pre-triaging (screening at point of entry) with specific screening tools to pick all possible cases at the entrance itself and segregate all such cases to a designated clinic, which is physically separated from other functional areas of the hospital. Thermal cameras will catch patients with elevated temperature.
The clinic where the suspected cases are handled is equipped with basic diagnostic modalities like sample collection, x-ray, etc. Thus, there is no fear of mixing samples of suspected patients with normal ones.
We use colour-coding system for proper patient identification throughout the facility, which stars from the screening point. All patients undergoing surgical procedures, delivery, as well as all in-patients will undergo routine screening prior to the treatment.
All staff go through frequent Covid screening to make sure no one is at risk within the facility. Visitors need to show recent negative Covid reports before entering the facility or being allowed to see patients. The facility ensures the infection control practices are followed from the point of entry such as social distancing, cough etiquette and hand washing through educational posters and videos.
We make sure all those who are entering - both patients and visitors are wearing a clean mask and following hand hygiene. We also ensure that trained staff using FDA-approved disinfectants frequently sterilise surfaces that are often touched, such as counter tops, dispensing tops, patient-waiting chairs, lift lobbies, and stair rails.
Outpatient clinics and elevators are disinfected at the end of each day by fumigation.
Phoenix Hospital (formerly Al Bustan Specialty Hospital) is officially announced as Covid-free hospital since the beginning of July and has resumed its normal operations of all out-patients clinic and in-patient activities for patients.
“Patients safety and care is our priority, our team of physicians, nurses and staff are devoted to extend compassionate care and services to the public at all the times.“We are honored that we were able extend our support to Department of Health and the UAE leadership during the pandemic and we will continue to do the best we can. Also, we take this opportunity to thank the UAE government and the Honorable Health Authority for all the care and support they offer to us to face this pandemic situation.
It is extremely important for our hospital to be Covid-free in present times to cater to routine patients. These days people are overcoming Covid fear and have started regular visits for other treatments. We have disseminated Covid-free information and are also reassuring all our clients when seeking appointments. We are also an approved facility to conduct the Covid-19 RT PCR screening test.