The new modular Acute Covid Assessment Unit (ACAU ) at Mayo University Hospital has been operational since December 17, 2020, and up to December 30, 2020, had treated 137 patients.
MUH stated: "The new unit is an important milestone in the delivery of safe and timely care at the hospital and has improved access to services for patients with Covid-19 or suspected of having Covid-19.
"The unit comprises seven individual patient rooms with computerised facilities in each room and a dedicated office space for staff with facilities to assess patients efficiently and effectively, including the ability to view x-rays taken in the unit."
Dr Jason Horan, Associate Clinical Director in Medicine and Emergency Medicine explained: "Each patient is admitted to an isolation room for their initial assessment. By separating patients into individual rooms we can protect both our patients and staff. This was not possible previously and the provision of these rooms is an important development that will further enhance patient care at Mayo University Hospital.
"The proximity to the existing Emergency Department allows rapid access to critical care resources, which would not be easily available elsewhere on the campus. Streaming of all emergency cases at the front door is an important safety measure but it is equally important that all patients can quickly get access to the emergency care facilities and staff that they require.
"The unit now provides the service which was originally established as ED-B in the main hospital's Acute Medical Assessment Unit following the first phase of Covid-19. The staff who worked in ED-B developed extensive experience and skill in managing patients initially presenting with COVID-19 and they are delighted with the facilities and layout of the new building.”
With the opening of the ACAU, MUH stated the hospital will be able to return to providing services to the public via GP referrals to the Acute Medical Assessment Unit, which removes the need to attend the Emergency Department for suitable patients identified by their GP.
MUH added: "The new unit also means that the clinical space used previously for Covid assessments is freed up and reconfigured to allow the endoscopy unit to return to full capacity, an increase of 20 per cent patient throughput.
"The additional capacity will help to address the national problem of increasing waiting lists and facilitate the early detection and treatment of cancers. Also, inpatients in the hospital can once again directly access the state-of-the art endoscopy unit, allowing more efficient and effective care."
Catherine Donohoe, Hospital Manager, said: "Now more than ever it is vital that patients in hospital get the investigations and treatments they require promptly so that they can be discharged home in a timely manner. The hospital, as part of the health service nationally, must be able to deliver the full gamut of healthcare services in parallel with Covid for the foreseeable future. I am extremely grateful to all my colleagues in ACAU for making this unit the success that it is and working with me to improve the pathway for patients going forward."
Laura Melvin, Clinical Nurse Manager One, added: "We are now two weeks open and fully operational in our new Acute Covid Assessment Unit. It is clear from the hard work and commitment throughout that we can thrive and continue to provide high levels of patient care safely. I want to thank each of the staff and our senior nurse managers for their continued hard work and support and wish them a better 2021, without their dedication we would not be in this specifically designed unit."