Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - With this week’s transformation of Rainforest Recovery Center into an alternate care space, Bartlett Regional Hospital expanded its capacity for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients.
“It feels like Christmas,” said Chief Nursing Officer Rose Lawhorne, as the Emergency Management team set up cots, IV poles, and dividers in freshly cleaned and renovated rooms. Personal care kits, blankets, and disposable Personal Protective Equipment bought and stored by the team several years ago are coming in handy.
The space will accommodate up to an additional 35 patients for a total campus capacity of up to 160 patients on campus.
The surge plan includes separate accommodations for non-COVID-19 patients. All incoming patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the front entrance and at the Emergency Department, where a new heated entry tent is erected for the foreseeable future.
Bartlett Regional Hospital currently has 25 ventilators available. Eighteen ventilators are immediately available with seven more units that could be made available with some lead time. Other equipment with oxygenation capabilities includes more than 20 oxygen concentrators, units that concentrate oxygen in the air and can be used as an oxygen source.
A negative air pressure wing has been set up in the Medical-Surgical Department and in the Emergency Department.
Depending on the severity of a possible outbreak, more portions of the hospital could be pressed into service while still balancing the remaining healthcare needs of the community.
If BRH’s ability to respond effectively is exceeded, it will invoke other emergency protocols – standing up an emergency hospital and/or attempting to move patients out of the community for treatment. BRH already increases staffing for peak season needs through temporary employees and traveling medical staff.