Since January, Jupiter Medical Center’s medical staff leadership, infection prevention experts and executive team have been developing plans to screen, isolate and treat COVID-19 patients, including conducting drills and training for hospital team members and ensuring the careful stewardship of equipment and supplies. The medical center was one of the first hospitals to implement CDC guidelines for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19 and since has also been working closely with the Florida Department of Health to strictly adhere to state and federal guidelines.
To streamline and centralize hospital operations in order to address an expected increase in patient volume of COVID-19 patients, Jupiter Medical Center has established an Incident Command Center. Similar to the actions the regional medical center would take during a hurricane, the command center offers a dedicated structure to streamline communication and provide administrative oversight to manage patient treatment, clinical staffing, and the allocation of rooms, equipment and supplies.
“Consistent with leading national and regional hospitals across the country, we implemented a series of comprehensive measures early to improve our readiness,” said Dr. Amit Rastogi, president and chief executive officer. “In addition to strictly adhering to CDC guidelines, we initiated additional preventive measures and began multidisciplinary training to prepare our team members to recognize and screen potential cases, implement isolation protocols, and properly use personal protective equipment (PPE) while treating patients,” Dr. Rastogi continued.
The regional medical center also confirmed that it is starting to see patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. As required by federal privacy laws, Jupiter Medical Center is prevented from releasing any personal details about patients undergoing treatment.
Most recently, the medical center adopted The American College of Surgeons’ recommendations and began rescheduling non-urgent, elective surgeries to increase capacity and minimize the potential of COVID-19 exposure among patients, team members, and frontline providers.
“We will continue to perform nonelective, urgent and emergency surgeries,” Dr. Rastogi said. “However, by reducing the number of elective procedures, we are able to conserve our supply of personal protective equipment, beds, and ventilators for use in patients with critical illnesses, and ensure that more of our clinical team members are available to care for patients who are most in need when the time comes.”
Jupiter Medical Center is not a designated COVID-19 testing site, in accordance with directives from the Florida Department of Health. Public health authorities have advised that hospitals should not be used for non-critical conditions or non-emergencies, including coronavirus testing. Individuals experiencing symptoms – fever, cough or difficulty breathing – are urged to call their physician or contact one of several state-designated testing sites that are equipped to take swabs for testing and send them to the appropriate lab.
The medical center continues to engage national and regional suppliers to procure additional resources and supplies, such as test kits, N95 respirator masks, and ventilators, to identify and treat those who may require hospitalization. In addition to implementing the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect frontline caregivers, Jupiter Medical Center is leveraging the use of Tru-D SmartUVC ultra-violet disinfection robots that deconstruct the DNA of deadly pathogens and eliminate common health care-associated infection culprits.
Jupiter Medical Center has implemented a ‘no visitation’ policy with the exception of Labor & Delivery and Pediatric patients, who will be permitted one visitor. While the hospital recognizes this policy is highly inconvenient for patients and their loved ones, it is becoming necessary to reduce the likelihood of exposure.
The medical center has temporarily suspended health and wellness classes, professional CME and community events. Volunteer services and the hospital’s Motor Aid patient transport system also have been suspended.
If you or a loved one are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, members of the public are advised to call their primary care provider (PCP) for a screening. Or you may call the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline which is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week at 1 (866) 779-6121.