Queen Beatrix Medical Centre’s emergency entrance on Fort Oranjestraat.
~ Adds medical doctor to supervisory board ~
ST. EUSTATIUS–The supervisory board of the St. Eustatius Healthcare Foundation (SEHCF) expanded the board of directors recently by adding a medical doctor to its ranks. The board of directors now consists of general director Gerard Berkel and medical director Nico Zuurmond.
The addition was made to strengthen the SEHCF by making it more robust and at the same time promote continuity in operational, strategic and decision-making processes, the board of directors made known.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEHCF believes this has added value in case a crisis should arise, but also with the growing need for care in Statia a medical doctor can focus on strategies and opportunities to improve the care provided locally as well as in the region, as the pandemic has made it more difficult for patients to be referred off-island or for a medical specialist to visit.
The pandemic has caused a backlog in referrals to medical specialists and hospitals in the region, which has resulted in many patients not receiving the care they need. Medical evacuations have continued uninterrupted, but the elective, non-urgent care has been disrupted. This could result in the unintended consequence that non-urgent care could become urgent due to the long waiting time.
Recently, with the support of other stakeholders, elective care in Statia has restarted as patients are being seen by specialists at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and at Fundashon Mariadal in Bonaire. Plans are also being developed to have specialists visit Statia again while adhering to the safety precautions as advised by the Public Health Department.
The SEHCF Home Care Department is currently being fully integrated into the daily operations of Queen Beatrix Medical Centre (QBMC).
The policies, protocols and quality manuals that have been implemented at QBMC will now also be applicable at the Home Care Department. The integration is expected to improve the quality and service to the public at large.
A specialised clinic for diabetes at QBMC is also expected to start in conjunction with the St. Eustatius Lions Club and the Diabetic Foundation. This specialised clinic will first focus on care provided for diabetics and afterwards the attention will shift to patients with cardiovascular illnesses, asthma, forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obesity.
With the focus on diabetics, QBMC believes it will be able to address the signs and symptoms of hyper- and hypoglycaemia before complications occur. This, it believes, will eventually lead to lifestyle improvements, which would have the benefit of fewer referrals off-island and fewer complications due to diabetes.
Physiotherapy is another aspect of care that was affected by the pandemic. As of January 1, 2021, QBMC once again will be offering these services, which will allow patients to receive care locally by a physiotherapist, which will benefit young and old patients alike.
QBMC has also recently updated all hygiene, infection-prevention, domestic and general protocols to conform to industry standards. The incident reporting and protocols upgrade is expected to benefit the monitoring of quality care.
The updated incident-reporting system is to lead to suggestions and improvement being reported and implemented through collaboration with and on the advice of staff members.
The SEHCF directors believe that involving their employees in the improvements in the organisation will help create a more sustainable basis for continuous improvement and higher quality.
Visitors to QBMC are being encouraged to share their concerns or suggestions via the SEHCF website or during their next visit to the medical centre.
QBMC also limited the visiting hours due to the ongoing COVID-19 threat. Persons can only visit patients 4:00-5:00pm. The other visiting hours have been temporarily cancelled.
The nurse on duty will be wearing full personal protective equipment to triage visitors at the entrance on Fort Oranjestraat. Visitors will undergo temperature checks and must complete a COVID-19 questionnaire before they can enter the building.
A maximum of one visitor per patient is allowed and visitors must wear a face mask before entering the building and during visitation. A security guard will be at the entrance to ensure that no one enters the medical centre without being triaged. Visitors will also have to perform proper hand hygiene before entering.