Faculty staff assist with the new ‘Hospital of Hope’

2 Jul 2020 - 11:45

By Klaus von Pressentin

The Western Cape Government Health’s strategy to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the communities of the Western Cape is targeting various facets, from community-level screening and testing to increasing the capacity of the acute hospital services. In the Cape Metropole, the acute services’ inpatient capacity has been extended through the commissioning of designated intermediate care facilities which are housed in re-purposed buildings.

One of these buildings is the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC), which has been converted to a field hospital with 862 beds. The CTICC intermediate care facility is staffed by health workers from diverse backgrounds, including Cuban health workers, as well as South African health workers who were recruited from the private sector, deployed from existing posts in the public health system and/or local higher education institutions. The facility’s care package is tailored to patients diagnosed with moderate COVID-19 disease in need of inpatient oxygen therapy, whose disease profile is complicated with existing chronic conditions, and patients with a care plan which is predominantly focused on palliative care.

The facility has been coined the “Hospital of Hope” which speaks to the vision of providing high-quality, team-based person-centred care. The clinical team is multi-disciplinary in nature, with a strong family medicine focus (the clinical managers and many of the consultants are family physicians). Emergency medicine consultants manage the interfacility transfer processes and linkages with care across the acute services platform, whereas internal medicine consultants focus on supporting the inpatient care team. The clinical team include nurses, physiotherapists, dietitians, social workers, radiographers, and pharmacists. A dynamic support services team ensures the smooth operations required for a facility of this size. Of note is the fact that the facility manager is a trained physiotherapist and experienced healthcare leader, who enjoys the close support from the metro district health services and provincial leadership.

The facility was officially opened by the President, Minister of Health and Western Cape Premier on Friday, 5 June 2020. After weeks of preparation, the CTICC facility received its first patients from other acute hospitals on the 8th of June 2020. The clinical management team has a daily interface with the clinical managers from across the metropolitan acute hospital platform, to ensure that the facility continues to meet the needs from its partners and to relief the pressure experienced by the acute hospitals. The facility aims to offer hope by delivering high-quality, efficient inpatient care in response to the needs in the Cape metropole, while ensuring the safety and positive growth of its staff.

UCT’s involvement

Several UCT colleagues from the Faculty of Health Sciences are involved with this project, including emergency medicine, family medicine and the PHC directorate:

  • Professor Lee Wallis and his emergency medicine team have helped plan the intermediate care facilities during the commissioning phase and are managing the interfacility transfer processes and acute facilities’ bed bureau.
  • Associate Professor Klaus von Pressentin and Dr Tasleem Ras from the Division of Family Medicine in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine have been assigned as clinical managers of the facility. They are supported by a strong clinical team, which includes several family physicians and family medicine registrars.
  • Professor Steve Reid from the primary health care directorate has joined the team to help facilitate interprofessional learning conversations and create a learning culture – both within the clinical teams working day and night in the hot zone, as well as the leadership team charged with the operational management responsibilities.
  • Other UCT colleagues who support the CTICC team via in-reach/ward rounds and providing input at the clinical learning meetings (such as the morbidity and mortality meetings) include members of the Department of Medicine (general medicine, infectious diseases and clinical pharmacology).

The UCT colleagues are grateful for the support of their line managers and faculty leadership, including Professor Lionel Green-Thompson and Dr Tracey Naledi, who plan to visit the team at the CTICC facility on Tuesday, 7 July 2020.

For more information, please visit the Division of Family Medicine website or contact: A/Prof Klaus von Pressentin, Head: Division of Family Medicine, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town: klaus.vonpressentin@uct.ac.za.

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