Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte
The Anesthesiology Department Perioperative Organization Plan and Results for COVID-19 at the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte, EPE
Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte is an university medical/surgical hospital of the portuguese national health service (NHS) that serves over 218,000 Lisbon citizens and provides specialist services for patients from further afield. With a high risk elderly population and a chronically underfunded health system, the hospital immediately saw the need to take emergent measures to combat the pandemic as early as mid-February. But at that time, few publications regarding hospital re-organization in response to COVID-19 were available and the National Health Authorities (NHA) had only provided general guidelines. This is why the hospital formed its own task force of hospital executives, clinicians, structural and equipment engineers, who focused on the safety of patients and healthcare professionals, the preservation of response capacity and equipment, and ensuring the treatment of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Recognizing that fear of hospital contagion may be keeping patients away from needed care, the CHULN’s Anesthesiology Department worked to keep routine surgical activities going even at the peak of the pandemic. More than 60% of surgical activities was maintained even while Portugal was under a state of emergency, ensuring that necessary surgeries were not postponed. To protect patients, surgical wards were divided into COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 units, reducing the risk of contagion. The success of the strategy is shown by the fact that CHULN, particularly in the perioperative setting was able to prevent hospital contamination of patients and health care workers during the first months of pandemic and beyond.