Emergency Department flips back around to care for patients

The Austin Emergency Department has been ‘flipped’ for a second time as part of the team’s response to COVID-19.

Acting Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr Simon Judkins, said ensuring there is separation between COVID/suspected COVID patients and other patients in the ED has meant splitting the department is different areas.

“When the COVID pandemic began we established an area on Level 2 of the ED where we have been caring for non-COVID patients and this created space in the main area of the department on Level 1 to care for COVID and suspected COVID patients,” Simon said.

“However, this week we’ve gone through the process of ‘flipping’ the Department around so that non-COVID patients are now being cared for on Level 1 and COVID or suspected COVID patients are being taken up to Level 2.

“This sort of change is a massive logistical undertaking and was done between 2am – 8am on Thursday morning to minimise the impact on access to ED services for patients.

“A huge thank you is due to all the staff who helped make this move happen.

“We had consultants, nurses and others starting a shift at 1am to make sure we had enough people on hand to get the flip done as quickly as possible.

“There was also a huge cleaning effort from our PSAs and cleaning staff to ensure both Level 1 and Level 2 were ready to take patients.

“Thanks to everyone for their hard work and patience, and the support from the Executive Team to enable to move to occur,” he said.

Staff should be aware that full PPE is now required to enter the COVID/SCOVID area on Level 2 of the ED and a facemask is needed when entering the non-COVID area on Level 1.

Following the 'flip', patients are still being screened at the ED entrance and directed to the appropriate triage area.