Hospital facilities team is the ‘unsung hero’ of the pandemic

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, Hospital facilities team is the ‘unsung hero’ of the pandemic

Christine Flaherty usually oversees capital enchancment initiatives, preventive upkeep and efforts to cut back NYC Well being + Hospitals’ carbon footprint.

The previous yr has been something however regular. As a substitute, she spent the higher a part of 10 months discovering methods to deal with surges of COVID-19 sufferers. However she insists she didn’t do it alone.

“This was not a one-woman present. This was a present of all of our leaders,” stated Flaherty, who has been senior vice chairman of amenities growth on the 11-hospital public well being system since Might 2019.

Within the spring, when New York skilled its first surge, Flaherty’s groups tripled, then quadrupled ICU capability. Inside three weeks, they created a 350-bed short-term hospital for low-acuity sufferers in long-vacant components of their campus on Roosevelt Island, which lies between Manhattan and Brooklyn, to release area for crucial sufferers of their different hospitals.

“Our amenities group is de facto the unsung hero of our COVID-19 response,” Flaherty stated. “We did huge, miraculous issues, I feel, throughout our first wave.”

Lots of the system’s hospitals are a number of a long time previous and have been constructed when tuberculosis was a risk. They have been outfitted with issues like isolation rooms to assist forestall transmission of airborne infectious ailments.

“They have been constructed for a special want however, truly, it helped us right here,” Flaherty stated. “I’m very hopeful that as we work towards an answer to beat this horrible virus and are available out of the opposite facet … that we will proceed to id the alternatives to put money into public well being methods.”

To deal with the surge of sufferers, Flaherty’s group added home windows to partitions and doorways of current rooms to cut back how typically clinicians would want to enter COVID-19 sufferers’ rooms; they arrange distant oxygen monitoring; they created extra unfavorable stress rooms.

“We have been capable of finding inventive methods to surge,” Flaherty stated. “We received three years of labor performed in three months.”

It was a 24/7 job, she stated. Her “village” of assist helped look after her 13-year-old son. Through the surge, she didn’t learn or watch the information. As a substitute, she targeted on what she may do to assist the trigger someday after which the following.

“It was a conflict; we have been in battle. We needed to rise to the event. A few of us went down, and others jumped in. We simply needed to do every part we may with each ounce of power we may,” Flaherty stated. “I feel everyone has their distinctive private approach of coping. Psychological resilience and positivity are crucial at occasions like this.”

If something, the pandemic has proven her how nice the methods’ groups are and the way rather more they will accomplish once they work collectively, Flaherty stated.

“I’m actually proud to be part of this,” she stated.

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