COVID Commotion: Interview with our Speakers

COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in care processes now more than ever.  We help identify ways to reduce patient contact while optimizing patient care and outcomes. 
There were many great questions received in advance of our webinar, scheduled for August 25th. Some of those questions were very engaging regarding the current medical climate - and we wanted to share the information with you! Our wonderful webinar speakers, Dr. Matt Jones and Dr. MiKaela Olsen took a few moments to address some of our top questions received. 

Join our webinar as we talk about ways to help define the "new normal" and show how change is the way to manage the waves.

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Please describe the importance of the vascular access process in caring for ICU and/or Oncology patients.

Dr. MiKaela Olsen: Oncology patients depend heavily on vascular access devices to get them through chemotherapy and immunotherapy and the many blood draws that they require for monitoring.  With the presentation of COVID-19 we faced many challenges caring for Oncology patients.  Many of these patients did not want to return to get their vad dressing changes or flushed for fear of getting COVID-19.  Unique strategies were necessary to ensure both patient and staff safety, while not compromising care.

Dr. Matt Jones: Obtaining and securing good quality, appropriate, and reliable vascular access is a cornerstone of critical care.  There are many factors at play that can be considered to achieve this goal and some of these factors will be explored in this webinar, especially around who places lines, where and when, particularly in COVID patients.  Ensuring this line stays in place and remains patent and complication free is imperative.

 

What change strategies have you undertaken to reduce common issues that complicate the care of (ICU and/or Oncology) patients before or in the face of COVID-19?

Dr. MiKaela Olsen: New algorithms to ensure patients are pre-screened and cared for in the right location, new curbside clinics and the use of technology for televisits and patient and caregiver teaching.

Dr. Matt Jones: Looking after COVID patients on ICU poses a whole set of unique challenges.  This webinar will focus on the organisational and humanitarian challenges posed and offer some solutions and ideas that could be considered. For example:  How one can rapidly utilise a non-ICU workforce to work in CU and feel included, comfortable, competent and supported in what can be seen as a quite alien environment.  How we can organise our resources to most effectively manage a sudden increase in case numbers. How can we put in place polices and protocols that are adaptable and empowering to staff to flex in a rapidly changing environment.

What lessons has COVID-19 taught you about your vascular access practices and about improving patient care?  

Dr. MiKaela Olsen: Even during a pandemic we need to stay close to the basics of the evidence based care of vascular access devices.  When the attention moved to covid we ran the risk of increasing other complication rates such as CLABSIs, infiltrations, etc.

Dr. Matt Jones: It goes without saying that establishing and maintaining central venous access on ICU is critical. In COVID patients, it is even more important; they can be potentially extremely unwell, need proning and often be cared for by staff who are not traditionally highly trained critical care staff. So ensuring that the right line is placed in the right vein, at the correct time and secured and dressed correctly (to avoid inadvertent dislodgement) is imperative, especially as we are trying to minimise unnecessary staff/patient contacts.

Question for Dr. MiKaela: What new strategies are helping with continuing care for Oncology patients during COVID? 

Curbside clinics where we can give medications, draw blood, assess and care for vascular access devices (e.g. port flushing, dressing changes).  Many patients have benefited from this innovative strategy for care delivery and other cancer centers are following along.

Question for Dr. Matt: What strategies are helping transition patients from ICU/ITU care to step down and out of the hospital environment during COVID?

Flow of patients through any hospital is a key priority. All too often, bottlenecks can develop meaning patients are potentially managed in an area not best suited to their needs. Demand for critical care beds during a COVID spike can escalate rapidly. Certainly, it is important to ensure that wardable patients can be moved on out of ICU as soon as they are ready to go. Creation of dedicated areas for post ICU COVID patients is required. Again, thought for safe and secure vascular access, suitable for use on these wards, helps reduce unnecessary staff/patient contact. For example, the early insertion of PICC lines is a key step to allowing a patient to need a single vascular access device throughout their hospital stay. Securing and dressing these lines correctly helps ensure longevity and the use of a SecurAcath for this purpose is ideal.

Interested in learning more on this topic? Join the webinar on Tuesday, August 25th by registering below!

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A big thanks again to our educational sponsor: Interrad Medical.

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