Daily Media Update - Friday 3 April 2020
New cases in Southern
The Ministry of Health announced 13 new COVID-19 cases in the Southern region today, bringing the region’s total to 131 as of 8am this morning. Confirmed and probable cases are combined for this and future totals, to match Ministry case reporting. For a breakdown by Territorial Authority please visit the Southern Health website https://www.southernhealth.nz/sdhdCOVID19/cases-updates
Media Inquiry – COVID-19 Resuscitation Policy
We have received a media inquiry about whether Southern DHB has a Resuscitation Policy for COVID-19 patients.
We do not currently have a formal policy on resuscitation specific to COVID-19. We do have a policy on resuscitation in general.
When people are admitted to hospital the intention is to discuss with them their care and to include how Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) would apply if they suffer a cardiac and/or respiratory arrest. Some people wish to be resuscitated and some do not. Others have conditions and a health status that mean resuscitation would be futile. These conversations are a critical part of care and we would encourage people to ask about these things when in hospital.
We plan to observe patients closely and to pick up deterioration early and then change care to avoid a sudden deterioration and therefore a cardiac or respiratory arrest. If a patient with COVID-19 is deteriorating our goal would be to pick this up early so that we can offer more intensive treatment.
There are particular challenges with resuscitation of people with a serious transmissible disease in that health professionals involved are required to wear protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves. Assembling this and putting it on will lead to delay and to some extent impair the process. Despite best use of PPE there are still risks to staff. We are currently reviewing how to provide the best, safest and humane resuscitation for people with COVID-19. This will form the basis of a revised policy. Such changes are complex and need careful thought.
As many people are aware our worst case scenario would be to find ourselves in the situation of New York, Italy or Spain. We are making all possible preparations to provide the best possible in that situation. The most important protection for all of now is the intense work by Public Health to track and trace all cases and contacts alongside our personal commitment to staying home and in our bubbles – this will certainly save lives and protect all of our health workers.
The national plan led by the Prime Minister will make a real difference and we have a really good chance of avoiding a very serious problem if we all stick with it.
Media Inquiry – DIY presentations
Our media update yesterday noted an increase in the number of orthopaedic presentations related to DIY activity around the home and reminded everyone to take care when undertaking DIY tasks and using power tools and to ensure the correct safety equipment is used.
Since the lockdown began, Southland Hospital has noted at least 15 incidents where patients have presented at ED with injuries related to DIY and required surgery.
The injuries included: lacerations with nerve and tendon involvement, fractured finger bones, and nail bed injuries.
Southland Hospital staff say while records are not normally kept on DIY incidents requiring surgery, the increase since the lockdown began has been noticeable. They are asking home handy-people to take care, and use safety equipment to make sure they get through the weekend and the rest of the lockdown uninjured.
Media inquiry - Meals on Wheels
We have received a media inquiry about the criteria around the Meals on Wheels Service.
Meals on Wheels is the name of a service, overseen by New Zealand’s DHBs, which must meet service specifications set by the Ministry of Health.
However, it is not the only service to provide meals delivered to the door for people in the community. Meals on wheels has come to mean something much wider than a service provided by the DHB. There is a vibrant private provider market, which delivers meals to people’s homes for a wide variety of reasons, not just health issues.
People have a choice. If they are eligible for DHB funded Meals on Wheels, they don’t have to use the service in their area. They can choose to use a private meal service provider, and we are aware many people do make this choice.
People who may not be eligible for DHB funded Meals on Wheels may also choose to source meals from a private provider. It is a private arrangement that is not under the jurisdiction of the Southern DHB.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels providers are required to meet the Ministry of Health’s Specifications for Meals on Wheels.
It is largely a service designed to assist people who have personal health needs. This service is not free, as clients are required to make a co-payment towards it.
Clients wishing to access Meals on Wheels are assessed on several criteria including:
· Ability to shop for groceries
· Transport - independent/dependent
· Distance from support networks
· Ability to mobilise
· Cognitive state
· General life factors – e.g. social activities, level of family support other services e.g. District Nursing, personal care, extent of disability
In Southern, and likely around the country, many of the volunteer delivery drivers for Meals on Wheels are older people, including the over 70s. The COVID-19 advice for the over 70s to stay at home has meant some changes. We have been incredibly fortunate to a large number of younger volunteers coming forward to continue this important and valued service.
We are extremely grateful to these volunteers and the organisations that co-ordinate them to support Meals on Wheels in Southern and keep it providing this essential service to people.