Opelousas General Hospital adapts to influx of patients

Posted at 8:06 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 23:44:06-04

OPELOUSAS — Across the nation, hospitals are adapting to life with more patients since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Kevin Gobert works as a Respiratory Director at Opelousas General Hospital. They've had to adapt patient care in a number of different ways, including setting up a negative air pressure tent for transportation and to reduce the use of inhalers.

"The problem was, we were going to run out of metered dose inhalers. Not only our the patients with COVID using this, it'll be your everyday run-of-the-mill asthmatics who also need to have access to this medicine. So eventually we'll see a shortage," Gobert explained.

All of the rooms on the fourth floor at Opelousas General have been ventilated to create negative air pressure.

"Our goal is to try to eliminate as much airborne pathogens as we can. By doing so, we have less chance of infecting staff members or infecting the environment. This system here works to do that," Gobert said.

Gobert's team has also come up with a way to save PPE. They set up ventilators and other medical equipment outside of a patient's room, decreasing the number of times they go into the room.

"We can give medications, we can give different drips, refill drips, we can now do it all outside," Kayla Williams, a R.N at Opelousas General, said, "It's a great help. Every time we get dressed, it's in the back of our minds, are we going to have enough?"

Critical care physician Dr. Amer Raza says the hardest change administrators had to make is not allowing family members in.

"That's what breaks our heart. We're letting them Facetime, so at least we show from a safe distance their loved ones. So they can talk and see how much they love them," Raza said.

Dr. Raza also says they have also changed the turnaround time in the labs to provide the best possible care for their patients.