Once FVH joined the frontline fight against COVID-19 in April 2020, securing permission from the Ministry of Health to perform PCR testing to obtain results in real time, the Hospital’s Board of Directors began to design a split-hospital model.
By June 2021, when the epidemic situation became tense in Ho Chi Minh City, FVH implemented this model to meet the huge demand for COVID-19 testing and treatment, while ensuring that other patients could safely visit the hospital for reasons unrelated to COVID-19.
FV quickly established a COVID-19 Treatment Department with all available resources
Speaking to FV’s split hospital model, Chief Operating Officer Ms Pham Thi Thanh Mai said: “In a short time, FV has invested a huge amount of both human and financial resources to execute this plan. Our goal is to maintain the hospital’s role on the frontline fight of this pandemic, and to continue to provide safe treatment for other patients at the hospital.”
FV Hospital implemented a plan to follow the split hospital model in June 2021
Initially, in order to care for severe cases of COVID-19 in patients who could not be transferred, FV divided the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) into two separate areas inclusive of five beds in an isolation ward to provide private care for people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Subsequently, when allowed to receive and thus to treat F0 patients, the Board of Directors decided to change the inpatient treatment area of the Internal Medicine Department into the COVID-19 Treatment Department. Initially, the department had four rooms, but later increased to nine rooms with 22 beds. When cases began to peak at the beginning of July 2021, the COVID-19 Treatment Department was expanded to cover the entire inpatient area on the fourth floor, including 63 beds for people without ventilators and 15 beds for high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) support.
In terms of human resources restructuring, FV Hospital also quickly established the COVID-19 Treatment Department’s team of doctors, under the lead of Head of Cardiology Ho Minh Tuan, MSc, MD. This specialised team consists of 15 doctors from many different specialties which applied a new workflow for treating F0 patients. The nursing team was also strengthened from many departments and restructured to both ensure treatment support at the COVID-19 treatment area, and maintain care for inpatients in other departments.
The COVID-19 Treatment Department has been expanded to encompass the entire Internal Medicine Department, with 63 standard beds and 15 HFNC support beds.
In addition, FV’s Facility Department has also worked continuously to establish infrastructure for the expanding Department. Areas for vaccination, COVID-19 testing and temporary reception of F0 patients at the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department have been set up outside the hospital building. The A&E Department has also been redesigned according to the split model, so that it can both receive patients at risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus and receive patients with other issues. The COVID-19 Treatment Department has been divided into a treatment area for patients and a “clean” area for medical staff to work. The one-way ventilation system helps minimise any risk of airborne infection for the entire area. The goal is to help treat F0 patients effectively, while ensuring the epidemic does not affect other activities at FV.
Ensuring safety for other medical examination activities at FV
From the beginning of the pandemic, the outpatient examination at FV has been maintained in parallel with the reception and treatment of inpatients. Patients and business contacts are required to make medical declarations in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s form and undergo detailed epidemiological screening according to FV’s process at the entrance. Those who might be infected are guided by medical staff to a temporary isolation area where they can be tested for COVID-19. The flow of movement and the area to receive these cases are located outside the hospital building, to ensure all anti-infection requirements are met. For cases without epidemiological factors, medical examination and working activities will continue as usual, with 5K measuring requirements.
All inpatients are tested for COVID-19 by RT-PCR before admission. For cases requiring hospitalisation but which are also potentially infected with SARS-COV-2, the hospital will conduct isolation and temporary treatment in a separate area in the A&E Department while waiting for RT-PCR test results and further indications (this regulation depends on the medical condition of the patient, which the hospital will make decisions on in accordance with patient safety). FV Hospital has also applied a no-visit policy in all departments, except for some special cases determined by the hospital. Accordingly, when relatives are approved to stay in the hospital to take care of their loved ones, they are required to take a COVID-19 test by RT-PCR method at the time of admission and every three days.
FV staff perform detailed triage at the entrance to the hospital building
The Infection Control Unit at FV regularly reviews the process of moving, zoning and tracing F0 cases at the hospital (including all people entering and leaving the hospital), and organising periodic testing for frontline staff to minimise the impact of the epidemic and ensure the safety of operations at the hospital.
FV’s Medical Director Do Trong Khanh, PhD, MD, explained: “FV has been preparing for nearly a year for the hospital separation model. As of right now, the model is still working well, meeting our motto of trying not to refuse any patients.”
According to Dr Khanh, the most difficult obstacle when operating the split model is the human factor. FV Hospital must operate according to the quality standards prescribed by JCI, so in any treatment process, it must still meet the requirements of medical personnel sufficiently to ensure patient safety. Therefore, the entire staff at the hospital is working continuously to offer optimal treatment not only for COVID-19 patients, but also for other diseases such as cancer, or cases which require interventional cardiology.
In parallel with medical examination and treatment at the hospital, FV also promotes the operation of FV Healthcare at home and Telemedicine Centre to serve patients who cannot visit FV Hospital. The Centre has also just launched medical care services for F0 and F1 patients who are being monitored at home, under the direction of Vo Cong Minh PhD, MD (Head of Otolaryngology). This is also a split model within the telehealth services of FV Hospital.
Based on the pre-prepared split hospital model, FV is continuing to implement all stable, safe operations according to recognised international standards. Besides the work at the hospital, FV has dedicated nearly 30 employees daily for community vaccination campaigns in Ho Chi Minh City, actively supporting the work of COVID-19 prevention and control, entrusted by the authorities.