In five months of operation, the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is achieving its objective of lessening the burden on the recovery rooms and the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). With a 16-bed capacity, the HDU offers specialist nursing care and monitoring to seriously ill patients essentially operating as an intermediate level of care between what is provided on a general ward and the ICU.
The establishment of the unit was financed with a $50 million grant from the CHASE Fund and included the provision of critical-care beds, electrical surgical suction machines, physiological patient monitors, volumetric infusion pumps and other essential equipment.
The KPH performs on average 350 major surgeries per month with 276 minor or ambulatory cases. The ICU has seven beds and prior to the establishment of the HDU, post-operative patients would have to be accommodated in the Recovery room.
Dr Natalie Whylie, Senior Medical Officer of the KPH stated that the hospital is the main provider of Intensive/Critical Care services in the Public Health care delivery system. Each day referrals for these services are received from hospitals throughout the entire island of Jamaica and most of these patients cannot be accommodated at KPH. “The capacity of the hospital to accept and manage seriously ill has been significantly enhanced,” she said. Dr Whylie went on to note that the efficiency of the seven– bed Intensive Care has been expanded as patients can now be transferred to the HDU, allowing for greater utilisation and access. “The increased availability of beds in the Recovery room will in turn allow for more surgical procedures to be undertaken, with the resultant reduction in the waiting time for surgery. The KPH Team is appreciative of the ongoing partnership with the CHASE Fund though the provision of this grant,” she stated.
‘Billy’ Heaven, CEO of the CHASE Fund said the stated objectives in the proposal submitted to the Fund for more efficient delivery of care was a no-brainer. ‘The Fund appreciated the potential for the HDU which would lead to more effective use of the ICU, remove pressure from the Recovery room and provide quality care for post-operative patients,” he said. He added that the fund had to date spent $4.6 billion in the health sector by upgrading infrastructure, acquiring modern equipment and technologies for hospitals, health centres and clinics and facilitating training of health care providers and also funding public education initiatives.
Support for the HDU falls under the CHASE Fund’s Health portfolio which to date has approved $4.6 billion for initiatives in the sector.