One year on, it is very clear that we have never faced a health crisis quite like this before. COVID-19 exposed the flaws and shortcomings of our healthcare system. Doctors and healthcare workers were left scrambling to make sense of such an unprecedented situation.
The world was brought to its knees and the frontlines seemed to be on the brink of collapse.
Though COVID-19 proved to be a heavy burden, it also served as an opportunity to push the boundaries of healthcare. PRI Medical Center has seen its share of struggles, controversies, and challenges. But despite all these, the pandemic served as a means for PRI to strengthen its workforce, expand its hospital capabilities, and optimize healthcare delivery.
Despite the overwhelming burden of the pandemic, PRI stood fast in resilience as a healthcare frontline in the Central Luzon Region. One year on, PRI remained committed to its delivery of holistic care. One year on, PRI remained ready to answer the call for better healthcare.
One year on, PRI held the line.
The Resilient Workforce
A resilient and dedicated workforce is the beating heart of a hospital facing a pandemic. Indeed, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals shine as true heroes in these trying times. PRI is home to some of the most courageous and spirited healthcare workers who can provide compassionate care to patients no matter how bleak the situation becomes. Any break in this treatment chain is a setback we can’t afford in this pandemic.
Therefore, it’s important to ensure the health and safety of health workers. At PRI Medical Center, health workers undergo regular RT-PCR testing. These protocols maintain a high level of infection control as well as providing the necessary safety net for healthcare workers to continue rendering treatment.
In addition, vaccination is an important public health strategy meant to minimize severe COVID disease among the workforce and the patients they treat. As of this writing, as much as 87% of the PRI workforce have received at least the first jab of vaccinations against COVID. These vaccinations are due for completion by June 2021.
Expanding Healthcare and ICU Capabilities
As the workforce continues to man the frontlines, their skills and determination can only be as good as the resources and facilities provided to them. Competent healthcare workers need protective equipment, well-resourced facilities, and comprehensive ICUs to deliver the best possible care.
To this end, PRI answered the call. Hospital resources were mobilized to ensure COVID patients received the best care for favorable outcomes. The hospital was never lacking in face masks and personal protective equipment. Specialized PPEs such as Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) are available for use when caring for patients with COVID.
The hospital re-purposed regular hospital wards into full ICU wings and increased the staffing in COVID intensive areas. COVID wings were furnished with negative pressure ventilation, complete intensive care unit equipment, and sufficient oxygenation supplies, such as high-flow nasal cannulas.
A swift response time is essential in the timely treatment for COVID complications. To provide real-time monitoring capabilities to the healthcare team, PRI installed state-of-the-art CCTV equipment on every ICU Bed so that doctors and nurses can stay on top of the situation at all times.
COVID by the numbers
At the beginning of the pandemic, PRI started with only eight (8) ICU beds. As the pandemic continued, it was only a matter of time when a sudden surge in cases threatened overwhelming hospitals across the region. Expanding the hospital’s ICU capability was a foregone conclusion.
There are 47 healthcare facilities in the Province of Pampanga. As of April 25, 2021, the bed occupancy rate of 74.1%. There are a total of 151 ICU beds spread across the entire Pampanga province for the treatment of moderate, severe, and critical COVID.
In Angeles City, there are 10 healthcare facilities with 37 ICU beds allotted for COVID treatment. Out of these, PRI Medical Center has 30 of the 37 ICU beds allotted for COVID cases. For perspective, PRI accounts for almost 20% of the ICU allocations in the Pampanga province.
For the most part, PRI was ready to serve COVID patients in need of treatment. In terms of performance, the numbers tell their own story. From March 2020 to March 2021, PRI has provided full treatment for 216 confirmed moderate, severe, and critical COVID cases. Of these, 201 made full recoveries accounting for a recovery rate of 93%.
The way forward in successfully overcoming the burden of COVID-19 is to acknowledge our traditional healthcare delivery cannot keep up with this aggressive and dynamic disease. There is a need to re-structure and provide a COVID Care approach that maximizes treatment for the best possible outcomes.
COVID Care at PRI Medical Center
In an innovative new strategy, PRI MC implemented the COVID Care Plan where multi-specialty teams are assigned for each new COVID admission. These teams were comprised of various medical specialists, hospitalists, nurses, and supporting staff to provide holistic care with as little turnover time as possible.
The approach paves the way for more optimized and directed medical care while mitigating the limitations of traditional, uncoordinated care. Dr. Pio R. Lim, hospital administrator of PRI Medical Center, has had to deal with the challenge of healthcare worker shortages, medical supply chain disruptions, and even local political controversies in the pursuit of providing the best possible care for COVID patients.
“The challenge of treating COVID forced us to re-think the way we treated critical care patients. Despite our intensive care treatment protocols, COVID demanded a more responsive and inclusive treatment approach. The situation can change so rapidly and we needed a way to make every minute count. After all, it’s the patient’s life at stake.”
-DR. PIO RAFAEL LIM
PRI Medical Center
COVID Care is patient-centered treatment. Healthcare workers and hospital resources are mobilized around the needs of the patient and not the other way around. In this approach, healthcare systems are keen on the specific needs of each patient paving the way to a tailored and optimized delivery of significant and sometimes even life-saving medical treatment.
One year on, the course of the pandemic is still uncertain. Today, we remember how the frontlines barely held the line. We also remember how we stood against adversity and pushed the boundaries of healthcare.
One year on, PRI Medical Center now stands firmly as a safeguard on the frontlines. With a renewed approach to holistic and patient-centered care, PRI offers you the best chance of recovery. With a compassionate workforce, comprehensive facilities, and optimized healthcare delivery, PRI Medical Center offers you hope in this time of difficulty.
One year on, PRI will hold the line.