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Friday, Dec 09, 2022

Frontline workers win team of the year award

Princess Margaret Hospital, the SAR's designated infectious disease center, has won the Hospital Authority's outstanding staff and team award this year for fighting Covid on the front line.
That comes as the team was able to arrange for a one-year-old baby boy hospitalized for 60 days due to Covid to stay with his parents, who had also been infected, as a part of efforts to prioritize patients' needs despite hospital services being overstretched during the fifth wave.

"We are glad that we could arrange for doctors who were treating adults to take care of the child's parents so that they could spend the two months with the child," said Mike Kwan Yat-wah, a consultant at the pediatric infectious disease ujnit.

"The family said they could not imagine what would have happened to the child without such an arrangement. Our principle of 'family-centric care' is important and we are following such a treatment plan," Kwan added.

The team is the first point of contact when any new infectious disease arises - it is also the SAR's first such center, set up following the SARS outbreak in 2003.

During the fifth wave, many adolescents and children were treated separately from their families. The Princess Margaret Hospital team's "family-centric care" principle requires staff to collaborate with other institutions in an effort to treat patients from the same family together.

"Besides taking care of patients, we make a lot of contact with the Department of Health and quarantine centers, hoping to keep families together," Kwan said.

The team also practiced interdepartmental cooperation to minimize impact of staff shortages.

"In late March, we found that many pediatric wards were empty and demands on human resources were relatively light in the pediatrics department, so we proposed that pediatric wards accommodate adult patients and our doctors take care of the adults," Kwan said.

The center's medical director, Owen Tsang Tak-yin, said: "This is unprecedented. The assistance from the pediatrics team has alleviated our pressure significantly."

Tsang added: "In light of the increase in number of patients, we will still face difficulties. But I believe with such a workforce distribution mechanism and the assistance from colleagues of other departments, we will not face that much pressure."

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