Mini monitors relieve the IZ and care staff of Covid-19
With the doom scenario in mind of an overcrowded ICU ward and caregivers who drop out during the second Covid wave, Hospital Geel has in recent weeks tested a light and mobile monitor that can be used in nursing wards. The monitor works in combination with an Optiflow oxygen device and can thus keep beds free during intensive care for patients who need to use a ventilator because they can no longer breathe independently. The wearable is also easier and safer for the healthcare provider. Hospital Geel is the first hospital in Belgium to use these mini monitors.
This worst-case scenario seemed to become dangerously realistic during the peak of the second corona wave. If we were to exceed the capacity of our intensive care unit (ICU), we would be faced with the inhumane choice: who gets a ventilator and who does not? In other words, who gets a chance of survival?
Light and mobile monitor
To avoid this, Hospital Geel found a solution in India: Recobro Vigile, a light and mobile monitor from the company Clarity Medical, the size of a smartphone. This wearable is used in ordinary rooms outside the intensive care unit. “The monitors are European certified and meet all requirements to help people in respiratory distress. They are much more compact than the devices in ICU and also ten times cheaper. So we can deploy them in nursing wards”, says anesthetist Luc Janssen, who is medically coordinating the pilot project. Hospital Geel mainly uses the monitors for patients who are treated with an Optiflow device, which is a nasal cannula that provides extra oxygen to patients who breathe independently. Ideal as an intermediate step before or after a ventilator in ICU.
Monitor patients from a safe distance
The mini monitor helps caregivers to keep an extra eye on patients from a safe distance. The device is located at the patient's bedside or the patient takes the monitor with him when moving in the room. The wearable measures the oxygen saturation in the blood via a finger pinch. The device can also monitor EKG, non-invasive blood pressure, invasive blood pressures and CO2. Outside the door of the room is a smartphone with an external battery, which is connected to the monitor via Bluetooth and which continuously displays the parameters of the patient. The measurements from all monitors also appear on a central screen in the nursing station. You can even have them forwarded to a tablet, so that you are not tied to a fixed place in the ward to follow up all patients. If the patient's values deteriorate, an alarm will sound so that nurses can intervene immediately. The patient's condition is therefore constantly monitored - just like at ICU.
Better for health care provider
The mini monitor allows nurses to read parameters of a Covid-19 patient without entering the room after a changing procedure. “They have less stress, they run less risk of contamination, they have to change less often, they save protective clothing and essential time,” says Dr. Janssen. “During the second wave I saw how hard it was for our nurses, they had not yet recovered from the first wave. More and more fell out, partly because some had to be quarantined after a high-risk contact or because they themselves received Covid-19. So, with the monitors we not only save the lives of our patients, but also that of our healthcare providers.”
“For a number of weeks, in the middle of the second wave, we started with these monitors, with success. It is certainly a system that we will use in the next wave. It can certainly also help other hospitals with an acute shortage of respirators”, adds Jos Opheide, medical coordinator Covid-19 of Hospital Geel.