In response to the COVID-19 global health crisis, The Alfred has significantly increased its capacity to care for critically ill patients with major expansions to its Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Emergency Department (ED).
ICU capacity has doubled, with the potential to expand further to more than 380 beds if needed. The ED has capacity to treat up to 200 patients after a redevelopment across the ground floor.
The Alfred’s Director of ICU, Dr Steve McGloughlin said staff were prepared and existing ward space had already been converted into additional ICU beds. However, he said the ideal model is to prevent people from needing intensive care in the first place.
“We have commissioned Level 2 as an ICU, so we have the ability to double our ICU capacity tomorrow if we need to – this would take us up to 100 beds. However, we have projected for a range of scenarios that would see us able to increase ICU capacity to 382 beds,” Dr McGloughlin said.
“From what we’ve seen in some ICUs overseas, the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients is high. Regardless of how many beds we have – it’s a very severe disease.
“That’s why we need to keep current measures in place because they are working. Physical distancing and staying home, not spreading the disease to vulnerable community members – that is the best chance we have.”
Director of The Alfred Emergency and Trauma Centre, de Villiers Smit, said while it is impossible to predict exactly how the virus will impact Victoria, it is important to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
“Our emergency department is the gateway to the hospital and we are experienced at providing life-saving care to any patient who comes through our doors,” Associate Professor Smit said.
“We’ve expanded our emergency department to include an additional 200 beds, right across the ground floor. We hope infection rates remain low and we won’t need the extra capacity, however, we’re ready if we do.”