Field hospital ready to receive recovering COVID-19 patients

By: Lynn Desjardins
As COVID-19 infections increase across much of Canada, medical professionals are warning that hospitals may soon be overwhelmed. To take some of the pressure off, a new field hospital was built beside Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario in April 2020 and is ready to receive 93 patients who are recovering from the infection.
In January, the average temperature in Burlington is between 0 C and -7, so the hospital is heated. It features a special ventilation system, easy-to-disinfect surfaces, natural light, portable laptop tables and free WiFi so patients can connect with loved ones as they recover.
The facility will be staffed by doctors, nurses, patient care assistants, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists and others.

‘Healthcare system is…stretched to its limits’

“The Pandemic Response Unit was built to care for COVID-19 patients whose condition has stabilized but require support that cannot be provided at home, such as oxygen therapy and medication, as well as ongoing monitoring of their symptoms and some personal support,” said Dr. Ian Preyra, Chief of Staff at Joseph Brant Hospital.
The field hospital is the first of its kind built in the province of Ontario. It can receive patients from four hospitals besides Joseph Brant including two in nearby Hamilton and the Niagara region.
“Our healthcare system is being stretched to its limits,” said Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences. “Opening the Pandemic Response Unit is a necessary step in our continued efforts to preserve critical hospital capacity for the sickest patients. All of the region’s hospitals are working closely together to ensure that care can be delivered safely with limited disruption to patients.”