A new negative pressure isolation room at Mildura Base Hospital will ensure safer management of patients with airborne infections and reduce unnecessary patient transfers to capital city hospitals.
MBH received $211,700 from the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund to allow for an existing single patient room in the medical ward to be refurbished as a fully-compliant respiratory isolation room.
The Director of Nursing at MBH, Janet Hicks said the negative pressure room will accommodate patients with respiratory conditions, such as active tuberculosis (TB), which require negative pressure isolation.
“We use these rooms because tuberculosis bacteria spreads through the air from one person to another,” Ms Hicks said.
“When a patient with active TB sneezes or coughs, other people who inhale might become infected, but a negative pressure room means we can better contain the bacteria within the room,” she said.
“Australia has one of the lowest TB incidence rates in the world, but we still have between five and ten cases of TB confirmed in Mildura each year, and many more suspected cases.
“Currently the only way we can treat these and other infectious respiratory cases is by isolating the patient within the Intensive Care Unit negative pressure room, often for several weeks and that’s a significant demand on that important resource.”
The new room will comply with the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines (AHFG) and will be a Type 1 isolation room with a compliant anteroom. The room will be fitted with an overhead hoist and specialised equipment to help manage the patient safely in accordance with occupational health and safety standards.
Ms Hicks said the new room in the medical ward would reduce the stress on patients and their families and most significantly reduce the burden on the hospital’s critical care beds.
“That means there will be fewer cases where we have to transfer patients to tertiary centres because of a lack of ICU beds – that means keeping more very sick patients close to home and their families,” she said.
On completion next year, MBH will have three fully-compliant negative pressure isolation rooms located in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and the Medical Ward.