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515 Main Street, Olean, New York 14760
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Olean General Hospital

News

E.D. Satellite Added for Flu Patient Care

Posted on: 11/18/2009

High numbers of patients with flu-like symptoms and concerns about the H1N1 “swine flu” virus prompted Olean General Hospital to set up a special patient care satellite near the Emergency Department’s entrance on November 11. Patients will be seen in the temporary trailer as soon as Friday as a part of the hospital’s action plan to respond to the health care needs of the community.

Olean General Hospital joins other health care facilities across the nation and statewide that are using temporary emergency tents and trailers as recommended by the New York State Department of Health after Governor Patterson declared a state of emergency due to the rise in swine flu cases. There is no exact timeline for removal of the rented trailer at Olean General Hospital.

Hospital officials said the patient care trailer allows the overflow of patients with flu-like symptoms to be triaged, diagnosed and treated more efficiently. The satellite is not intended to isolate patients with the flu. Instead, most patients with non-life threatening conditions may be screened and discharged from the trailer within 90
minutes.

“This process will help us care for patients more efficiently,” said Ronald Mornelli,
senior vice president and chief operating officer at OGH. “Our goal is to exceed
patient satisfaction and reduce crowded waiting rooms and times.”

Patients that present to the OGH Emergency Department with flu symptoms will be asked to wear a mask and should expect the following steps:
- Triage will be completed in the Emergency Room
- Patients with low acuity levels of flu symptoms will go to the emergency satellite’s waiting area
- Patient registration will take place in the satellite unit
- An examination will be conducted by an emergency physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant
- Based on those findings, a throat culture or other screenings may be administered (depending on the type of screening the results might take up to 45 minutes)
- The laboratory results of the screening will be reported back to the patient via the emergency medical provider
- Instructions for treatment, discharge or possible hospital admission will be reviewed at that time.

William Mills, M.D., senior vice president of Quality and Professional Affairs at Upper Allegheny Health System said, “Patients are either given a dose of Tamiflu® or given instructions about resting at home and drinking plenty of fluids.”

Dr. Mills urged those who are NOT seriously ill to avoid hospital emergency departments, but instead contact their primary care doctor or health clinic.

“We’re asking for everyone’s help to make sure the emergency department treatment remains available for people who truly need it,” Dr. Mills said.  “In addition to caring for people with severe novel H1N1 flu, local hospitals still have to manage their regular patient caseload.”

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