Isolation ward as a high-security wing for treating COVID


SALZKAMMERGUT. When the isolation ward at the Salzkammergut Klinikum Gmunden was opened five years ago, the dangerous SARS-CoV-2 virus was not yet an issue. The station was primarily intended for the care of flu patients.

Since March of this year, doctors and nurses have been confronted with the hitherto largely unknown coronavirus, which is currently posing particular challenges for the staff and infrastructure of all hospitals.

Isolation ward as a safe place

The isolation ward is not a permanent facility and is only opened when massive infectious diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis or epidemic diarrheal diseases occur. For this purpose, internal medicine departments are being transformed into wards that resemble a high-security wing. “There is probably no safer place like an isolation ward where the risk of infection with a dangerous germ can be practically ruled out or at least very low. Viruses cannot be carried outside from this shielded area, ”says Prim. Bernhard Mayr, head of the internal medicine department at SK Gmunden, is convinced.

In order to guarantee this safety, in addition to structural and safety-related measures, appropriate training of the personnel is required. “Our experts have been trained for years, but this year, with the appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we have given the employees in the field of doctors, care, and cleaning additional special training. With expert knowledge and adherence to the most meticulous hygiene measures such as wearing special protective clothing, we can guarantee a high level of safety and optimal care for our patients, ”Mayr continued.

Everyday life has changed

However, caring for people suffering from Corona is much more time-consuming. “The daily work routine and the processes in the isolation ward have changed significantly due to COVID-19. The inward and outward movement of every hospital room is very time-consuming and our team is exposed to enormous physical strains when wearing protective clothing. Especially because of the increased sweating in the airtight protective suits and the physically strenuous work in the care, you are exhausted compared to otherwise much earlier, ”reports DGKP station manager Barbara Schmid about the energy-consuming work.

Due to the massive increase in the number of corona patients requiring hospitalization, further wards have temporarily been converted into isolation wards in the SK Gmunden, but also at the locations in Bad Ischl and Vöcklabruck.

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