KPJ Healthcare Berhad (KPJ), a listed company that owns and manages a network of private hospitals, is an essential service that continues to operate 24 hours attending to patients during the movement control order period.
“KPJ is blessed to be able to continue our services. We have not had to layoffany of our staff, nor have we had to implement unpaid leave.Thus we remain steadfast in providing healthcare services to the general public and our patients, ” said KPJ Healthcare Berhad president and managing director Datuk Amiruddin Abdul Satar.
“As the MCO limits the movement of people, KPJ Hospitals have also been affected, with lower occupancy rates due to fewer patient visits.We expect our second quarter revenue to decrease, though not as hard hit as many other sectors which have had to cease operations during this pandemic.”
What role did KPJ Healthcare Bhd hospitals play in the Covid-19 crisis?
KPJ provided – either via direct contact or the Association Of Private Hospitals, Malaysia (APHM)– to the community/public:
>25 ventilators on loan to 10 government hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
>KPJ contributed to JCorp Group’s initiative to provide 20 ventilators to Yayasan Sultan Ibrahim Johor for use in government hospitals.
>Allocation of more than 200 beds to government hospitals, whereby KPJ, in collaboration with the Health Ministry, takes in non-Covid-19 cases from public hospitals and provides available facilities and amenities to these patients.
>Allocation of 130 dialysis chairs in 16 of its hospitals across the country, to provide slots for non-Covid-19 patients undergoing dialysis.Patients requiring dialysis would be referred by the respective government hospitals to the selected private hospitals.
>Contribution of KPJ medical consultants who serve on a pro bono basis, while also making personal contributions to communities in need.
>KPJ hospital staff who serve in public hospitals on request of the Health Ministry, to cope with the high demand.
>Collaboration with QSR Brands (M) Holdings Berhad to distribute meals to frontliners, government hospital staff, the police, army, personnel involved in sanitising areas and many more. Meals were also provided to orphanages and old folks home.
>KPJ hospitals are providing medicines to patients’ home through delivery services at no charge, or patients may pick up their medication via drive-through at the hospital.
> Teleconsultation with KPJ doctors. “This is part of our innovative service in bringing hospitals to the patients. This consultation via a digital platform allows patients to consult with KPJ’s medical consultants from the comfort of their homes, ” said Amiruddin.
>Home nursing is still provided when the patients’ need is urgent. KPJ healthcare personnel will be attired in personal protective equipment (PPE).
>Covid-19 drive-through test. “Another patient-centred initiative is having Covid-19 testing and screening available at all KPJ’s 28 hospitals.In addition to patients being tested at the hospitals, we also provide testing services via drive-through facilities, ” said Amiruddin. “KPJ Damansara was the first private healthcare provider that embarked on drive-through facilities followed by other KPJ hospitals nationwide.”
>Lablink (M) Sdn Bhd, which is part of the KPJ family, is among the first private laboratories appointed by the Health Ministry to conduct Covid-19 tests. Lablink tests specimens from KPJ’s network of hospitals as well as from public hospitals, other non-KPJ private hospitals, clinics and labs. Results are available within 24 to 48 hours.
>From February to March this year, KPJ Group produced 272 posters and social media posts on its digital platform as well as 63 videos. KPJ also generated 20 news items in the mass media (from its on ground and online presence).
>KPJ HealthShoppe enables consumers to purchase over the counter (OTC) medicine, supplements, toiletries and other items online.
How did KPJ Healthcare Bhd hospitals modify operations to minimise the possibility of cross-infections?
KPJ Hospitals adhere to strict guidelines from the Health Ministry which apply to all staff and patients, said Amiruddin.Among the changes implemented at KPJ hospitals are:
>Limiting the number of access points into and out of KPJ hospitals for better control and coordination of traffic and volume.
>Tight patient screening processes at entry points.
>Limiting visiting hours and the number of visitors to wards.
>Hand hygiene practices –before touching a patient; before any clean or aseptic procedure; after body fluid exposure risk; after touching a patient; and after touching a patient’s surroundings, including contaminated items or surfaces.
>Effective and diligent wearing of PPE.
>To further protect patients, staff and medical consultants, all KPJ hospitals perform testing on those who fall under the criteria of Health Ministry’smandatory testing. For those undergoing surgery, as a preventive measure they will be tested prior to the operation.
What are the changes to KPJ hospitals’ SOP during this crisis?
> Vigilant screening at points of entrance (POE) to KPJ hospitals by taking the person’s temperature and having a standard questionnaire to identify a patient under investigation (PUI). Once identified, the PUI shall undergo a Covid-19 screening test to confirm or rule out infection. “By doing this, it helps to contain the spread. This screening is not just at the POE of the hospital but at all entry points of the various servicesto capture any PUI that might have been missed out at any other POE, ” said Amiruddin.
>Social distancing at every common area and throughout the patients’ journey such as the waiting areas and even the lift.
>Rescheduling routine haemodialysis to enable the nurses to manage the patients at the same dialysis bay. Patients’ movements and socialising with other patients are restricted.
>Wearing of PPE by all healthcare professional and providers at all times.
> Providing face mask to anyone who fulfils the criteria of a PUI i.e. patient has a history of travelling abroad for instance.
>Hand hygiene facilities are readily available under normal circumstances and now with the Covid-19 pandemic more spots are identified for hand wash and hand rubs.
>Housekeeping staff are trained to do more frequent cleaning of the patients’ surroundings and to do terminal cleaning after each patient gets discharged. “We take this proactive measure to ensure we do not miss out any potential case that might incidentally be positive for Covid-19, ” said Amiruddin.
>If movement of patient is required, a pre-planned route wil be used that minimises exposure to other staff, patients and visitors. The receiving area will be notifed before the patient is sent over.
> Healthcare personnel transporting patients must wear appropriate PPE (mask, eye protection, isolation gown, gloves).
What are the priority cases for now?
KPJ Hospitals do not select or prioritise cases, said Amiruddin.
“All patients are welcome and based on treatment and procedures. Patients are tested if they fall within the criteria of those who are required to be tested. The hospitals will then provide treatment once the patient is confirmed to be Covid-19negative.
“In accordance with the Health Ministry’s strict guidelines, patients whose Covid-19 test results are positive will be hospitalised at dedicated government hospitals, ” he said.