Thursday, April 18, 2024

To avoid hospital overcrowding, Wilmington Health opens new outpatient clinic with 90% ER functionality [Free read]

Wilmington Health opened a new outpatient care clinic equipped to handle 90% of Emergency Room cases to avoid hospital overcrowding due to Covid-19. (Port City Daily/File photo)
Wilmington Health opened a new outpatient care clinic equipped to handle 90% of Emergency Room cases to avoid hospital overcrowding. (Port City Daily/File photo)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Wilmington Health has opened a new outpatient clinic nearly fully equipped to handle emergency treatment scenarios.

The Today’s Care+ clinic will be staffed with Wilmington Health providers trained in Emergency Medicine.

Related: New Hanover County announces first confirmed Covid-19 death [Free read]

Wilmington Health opened Today’s Care+ to keep ER patients out of New Hanover Regional Medical Hospital. Though NHRMC is taking extensive steps to avoid spreading the virus to patients being treated for other medical issues, the new clinic could help ease concerns and relieve potential crowding.

With a complex laboratory, a CT Scanner, MRI, and X-rays, this clinic is equipped to handle about 90% of visits typically handled by the ER. No patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms or individuals exposed to Covid-19 will be permitted inside the new clinic (these patients will be triaged to Wilmington Health’s Covid-19 hotline which can offer them a same-day telehealth visit).

Every individual that arrives at Today’s Care+ will be screened for Covid-19 symptoms prior to entry.

“The more that the ER can be decompressed, the more the hospital will be
able to care for the sickest patients,” Dr. Johnathan Hines, Wilmington Health’s Chief Medical Officer, said in a release.

Statewide models released April 6 estimate stress on the hospital system will peak by mid-May. The study estimated the state has a 25% chance of exceeding its acute care bed capacity if stay-at-home restrictions stay in place past April, doubling to a 50% chance if they are lifted.

As of late Tuesday, New Hanover County has 62 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, one death, with 32 individuals who have recovered.

Care at home

Wednesday, NHRMC announced its new COVID Care at Home Tool, a follow-up program medical teams will use to regularly call and check-in with patients exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.

The patients will be screened over the phone and designated as high, moderate, or low risk. From there, patients may be connected via video with a provider or instructed to make arrangements to arrive to seek emergency care in-person.

NHRMC is encouraging providers in the region to use the new tool to provide patients consistent support and early intervention.

Outpatient ER

Today’s Care+’s ability to care for most ER visits depends on “the level of severity, not necessarily the condition itself.”

“For instance, a patient with congestive heart failure can have severe shortness of breath and that patient would belong in the ER. A month later, that same patient may have only moderate symptoms and can be handled in Today’s Care+,” according to Wilmington Health spokesperson Alexis Hunter.

Located on 1202 Medical Center Drive, Today’s Care+ will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Patients do not need an established medical provider to be seen for the following medical issues:

  • Swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fractures
  • Acute orthopedic issues
  • Sinus infections
  • Colds & flu
  • Bronchitis & pneumonia
  • Earaches & eye or skin infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bladder & urinary tract infections
  • Rashes
  • Insect bites
  • Asthma attacks (mild or moderate)
  • Stomach bugs
  • Cuts & scrapes
  • Abdominal pain (pregnancy-related up to 20 weeks)
  • Fractures & sprains
  • New pain or injuries
  • Mild to Moderate CHF
  • IV fluids
  • Migraines
  • Minor burns
  • Sunburns

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