Social distancing laws and the approaching winter has forced Wimmera Health Care Group to find a bigger waiting area for Emergency Department patients.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, patients waiting for treatment in the Emergency Department have been spaced further apart to meet social distancing laws. Unfortunately, this has more than halved the capacity of the ED waiting area. 

On numerous occasions the waiting area has overflowed and patients have spilled outdoors. This has been distressing for the emergency care team and community members.

ED nurse Unit manager Odette Richards had been concerned about the lack of space particularly as we move into the winter months.

“We are now using a section of the foyer in the main entrance to ensure people are more comfortable,” Ms Richards said.

The new waiting area is helping to keep patients with respiratory problems separated from others,” she said.

“The original waiting room is now dedicated to patients with respiratory problems.

“Everyone else is in the main foyer and the chairs are spread out to maintain social distancing laws.”

Ms Richards said hospital staff were appreciative of public understanding toward changes forced by the pandemic.

“The restructure has been quite constant and we want to thank people for adapting with us along the way,” she said.

“We are doing whatever it takes to keep people safe, including our team members and it’s great to have the community support.”

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