NYPQ head discusses experience with COVID-19
by Sara Krevoy
May 27, 2020 | 1107 views | 0 0 comments | 87 87 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When COVID-19 first hit New York City, Queens rapidly became a hotspot for the outbreak on local, national and global levels.

High volumes of coronavirus patient admissions turned the day-to-day business at area hospitals like NewYork-Presbyterian Queens upside down, and the Flushing facility worked full throttle making necessary changes to accommodate the influx.

“Communication was critical and decisions had to be made quickly,” said hospital president Jaclyn Mucaria.

With equipment, supplies and redeployed staff coming in from the larger NewYork-Presbyterian enterprise, the Flushing hospital worked swiftly to create negative pressure rooms and expand ICU space.

Spaces such as recovery rooms, procedure areas and even the cafeteria were transformed and quickly equipped to treat virus patients.

Although the disease itself proved difficult to manage due to numerous associated complications, says Mucaria, a strong command center structure kept the hospital running as smoothly as possible through the chaos.

Daily videos broadcast from leadership at NewYork-Presbyterian allowed for the establishment of critical standard practices and protocols.

Even as the city’s outbreak continues to slow, however, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens is still seeing coronavirus cases come through its ER and inpatient units.

“We are maintaining separation and strict infection prevention protocols,” explained Mucaria.

The Flushing hospital is also affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine on several ongoing research and clinical trial initiatives regarding coronavirus treatments.

As of May 18, the NewYork-Presbyterian healthcare system as a whole has released 7,313 recovered coronavirus patients. At NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, healthcare workers have been spotlighted on social media for playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” for patients as they are discharged.

For Mucaria, one of the hospital’s greatest successes during this pandemic has been the teamwork and selflessness shown by her staff, who she says often sing together in their units to boost spirits.

In addition to an outpouring of encouragement and appreciation from the surrounding community, which includes 7 p.m. clap-outs and food and gift donations, staff at NewYork Presbyterian Queens are supported by a slate of programs from within the hospital as well.

Mucaria explained that such programs range from mental health services for all employees to respite rooms holding flowers, snacks and “thank you” cards from the public.

The hospital is also providing staff with free parking, hotel accommodations and private buses so they can avoid taking public transportation.

“This experience has been stressful for frontline staff, and our workers stepped up heroically,” said the hospital president. “NewYork-Presbyterian Queens has always been here to serve the community, and we continue to fulfill this mission, to serve and treat the people of Queens.”
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