Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Heart Institute to open Jamaica’s first and only intensive care unit

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Heart Institute of the Caribbean's Balmoral Avenue site in St Andrew where the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit will be located when it opens in March.

The Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) has announced the opening of an ultra-modern, fully equipped cardiac intensive care unit (ICU) dedicated to the care of heart patients.

The six-bed, high-acuity unit at HIC, which is scheduled to be open to the public in March, is the first of its kind in Jamaica. It will be complemented with a 20-bed cardiac telemetry unit and will be the only such service in Jamaica dedicated to the care of heart patients.

"No effort was spared in ensuring that the units meet and in most cases, exceed current international standards. That was the reason we engaged the services of one of the leading hospital architects in the world, Ansel & Bailey, based in London, United Kingdom, with a track record of high-quality health-care design for over 100 years," explained Dr Ernest Madu, chairman and chief executive officer of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean.

 

SPECIALISED BEDS

 

With dedicated oxygen and medical air lines leading to individual bedhead units for each patient. All beds are equipped with individual patient monitors linked to central monitoring stations and accessible to an international panel of experts to assist remotely in the care of patients to achieve optimal outcome.

In addition, each bed in the intensive care unit comes with a dedicated ventilator for those patients who may need ventilator support. Three zones of healing music are provided to create comfort for patients while being treated.

"We recognise that a very important factor in ensuring good outcome for critically ill patients is infection control.

In recognition of this, we have employed the use of air handling units and ensure that the intensive care unit has a laminar airflow environment, allowing for 20 to 25 air exchanges per hour, thus providing clean and filtered air at all times for patients and staff," Madu noted.

Cardiac intensive care units have been in existence for more than 50 years, and have been shown to significantly improve survival and outcome for patients with heart disease. Unfortunately, even though cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Jamaica, there has not been a dedicated cardiac or coronary intensive care unit in Jamaica, until now.

While there are several intensive care unit beds in a few hospitals in Jamaica, none of these are dedicated cardiac care units, which are usually specifically designed and equipped to cater to the specialised needs of heart patients. With the new cardiac ICU at HIC, heart disease patients in Jamaica can be cared for in a specialised cardiac intensive care unit specially designed and equipped for the care of heart patients.

The Cardiac ICU at HIC will be staffed by outstanding cardiologists, critical-care specialists and cardiovascular nurses and technicians with specialised training in critical-care cardiology, and is expected to offer the best local option for patients with proven or suspected heart attacks and other cardiac emergencies. The current development is consistent with HIC's tradition of innovation and leadership in providing high-quality, accessible and affordable cardiovascular care to patients in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

"In line with our vision of providing high-quality cardiac care that is accessible and affordable, HIC has put in place mechanisms to ensure that these services will be accessible to all patients including those with significant financial constraints. We have done so for years with other services including offering free angiograms to heart attack patients, in public hospitals, building heart stations in communities, and also hosting ECG Days that ensure services to the public at heavily subsidised rates all supported by the work of the HIC Foundation," Madu concluded.

HIC has won multiple local and international awards for innovation and leadership in cardiovascular health-care service delivery.