Groote Schuur Hospital
Equipped with advanced cardiac monitoring and fluid administration systems, the new Neurosurgical High Care Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital is a massive upgrade in treating patients with brain injuries or serious neurological conditions.
Although up and running for several weeks, the unit was officially launched on 26 July. Containing six beds, each with its own monitoring equipment that continuously track patients' pulse, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and respiratory rate, the unit has already helped over 30 patients in need of intensive monitoring after surgery.
Neurointensive care head, Professor Patrick Semple, explains that previously nurses had to work very hard, because although there was a higher ratio of nurses to patients, they didn't have monitoring facilities.
"Now," he says, "monitoring is very tight, and if there's deterioration we pick it up very quickly."
Chief registrar of the Division of Neurosurgery, Dr Simon Sandler, adds: "We can monitor pulse and blood pressure beat-to-beat and second-to-second. Machines are delivering what we can't."
The unit is also expected to take pressure off the hospital's Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
"Post-op care is much easier now because ICU time is shortened," says Semple. "Previously, patients tended to stay in ICU because we didn't have this step-down facility."
Semple also notes that because registrars and nurses can now attend the new unit's rounds, teaching on high-care management of patients is greatly improved.
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