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Opening up while locking down: how an Irish independent sector mental health service is responding to the COVID-19 crisis

  • Paul Fearon (a1) (a2)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particular set of challenges for health services. Some of these are common across all services (e.g. strategies to minimise infections; timely testing for patients and staff; and sourcing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)) and some are specific to mental health services (e.g. how to access general medical services quickly; how to safely deliver a service that traditionally depends on intensive face to face contact; how to isolate someone who does not wish to do so; and how to source sufficient PPE in the face of competing demands for such equipment). This paper describes how St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) chose to address this unfolding and ever-changing crisis, how it developed its strategy early based on a clear set of objectives and how it adapted (and continues to adapt) to the constantly evolving COVID-19 landscape.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Paul Fearon, Medical Director, St Patricks Mental Health Services, James’ Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. (Email: pfearon@stpatsmail.com)

References

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Colbert, SA, McCarron, S, Ryan, G, McLoughlin, DM (2020) Immediate Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 on Electroconvulsive Therapy Practice. J ECT. 2020 Mar 31. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000688. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32243334
Expert Group on Mental Health Policy (2006) A Vision For Change (https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/mentalhealth/mental-health---a-vision-for-change.pdf). Accessed 6 June 2020.
Galea, S, Merchant, RM, Lurie, N (2020) The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical Distancing: The Need for Prevention and Early Intervention. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 10, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1562
Health Protection Surveillance Centre (2020) Current recommendations for the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the management of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/infectionpreventionandcontrolguidance/ppe/Interim%20Guidance%20for%20use%20of%20PPE%20%20COVID%2019%20v1.0%2017_03_20.pdf). Accessed 6 June 2020.
Irish Times (March 2 2020) ‘The arrival of Covid-19 will inevitably ratchet up concern and, for some, fear’ (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/the-arrival-of-covid-19-will-inevitably-ratchet-up-concern-and-for-some-fear-1.4189723). Accessed 6 June 2020.

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Opening up while locking down: how an Irish independent sector mental health service is responding to the COVID-19 crisis

  • Paul Fearon (a1) (a2)

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