What you need to know about COVID-19 care at NCMH

April 15, 2021 - 6:24 PM
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NCMH
A photo of the National Center for Mental Health (The STAR/File photo)

The National Center for Mental Health advised the public that it is only allotting 30% of its bed capacity for its mental health patients who will contract COVID-19.

The NCMH issued this advisory last week, April 6.

In the advisory, the state-run mental facility highlighted that their staff will still prioritize currently admitted mentally ill patients.

“Ang NCMH ay isang special psychiatric hospital na nanggagamot ng mga indibidwal na may problema sa kanilang mental health at hindi sapat ang kakayahan para tumugon ng malulubhang sakit katulad ng COVID-19,” the hospital said.

“Sa kabila nito, nagtatalaga ng 30% o 1,260 beds mula sa kabuuang 4,200 bed capacity ang ospital para sa mga service users o pasyenteng may karamdaman kaugnay sa mental health na magkakaroon ng COVID-19,” it added.

 

In line with psychiatric help, the NCMH advised new patients who seek emergency services to be admitted to its “Pre-Admission Unit” first for monitoring and RT-PCR tests.

“Ang mga pasyenteng kailangang ituloy ang gamutan ay ipapasok sa ‘Pre-Admission Unit’ upang isailalim sa mga pagsusuri kabilang na ang RT-PCR test. Ang mga makikitaan ng sintomas o magpopositibo sa COVID-19 ay ililipat sa nakatalagang COVID-19 isolation facility para sa kaukulang gamutan,” it said.

Its communication channels for out-patient services and 24-hour crisis hotline services will also remain open.

COVID-19 care 

Last Friday, Facebook user Janneke Agustin raised alarm over the risk faced by NCMH medical staff who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 for admitting COVID-19 cases besides their mental health patients.

In a Facebook post, Agustin cited the hospital’s lack of manpower, compromised safety of health workers and confusing guidelines in admitting COVID-19 patients as among the challenges faced by the NCMH.

“This is currently happening and we owe this to our medical frontliners handling mental health cases and COVID cases and all the patients and their families affected by this,” she wrote.

 

She claimed that according to insider information, NCMH was ordered to provide 1,000 beds to COVID-19 patients.

In a briefing on April 10, however, the Department of Health said NCMH would allocate 900 beds for COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate symptoms.

“We are expanding our capacity to accommodate patients. In fact, we are opening today 900 plus beds at the National Center for Mental Health to allow us to admit mild and moderate cases,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire was quoted as saying during the Laging Handa press briefing.

Vergeire added that the expansion will also include hospitals in other regions.

“Mayroon na rin pong tinatayo na ekstensyon ng temporary treatment and monitoring facility para lang maka-accommodate ng mas maraming mild at symptomatic para ‘di mapuno ang mga ospital,” she said.

These additional adjustments for the NCMH came as large hospitals and facilities in different parts of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces run out of bed capacities for the COVID-19 infected patients.

Tragic stories about relatives who died outside hospital care treatment dominated social media in the past weeks.