ASA COVID-19 Tips of the Week

Published: 30 March 2020

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Today’s top tips for the week:


  1. Use a checklist AND a spotter (buddy/guardian)

For everything. Well, not quite. Do this for donning, intubation and for doffing. There are a lot of different processes out there which makes it confusing. Even the US CDC has two different techniques for doffing. This is where mistakes happen. Ask that a checklist be made available if you don’t already have one. Practise using the checklist if you do have one. There is an example intubation checklist on the ASA website. Recall the scrub nurses you couldn’t interrupt when they were doing their count at the end of a big operation? Be like them.


  1. Scenario plan for one, a few or many patients at once

The patients have started arriving and as we’ve seen in Perth, it may not be a stepwise progression. Plan for these three scenarios. Plan for managing a few patients at once. There might be a patient in theatre, one deteriorating on the ward and one presenting to ED in respiratory distress all at once. Plan how you will be involved, how you will be notified, where these patients will be managed, how they will move through the hospital. Know who is organising this in your hospital and support them by becoming familiar with these processes.


  1. Create good habits

The latest modelling I have seen is that ICU capacity may be overwhelmed by the end of April. We are in for a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve done these types of marathons before and we can do it again. Now is the time to create or reinforce those good habits. In our house, we’re working to keep our dinners free of any COVID discussion. What’s yours? Share your ideas and tips on the ASA Forum.


In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this weeks’ podcast where I chat with Dr Brian Spain about what they learnt from their friendly HAZMAT team.


Please visit COVID-19 for latest updates.


Stay well,

Dr Suzi Nou