December 15, 2020
US Health & Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System Team Supporting Elliot Hospital
Close to a week into the rapid deployment of the 24-person team of medical professionals with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), the temporary assistance is helping to alleviate some pressures on staff and providers, by increasing capacity for staff, and improving the flow of patients who come to Elliot’s Emergency Department. Their mission is to integrate into the facility to free up local staff to support patient needs. The NDMS team is expected to remain at the Elliot through December 23.
The team of medical professionals from NDMS arrived on Saturday, December 11. Within a few hours of arrival, they were working with our staff to deliver much needed services. NDMS staff are located in different areas in the hospital, including five nurses in Elliot’s overflow unit to care for critically ill patients, with additional staffing in respiratory services, the Emergency Department, and pharmacy. Elliot and NDMS staff shared their thoughts about working together.
Lynchburg, VA- based NDMS team member and Nurse Practitioner, Sharon Clements said, “I have worked all over the country, and COVID cases at the Elliot are as bad as I’ve seen them anywhere. It’s clear that they need extra hands.”
Kathy Butler, Richmond, VA-based NDMS paramedic, said, “This is my third hospital mission. I was impressed that the Elliot was ready for us right when we walked into the building. I can’t say enough good things about the team and my experience.” Virginia-based paramedic Greg Neiman is helping to move Emergency Department patients to a separate area to receive care while they await open beds. He agrees with Kathy, “The Elliot team has been amazing, we feel welcomed, and we are pleased to be here to help.”
Several Elliot staff are sharing the feeling of relief now that NDMS members are helping, which is much needed during these challenging times. Chris Piccuito, from Elliot’s Respiratory Therapy team agrees. He said, “The NDMS team is very experienced, and they jumped right in to help. I am feeling a sigh of relief from the extra support, especially for our night shift, where we need the most help.”
Ashley Williams and Elsbeth Thurston, NDMS team members serving in the Elliot Pharmacy are both based in the mid-Atlantic. They expressed their appreciation for Elliot’s reception too. “This is my first deployment, and it’s been an amazing experience to arrive and get involved right away,” said Ashley. Elsbeth said, “I am happy to be here, we feel so welcomed. It means a lot to see how we’re making a difference for the Elliot.”