A busy week at Athol Hospital, a designated ‘clean hospital’

  • Athol Hospital's new ER and Medical Arts Building with Primary Care and Specialty Care. Contributed photo

Staff Report
Published: 9/12/2021 4:39:16 PM
Modified: 9/12/2021 4:39:18 PM

ATHOL — According to a press release, it’s been a busy week at Athol Hospital, as some members of the local community have observed, commenting on how full our parking lot appears to be at a time when the COVID-19 Delta variant is spreading. There are a few factors contributing to this.

Athol Hospital was designated as a “clean” hospital back in March of 2020, meaning patients requiring inpatient care for Covid-19 are transferred to the Heywood Hospital campus, in order to provide efficient use and management of resources and access to the intensive care unit.

The Joint Commission, a hospital regulatory agency that surveys hospitals unannounced, every three years, came to the Athol Campus for its triennial survey on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and will remain on campus through Friday, Sept. 10. As with any Joint Commission survey, Heywood Healthcare employees, including managers and directors who work at both campuses are required to be onsite during the survey, a significant contributing factor to the parking challenges.

In addition, Athol Hospital was approached by a production company months ago, with a request to spend two days filming in two small areas of the hospital. The company adhered to the following guidelines:

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>Mandatory vaccination of all crew members

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>Mandatory donning of KN-95 masks

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>Strict hand hygiene

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>A dedicated licensed Infection Prevention Nurse

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>HEPA filters in filming areas

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>Mandatory COVID testing three times a week

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>Strict limitation to only essential personnel inside the hospital

The company had designated parking behind the hospital where they also staged a large tent to provide shelter for crew members and ensure that only essential crew members would enter the hospital at any given time. The company was scheduled to film on Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 8-9, respectively). As customary, the production company was charged a fee, which will help to fund needed capital investments.

Hospital leaders say, “Thank you for your patience as we conclude these activities. Your community healthcare system remains committed to your care, and committed to seeing this virus through to the end.”

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