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Great Plains Health honored for delivering COVID-19 treatment to elderly patients

Great Plains Health honored for delivering COVID-19 treatment to elderly patients

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Plains Health nurses donned personal protective equipment and drove to long-term care facilities to administer the bamlanivimab (aka Bam) antibody directly to patients.

Great Plains Health has received honors for antibody treatments, earning a distinguished service award from the Nebraska Infection Control Network.

From November 2020 to January 2021, the nursing team treated a total of 485 patients with a median age of 76. The nurses administered an antibody treatment to 84% of eligible patients within a mere 24 hours after testing positive for COVID-19.

The antibodies, administered soon after infection through an intravenous infusion, lessened the effect of COVID-19 symptoms.

GPH Infectious Disease physician Dr. Eduardo Freitas provided the Bam treatment, approved protocols and supported the efforts.

“Although the approach appeared to require nursing staff that we could not spare, the actual outcome was a reduced burden on our ER, ICU and medical surgical nurses, respiratory therapists, providers and all staff,” GPH Pharmacy Director Jason North said.

Heather Jensen, RN, BSN, outreach coordinator at Great Plains Health, said, “We wanted to lessen the effects of COVID-19 for our patients, but the human connection was just as meaningful. Little things, like talking to a woman about her grandchildren, or playing card games with a woman who had been in isolation for months, was fulfilling for patients and nursing staff alike.”

Orthopaedics LPN Phyllis Mackley said she likes to start IVs and wanted to help.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but we saw the struggle of how they were trying to handle COVID-19 in long-term care facilities,” she said. “It was hard for patients, staff and families. I wanted to lend a helping hand.”

“The value of being an independent hospital was evident because we could be nimble and adapt,” Jensen said. “We are a small team that was able to come to a solution and act quickly. Physicians, nurses, administration and employees from every department of Great Plains Health worked together to make this treatment accessible for our patients in this way.”

Freitas said the hospital acted promptly and the treatments were important.

“We didn’t wait to convene and create an action plan,” Freitas said. “We knew the sooner that we administered this treatment to COVID-19 patients in long-term care facilities, the sooner we could help our community.”

“I am proud to be a part of the team at Great Plains Health and I know that these efforts saved lives,” he said.

Based in North Platte, Great Plains Health is an accredited, 116-bed acute-care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota with 90 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties.

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