Event Recap: COVID-19 Response Inside the Hospitals in Three Countries

January 12, 2021

Hosted by UCI Office of Global Engagement, the webinar on December 4, 2020 covered the response to COVID-19 from inside hospitals in three countries. Featured speakers from UCI Health Medical Center, Linköping University in Sweden and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Ireland discussed how their teams have responded to the global pandemic. This front-line view revealed what most members of the general public have never seen and offered diverse viewpoints to compare the pandemic responses in different countries.

Watch the Event Recording

Speaker recap:

Anna Strömberg, Professor of Nursing, Linköping University, Sweden

  • The government health agency in Sweden is completely tax-funded and the population is covered for any medication under $200.
  • The visitation rules have been very strict not allowing family members in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Sweden has found difficulty in caring for the elderly and immigrant groups as there is a need for more educated staff to care for these groups.
  • During this time, many have felt responsibility; teachers increased time in healthcare, nurses cut back on vacations, and organizations have launched nurse support programs.

Susanne Phillips, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs and Health Sciences Clinical Professor, Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, UCI

  • The U.S. healthcare system is very complex, consisting of both public and private funding as well as many private insurance companies.
  • The response to COVID is not as simple as it seems to the media, as individual states and counties each have the autonomy to make decisions.
  • Some disparities in the healthcare system include some patients’ lack of insurance and their ability to quarantine in small dwellings.
  • Nurses face a lot of anxiety related to contracting the virus but they have also had to assuage COVID-positive patients’ fears of death and suffering regarding this new virus.

Serena O’Brien, ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) Co-ordinator at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

  • Ireland adopts a two-tier public health care system in which the population is responsible for some out of pocket costs, while private health care covers the rest.
  • There is no visitation in Ireland, but lately, visitation has been allowed in some cases regarding end of life patients.
  • Ireland had the lowest amount of critical care beds per capita in the EU and have had to double since COVID, along with pulling nurses from other areas to assist.
  • The critical care workers are under stress as always and always respond well to pressure, but there is more anxiety as 15.5% of health care workers have contracted the virus.

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