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Rise in mental health patients sparks testing

Rise in mental health patients sparks testing

Tuesday 05 May 2020

Rise in mental health patients sparks testing


All residents at Jersey’s key mental health facility have been tested for covid-19 following an increase in new patients during lockdown.

Express understands the decision was taken as a patient safety measure following new arrivals to the St. Saviour premises in recent weeks.

Government officials declined to state whether there had been a spate of admissions or provide a comparison with patient numbers pre-lockdown “to protect patient confidentiality”, but confirmed that all residents last week underwent swab testing. All the tests from the acute in-patient wards returned a negative result.

Staff, meanwhile, were not all tested. A government spokesperson said that they would receive one if they showed symptoms.

“Patients at the St. Saviour mental health facility have all now been swabbed for covid-19,” the spokesperson explained.

They added: “Each of the five wards has a covid-19 plan in place for the admission, assessment and continued care of patients who are suspected of having, or are confirmed as having, coronavirus.”

Orchard House

Pictured: Patients at the St. Saviour mental health facility have all been tested for the virus.

It follows several changes at the facility in light of the covid-19 crisis.

Some staff that didn’t previously have to wear PPE or uniforms are now being asked to wear them, for example.

“The Mental Health team continues to work with Infection, Prevention and Control staff to ensure they’re following up-to-date PPE and Infection Prevention and Control procedures across the site,” a spokesperson explained.

“This includes uniforms being introduced into previously non-uniformed ward areas, so that staff can change their clothing going into and leaving the site.”

The news comes as islanders are being reminded to look out for each other’s mental health during lockdown to help vulnerable individuals avoid reaching crisis point.

Last week, Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull said that Police have taken around 230 welfare calls since the island went into lockdown on 30 March – a rise of around 50%.

Detective_Superintendent_Stewart_Gull.png

Pictured: Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull reported a surge in welfare calls since lockdown took effect.

He explained that the reports came from a wide cross-section of islanders, ranging from elderly and frail people to those with substance abuse issues.

“Some of the calls will be from third parties, some will be from members of the public who have seen them out and about and have concerns,” Mr Gull explained.

“Some individuals also contact us to say they are in crisis. Some will be individuals indicating they are harming themselves. We want to avoid any individuals getting to point of crisis if we can intervene early we stand a better chance of helping them.” 

He went on to urge the community to act as “eyes and ears” for the Police and to get in touch if they see anything of concern. 

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