Chulalongkorn University has allocated 100 rooms in two campus buildings to provide free accommodations for COVID-19 patients in recovery and patients under investigation (PUI).
Professor Narin Hiransuthikul, Vice President at Chulalongkorn University and Chairperson of the Coronavirus Emergency Response Center, pointed out that the COVID-19 situation has spread and infected more patients than the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital and other big hospitals can handle. Chulalongkorn University is aware of the urgent need for more space. As a result, the CU V Care project is set up to accommodate CU students, staff, and faculty members that have been infected with the COVID-19 virus but are now in recovery, or patients that are under investigation of infection.
Under the CU V Care project, the University has prepared the Chulanivej Building for CU students and staff recovering from COVID-19 and the Champa Dormitory for patients going through the infection investigation. The project is meant to accommodate the CU community and resolve the issue of limited hospital beds at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital.
The Chulalongkorn Health Center and the Office of Physical Resources Management are working together to care for the health and facilitate patients during this difficult time, with no extra charge, except for meals.
In the next phase, Chulalongkorn University plans to expand the nursing facilities and accommodate the general public. Details on building assignments are still in the works with the Property Management of Chulalongkorn University.
“We place much importance in the health and safety of the CU community. The COVID-19 virus has greatly affected many of our community members and we are working as fast as we can to make sure the CU community’s well-being is cared for. Setting up nursing centres to support patients affected by the disease is one way for us to start”, says Professor Narin.
Professor Sombat Treeprasertsuk, Assistant to the President for Planning and Budget, adds that the university is well-equipped with medical practitioners, equipment, and supplies to accommodate up to 100 patients at a time. Chulanivej can host up to 50 recovery patients, while the Champa Dormitory has the capacity for up to 50 patients. The buildings will be ready for operation on Wednesday, 25 March 2020.
As for the CU V Care selection guideline, King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital will transfer patients with mild symptoms that have been verified by the hospital as safe and in recovery. Patients will be cared for by the doctors from Chulalongkorn Health Center. If the symptoms worsen, the patient will be sent back to King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital for further treatment.
The assistance is categorised into two groups: patients under investigation with no visible symptoms and patients who have tested positive. The patients under investigation will care for themselves in their own private room, but will use a shared bathroom in the Champa Dormitory. Patients who tested positive will be placed in a room with a private bathroom in the Chulanivej Building. Both buildings will offer serviced meals, separate trash, and a systematic follow up on treatment and recovery. Overall, the facilities will reduce the risk of patients infecting family members at home.
The majority of the CU V Care staff are volunteers – most of which are university personnel, with a strong immunity system and no pre-existing health conditions. The 40 volunteers will undergo comprehensive training from infectious disease specialists, in order to learn about virus protection. A manual that covers the major safety protocols for patients and staff will be provided. A Coronavirus Emergency Response Center to monitor the situation has already been set up.
Assistant Professor Chaiyaporn Puprasert, Vice President for Student and Alumni Affairs, shares that the University has decided to use the Champa Dormitory for patients under investigation because the building has compartmentalised areas and separated entrances. Although the building is for PUI, the measures are similar to that of recovery patients. The on-site staff will be trained by medical personnel from the hospital and the Faculty of Medicine. Assistant Professor Chaiyaporn added that a lot of thanks goes to the CU dormitory students, who have moved out to provide space for patients, and the volunteers, for risking and dedicating their time and service.
To help students physically and mentally cope with the situation, the Chula Student Wellness will remain open for consultation sessions. However, all communications will be moved online.
Assistant Professor Vorapat Inkarojrit, Assistant to the President for Physical Resources and Procurement, shares that normally Chulanivej building is resided by university staff and will shortly undergo renovation. The building contains 4 floors of 32-square metered rooms and is suitable for recovery patients that require well-ventilated living areas. Most importantly, the building is at least 10 meters away from other buildings.
Guidelines for living on campus and SIM cards for communication will provided. All recovering and quarantined residents will receive plates, fans, mattresses, cleaning equipment, trash cans and other daily necessities.
Facilities that will be available but co-used among the inhabitants include the laundry room and garbage room. A laundry room is available on every floor and a garbage room on the ground floor. Once the patient is discharged and free to go home, a major cleaning to disinfect the room, following the standards of the Ministry of Public Health, will be conducted. Available to help out around the building are over 50 volunteers, divided into 4 main departments:
1. Primary Coordinator – responsible for coordination between doctors, nurses, administrative board members, the Office of Physical Resources Management, and patients.
2. Food and Medicine Delivery Team – responsible for contact-free delivery between the food supplier and patients. Meals will be delivered 3 times a day following a schedule.
3. Garbage Collection Team – responsible for coordination with specific departments to collect the garbage once a day (all garbage from the patients are considered to be infectious waste and will have to be properly disposed).
4. Physical Resources and Security – responsible for utilities repair within the building and scheduling guards to cover the area 24 hours per day.
There will be two shifts per day: the first shift from 6:00am – 2:00pm and the second from 2:00pm – 10:00pm. None of the staff and volunteers will be in direct contact with any of the patients. The main communication channel will be online or via telephone. If a person-to-person communication is necessary, it will be carried out with at least 2 meters of distancing. The staff and volunteers will receive free health checkups after the project and the University will cover the health insurance for all volunteers during the project operation.