Turkish Journal of Anaesthesiology & Reanimation

On-the-Job Safety During Enlarging an Intensive Care Unit for the COVID-19 Pandemic: Team-Based Approach with Low Infection Rate of the Staff


Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, “F. Tappeiner” Hospital, Merano, Italy


Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine, Eurac Research, Bolzano, Italy


Independent Researcher, Ora, Italy


Technical Department, “F. Tappeiner” Hospital, Merano, Italy


Department of Anaesthesia, Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland


Department of Anaesthesia, Perioperative Medicine and Intensive Care, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria

Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim 2022; 50: Supplement S42-S49
DOI: 10.5152/TJAR.2021.21116
Read: 117 Downloads: 33 Published: 13 June 2022

Objective: Healthcare workers had a 7.4-fold risk of severe coronavirus disease-19 than non-essential employees in the United Kingdom during the first phase of the pandemic. In this study, we describe interdisciplinary measures for increasing on-the-job safety used during the first phase of the pandemic in an Italian hospital.

Methods: We converted an intensive care/intermediate care unit into a fully equipped 16-bed intensive care unit with adjustments for infection control and on-the-job safety within 4 days. We compared our actions with a recently published concept on team management in the pandemic and described the implementation of each issue. It was our principal goal in this completely unknown emergency to guarantee safety for both staff and patients. We defined independent pathways for staff, patients, material, and waste. Clear procedures were defined for protecting the employees and for creating a working environment that minimizes mistakes despite challenging conditions.

Results: From March 7 to April 29, we treated 34 mechanically ventilated patients in our intensive care unit with a mean bed occupancy rate of 62%. The team worked in the upgraded intensive care unit with an increased perception of safety. After cessation of the first wave of the pandemic, we tested the department’s entire staff for antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Totally 2 of 122 (1.6%) team members developed anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 immunoglobulin-G antibodies during the intensive care unit’s running time.

Conclusion: The successful implementation of theoretical concepts on team management into clinical practice was crucial for staff safety and on-the-job safety during the pandemic.

Cite this article as: Rauch S, Regli IB, Martínez Salazar B, et al. On-the-job safety during enlarging an intensive care unit for the COVID-19 pandemic: Team-based approach with low infection rate of the staff. Turk J Anaesthesiol Reanim. 2022;50(Suppl 1):S42-S49.

EISSN 2667-6370