Pop-up Grocery Store and Other Innovative Strategies Support Front-Line Staff in SoCal

Pop-up Grocery Store and Other Innovative Strategies Support Front-Line Staff in SoCal
April 4, 2020

Southern California Hospital at Culver City began temperature screening employees and patients on March 20 to determine if they posed a risk of spreading COVID-19. This is just one of the effective steps the hospital is taking to protect patients and employees on the frontline of the pandemic.

“We have implemented an enhanced COVID-19 screening algorithm for direct admission patients,” said Chief of Staff Jamshid Niknam, MD. “All direct admissions are being routed through our emergency department to ensure patients are being screened for potential COVID-19 criteria.”

The hospital acquired personal protective equipment (PPE) and N-95 respirators early on to ensure nurses and other staff members who come in contact with diagnosed or symptomatic coronavirus patients are protected. Of course, the need to replenish supplies is ongoing.

“Our staff chose healthcare because they have a passion for helping people and I see it every day as they make personal sacrifices to help others during this pandemic,” said CEO Michael Klepin. “In the same way, we want to protect our caregivers as much as possible.”

The hospital adopted the CDC-recommended plan to minimize COVID-19 exposure, but consistently tries to find additional ways to keep patients and employees protected.

“We have tried to go above and beyond CDC recommendations for PPE for our staff, which is a face mask, eye protection, gloves and gowns,” said Chief Nursing Officer Michael McGinty. “Additionally, our healthcare team carefully follows isolation standards for Droplet Precautions, which means one patient per room with the door closed.”

An innovative step taken recently by the hospital is to open a pop-up grocery store for busy staff to pick up basic food staples for themselves and their families.

“It is a small gesture to make their lives easier right now,” added Klepin.

In addition to the pop-up grocery store, the hospital has:

  • Set up a mobile infectious disease triage area in the emergency department parking lot to ensure that non-emergent patients being screened for COVID-19 are treated in a designated area.
  • Provided scrubs to all nurses caring for admitted patients who are confirmed or being ruled-out for COVID-19 so they don’t put their families at risk by wearing the scrubs home.
  • Opened two additional medical floors for surge contingency.
  • Launched a command center to handle supply chain issues, prepare for broad-scale COVID-19 testing, and identify staff and patient flow within the hospital.
  • Set up a hotline number to respond to questions or concerns from employees, physicians, patients, family members and community members from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

At the corporate level, a taskforce was set up to share experiences in managing COVID-19 with the 17 hospitals in the Prospect Medical system. “We are sharing our experience in managing this with our colleagues and working as one unified team,” Klepin said.

The hospital also added that Los Angeles vendors have offered to donate or provide PPE supplies at a low cost.