Holton Community Hospital, Jackson Co. EMS find ways to overcome challenges amid coronavirus outbreak


HOLTON, Kan. (KSNT) — Like many other hospitals and EMS crews across the country, Holton Community Hospital and Jackson County EMS are doing their best to make do with what they have during the coronavirus pandemic.

Being a smaller hospital, Holton Community Hospital has been faced with some challenges amid the outbreak, like limited access to supplies, having enough space and being able to treat those in need of intensive care. But, they’re finding ways to overcome them.

“We’ve learned to think outside the box to come up with things we have on hand, buildings that we have and how can we utilize what we already have here,” said nurse Jennifer Collins.

Whether that’s setting up a make-shift drive-up testing center in a garage out back or setting up tents outside the building to separate patients with coronavirus symptoms from other patients.

For Jackson County EMS, their main concern has been having enough supplies. According to Regional Executive Director Con Olson, the amount of supplies distributed by the state is based on population size. Being that they serve a smaller community, they won’t receive as much as counties with more people.

“This recent allotment that came through, that eased a lot of our concerns,” Olson said. “We still have a few supplies. I touch base with several vendors virtually every day to check on order shipments for additional masks, gowns, boot covers, testing kits and things like that.”

In addition to having enough supplies, it’s also important for EMS crews and the hospital staff to be ready for whatever comes their way.

“We don’t have an ICU here,” Chief of Medical Staff Malia Warner said. “So, if there were a time we were not able to transfer an ICU-level patient, we are having to prepare and be ready to take care of those patients.”

Even if it’s something they’re not quite used to dealing with on a regular basis.

“We don’t have that background,” Warner said. “So, it means that we’re putting a lot of extra time in and educating ourselves, educating our staff and getting everything ready for a type of medicine that we’re not used to doing.”

In addition to keeping the staff informed and up to date on the situation, CEO Carrie Saia said it’s just as critical to keep them healthy.

“We only have a certain amount of depth that we can go to,” Saia said. “So, if one of our healthcare workers gets sick, that makes a huge impact.”

Despite the list of challenges, the staff at Holton Community Hospital is optimistic and most importantly, prepared as much as they can be for what’s to come.

“If push comes to shove, we’re prepared,” Collins said. “We know what we need to do. We have a good team and all hands on deck.”

Staff members said that the community has been very helpful during this time. Many people have made and donated masks, gowns and food, to make sure the hospital staff has what it needs.

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