Divi President: Stock up on protective gear for the fall

corona
Divi President: Stock up on protective gear for the fall

Gernot Marx

Gernot Marx, President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine. Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters Pool/dpa

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Intensive care medicine in Germany has rarely been the focus of attention as it was during the Covid 19 pandemic. What does the president of the relevant specialist society say about the biggest current concerns and looking ahead to autumn?

In preparation for the Corona fall, a leading intensive care doctor has warned of several points: It is important to stockpile sufficient protective equipment, also because of the impending lockdowns in China, said Gernot Marx, President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI). With a view to the medical teams, clinics would have to set themselves up in such a way that they can call in support staff in the event of staff shortages.

“We also urgently need to expand telemedicine,” Marx told the German Press Agency before the day of intensive care medicine this Saturday. In this way, Covid-19 specialists could advise other clinics remotely, but the structures and processes could also be used for other diseases in general. The director of the Clinic for Operative Intensive Care Medicine and Intermediate Care at the University Hospital Aachen called on older and previously ill people to have a fourth Covid 19 vaccination. In addition, the flu vaccination will become important in autumn because influenza viruses could cause an additional burden after two very restrained seasons.

The number of Covid patients in intensive care units in Germany has been between 600 and 700 for a few weeks – according to Marx, the lowest level since the end of August 2021. “But the number is not as low as in the past two summers.” In the months of June to August, the number of those affected was around 250 in 2020 and between 300 and 500 in 2021.

It will take a few more weeks of patience until you have more clarity about the severity of the disease of the omicron subline BA.5, which is currently spreading in Germany. “We’ll have to wait and see how things develop with BA.5,” said Marx. At the moment, the “biggest concern” is that in the course of the summer wave with the more contagious variant, many staff could again be absent due to infections.

Marx described the number of beds in intensive care as quite constant in recent times. During the pandemic, however, numerous employees left the care industry or reduced working hours. “As a society, we are required to change the conditions so that people can work well and happily in care.” In Marx’s view, robotic assistants, for example, could help reduce the physical strain on the job in just a few years. In general, psychosocial support is also needed for all employees in the clinics, i.e. networks from helpers for helpers, in order not to lose any more employees.

Marx announced that the Divi intensive care register, in which the numbers of Covid 19 patients in intensive care units, capacities and the load on the wards are reported, will be continued. “It enabled us to make forecasts and to prepare for strategic relocations in the first place.” However, the automated data collection must be improved, a lot is still done manually. Regarding the frequently voiced criticism of the lack of distinction between patients who are being treated for Covid-19 and patients with additional corona findings, the Divi President said: “This question is of little relevance, at least for the control of the intensive care beds. The infection protection measures and thus the effort in the hospitals are the same for both types of patients. »

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