IU Health calls on assistance from Indiana National Guard as COVID cases climb

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INDIANAPOLIS — IU Health is asking for assistance from Indiana’s National Guard as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing across the state.

Data from the Indiana Department of Health shows COVID-related hospitalizations increased more than 20% within the past week.

In a statement, IU Health says the request is for most of its hospitals, save for Riley Children’s Health.

The National Guard will assign teams of six: two clinical and four non-clinical service members. IU Health says the team will serve in two-week increments, while the National Guard says the term will initially be for one week with an evaluation to see if a second week is needed.

The non-clinical service members will offer administrative and logistical support to hospital staff, while the clinical members will focus on patient care.

According to IU Health, all members of the National Guard teams are fully vaccinated.

From IU Health:

As COVID cases continue to increase and hospitalization of COVID and non-COVID patients reach all-time highs, the demand and strain on Indiana University Health’s team members, nurses and providers has never been greater. To best support our team members and patients, IU Health will leverage all available resources and enlist members of Indiana’s National Guard, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Health, to assist in areas of critical need.

From Indiana National Guard:

Indiana National Guardsmen stand ready, as part of our dual role to state and nation, to help our fellow Americans and Hoosiers. In that spirit, when called upon, we assist hospital staffs with six-person teams.
The teams typically include two medics, who help with vital sign collection, assisting nurses with IVs and blood collections, and the additional four team members, who assist with non-patient care duties such as room cleaning, delivering food trays, paperwork and restocking supplies.

The jobs and tasks above are just some examples of what our Hospital Recovery Support Teams can do, but specifics vary according to need and demand. Additionally, teams are slated to help for one week, but could be extended if hospitals request the additional staffing through the Indiana Department of Health.

We’ve helped other hospitals in this capacity throughout state prior to this, since mid-September, but this is the first time we’ve assisted IU Health facilities.

The discrepancy between our statement above with one week, and IU Health’s with two weeks, is that after the first week the need is reevaluated.

In the Tri-State area, Deaconess Hospital in Evansville has also requested the help of the National Guard in treating COVID cases across the Tri-State. The National Guard has sent a six-person team to assist.

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