Guam Memorial Hospital wins two Healthcare Asia 2021 awards

GMH’s incredible staff and COVID-19 response initiatives have demonstrated remarkable achievement in size, scope, and heroism.

Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) has been Guam’s trusted public hospital for over 50 years. In March 2020, as the world began grappling with the COVID-19 virus, so too did the Island territory; no one was safe from the pandemic. The Governor of Guam declared a Public Health Emergency, plunging GMH into the forefront of the fight against the so-called “invisible enemy.”

GMH was designated the Island’s COVID hospital, taking on all Persons Under Investigation (PUIs), COVID-positives and everything related to the virus. 

Not armed with much clinical data, experience, or specialized guidance on the management of COVID patients, GMH staff showed up heroically for the battle call. Undoubtedly, there were anxieties, concerns, questions, and uncertainties among staff but despite it all, GMH’s employees, from medical to operations, and from maintenance to finance, all stood up to the challenge. Their commitment to caring for Guam’s community was unfaltering. 

COVID truly challenged and pushed GMH staff in every way, however in that difficulty, the best of the hospital’s community arose. As a prime example, hospital staff began offering themselves as "proxy" family support for patients in-house, because visitation restrictions meant family members were not allowed to visit or be in the hospital. That’s true care and compassion!

Among GMH’s other most notable achievements during the pandemic: 

  • Implementing 40 protocols for the clinical and operational management of COVID-19;
  • Establishing a state-of-the-art Telehealth/Telemedicine and Physical Rounder 2 Program to sustain life-saving intensive and critical patient care services;
  • Creating a "War Room" Committee dedicated to the individual clinical management of COVID-19 patients; 
  • Creating a daily briefing document and daily COVID-huddles to ensure streamlined communication amongst all branches of the hospital;
  • And, establishing electronic daily wellness checks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 amongst GMHA staff and keep up with crucial staffing levels.

All the while, regular operations, and services that GMH is entrusted to deliver needed to continue. A major one is Maternal Child Health (MCH), including Labour and Delivery (L&D) of COVID and non-COVID pregnant patients, OB Nursery/Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU).  

This tremendous effort, together with other major achievements in response to the pandemic, has garnered Guam Memorial Hospital the two prestigious awards of Hospital of the Year and COVID Management Initiative of the Year at the Healthcare Asia Awards 2021.

Guam Memorial Hospital also encompasses the Skilled Nursing Facility, which is a long-term care operation. As part of the Island’s COVID response, GMH staff worked to convert the building into a COVID Isolation Facility (CIF) to hold virus-patients who no longer needed acute hospital care but were not ready for complete discharge. This helped free up much-needed acute care beds at GMH. 

Beyond their own walls, GMH also supported other Island front-liners in the fight against COVID. The hospital’s team trained Government-quarantine facility staff on proper infection control protocols. GMH employees also initiated N95 Fit Testing and Certification Training amongst several Government of Guam agencies and when the vaccines were ready, GMH was among the main sites for front-liners and Island residents to get their vaccinations. 

The risks that GMH staff took on were unparalleled. Without question, teams prepared to treat and care for COVID and non-COVID patients. Led by little data in the flurry of the deadly virus, the hospital’s operation was turned upside down and still, staff, both clinical and non-clinical, demonstrated their unwavering cooperation and willingness to provide the needed care and treatment for the Island’s community.  

For all these reasons, Guam Memorial Hospital stands out and has deservingly won the Healthcare Asia 2021 prestigious awards. It is among only 39 other winners across the Asia-Pacific region.

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