MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -- The lasting impact of a COVID-19 outbreak in Washington State, where the Joint Base Lewis-McChord community resides, cannot be predicted. It's a fast evolving and dynamic public health crisis. Madigan Army Medical Center in working closely with 1st Corps, Army Public Health, and local public health authorities to take steps now to prepare for such an outbreak and protect both their patients, staff and the entire JBLM community.
Patient education, communication with staff, and synchronization with leadership across JBLM to raise awareness of preventive steps we can all take to stop the spread of COVID-19 is Madigan's focus to protect Active Duty Service Members, their families, Retirees and all military beneficiaries.
In order to raise this awareness, Madigan is using multimedia and its large social media presence to share potentially life-saving information with its patients, many of whom are retirees, which would likely contain one of the at-risk groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The Madigan Prevention Minute: COVID-19" is a series of short videos hosted by Madigan Commander Col. Thomas Bundt and filmed on location at Madigan Army Medical Center. In each episode, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Paul Faestel, the acting director of Madigan's Preventive Medicine Department is asked about specific preventive measures the CDC, the leading national public health institute of the United States, and the Washington State Department of Health recommend to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Preventive measures and topics such as hand-washing, protecting at-risk groups, the use of facemasks, testing for COVID-19, and "social distancing" each have a dedicated episode. These will premiere on Madigan's Facebook page and other social media platforms, which have a combined following of over 25,000 people.
Since COVID-19 can be spread from person-to-person, either through close physical contact or through contact with "respiratory droplets" that can be produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, properly raising awareness of new concepts like "social distancing" with multimedia content is vital in helping stop the spread of COVID-19. Included in the videos are examples of preventive measures such as keeping a six foot distance and substituting handshakes for healthier forms of greeting.
"Getting the information in a visually cutting-edge presentation can really make the message resonate more with our patients," said Ryan Graham, primary videographer with Madigan's Visual Information Services.
Graham has tackled the filming and post-production process on many of Madigan's popular video series like "My Madigan Story", "Madigan Works!", and many others.
"Getting the right shots, and getting the information to the viewer creatively is really important," Graham said.
Emergency response, preparedness, readiness, and being equipped for even a worst case scenario is Madigan's integral role in not only ensuring a medically ready force, but also protecting and providing support during a crisis to JBLM and surrounding local community.
This potential health threat is not the first time Madigan has played a key role in an emergency that spans outside the gates of JBLM.
On December 18, 2017, when Amtrak Cascades passenger train 501 derailed near DuPont, Wash., Madigan staff, commuting to and from work, were among the first on the scene to begin saving lives. Madigan's emergency room accepted and began treating the first of 19 patients from the derailment. Madigan's staff is trained specifically for these types of scenarios.
On March 9, 2020, at the Nelson Recreation Center on JBLM, Madigan's Emergency Operations Management team held a base-wide table top exercise and forum addressing readiness, preparedness and prevention concerns regarding COVID-19. Attending the event alongside Madigan's leadership and key staff members were JBLM's top leadership, to include the 1st Corps commander and staff, base leadership, and key community partners.
John Holwege, a Madigan emergency management specialist, elaborated on Madigan's emergency operations plans projected onto a large screen at the venue. Throughout, participants addressed concerns, identified areas of mutual support, and asked questions ensuring that, from the top-down, all leadership is working in tandem, and communicating properly, consistently, and transparently regarding COVID-19. The purpose of the event was to think through the actions required in the event of a real-time pandemic response to COVID-19 on base.
Madigan has also created a dedicated COVID-19 webpage with current information, multimedia content, and frequently asked questions here: https://www.mamc.health.mil/patients/COVID-19.aspx
If you have symptoms and have been exposed, the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you get the assistance you need. Call 1-800- TRICARE (874-2273), Option 1 to speak with a registered nurse from the comfort of your home with your health concerns.
Before arriving for treatment at any healthcare provider or medical facility, call your healthcare professional beforehand if you have symptoms, or have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. This will ensure the appropriate precautions can be taken to protect other patients, staff, and the community.
Whenever there is a public health crisis, disinformation and myths can be dangerous. Please verify any information regarding COVID-19 at the CDC's website at https://www.cdc.gov to ensure it's accurate. Help keep your community healthy by only sharing accurate information. Care with compassion.