HomeUSACampbellford Memorial Hospital experiencing 'unprecedented patient volume' - PeterboroughOUS News

Campbellford Memorial Hospital experiencing ‘unprecedented patient volume’ – PeterboroughOUS News

Hospitals across Ontario are facing huge influx of patients and severe staff shortages.

Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH), a small rural hospital southeast of Peterborough, is seeing its capacity pushed to its limits.

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The hospital reports that more than 50 people a day are visiting the emergency department (ED) over the past few months, up from 70 a day over the long weekend of May.

This represents a more than 25 percent increase in ED visits to the hospital.

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“Increased ED visits on holiday weekends are nothing new, nor are busy days here and there, especially in the summer,” remarked Dr. Isha Elia, the head of the emergency department and the acting chief of staff. How busy it’s been almost every single day over the past few months.”

“We certainly don’t want to discourage people from coming to the ED when they need it, but we do encourage those who have alternative options, such as their family health practitioner, for non-urgent issues first. Consider it.”

At one point last week, CMH’s 34-bed inpatient unit was operating at 141 percent capacity with 48 patients.

“We have had to remodel areas of the hospital to accommodate the increased patient volume,” said Nicole Wood, vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer.

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CMH had to temporarily convert its day surgery unit into a patient room and develop plans to remodel other clinical areas as needed.

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While some hospitals have had to close their EDs, CMH has so far only had to do so once – on December 24, the ED closed overnight due to a lack of nursing.

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“We are certainly not safe from the staff crunch we are seeing across the province, and at times we struggle to fill the shifts. But we are doing everything we can to make sure ED doesn’t close,” said Eric Hanna, the hospital’s interim president and CEO.

However, if closure becomes necessary, the hospital is ready. Contingency plans will include turning off blue H-lit signs, covering other signage and alerting residents through social media channels and news media.

“We have plans for where closure is needed as well as great local partners at both EMS and neighboring hospitals to ensure that the impact on patient care is minimal,” Hannah said.

Hanna notes that losing one or two health care workers in any given shift can put off.

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The hospital is still awaiting approval of a capital planning grant to redevelop it into a ‘campus of care’ model, which will include long-term care beds, to replace the old hospital built in the 50s.

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“We know what we want to do,” Hannah said, “we just need the government to approve it.”

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