COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — With the latest surge in COVID-19 circumstances, Colorado Springs hospitals are stretched skinny.
KRDO toured Centura’s Penrose Hospital early Tuesday morning to get an concept of what they’re coping with amid these rising case numbers. As of Tuesday morning, Penrose Hospital had round 420 in-patients. 375 of them are adults. Roughly 75 of them are COVID-positive — and of these, 85-90% are unvaccinated.
The rise in case numbers is inflicting a pressure on the hospital system, together with the next potential points.
They’ve cancelled or postponed elective surgical procedures to unlock hospital capability
The CEO of Penrose-St. Francis Well being Companies, Dr. Brian Erling, informed KRDO that they do not have the capability to proceed many elective surgical procedures proper now. They’ve needed to pause these procedures to have the ability to look after sufferers with fast medical wants. Simply because procedures could be labeled as elective, it does not imply they are not critical.
“In case you’re the backbone affected person that should have backbone surgical procedure to cease your opioid use and get you again to work, that is critical. Now, Can it wait a few weeks? That is a dialog between the affected person and the physician,” Dr. Erling stated.
Labor scarcity is burning out current healthcare staff
The sheer quantity of stress positioned on healthcare staff amid the pandemic has compelled a lot of their workforce to both go away healthcare and pursue one other area or retire early.
“One other challenge that has compounded our scarcity is that children needed to keep residence from college. So a lot of our working mothers and dads stayed residence to homeschool, in order that added one other layer,” stated Penrose’s Chief Nursing Officer Rose Ann Scibona.
Scibona, who’s labored in nursing at Penrose for roughly 40 years, stated the scarcity is making the competitors for skilled nurses particularly aggressive, that means it is tougher to rent and retain proficient nurses. They’ve had to herald healthcare employees from everywhere in the nation, and so they’re now even taking a look at bringing in nursing employees from different international locations.
Centura has tried to incentivize their employees to take further shifts, they’ve even raised wages throughout the board to grow to be extra aggressive — however they’re nonetheless going through staffing shortages.
Governor Jared Polis’ new mandate requiring healthcare staff to get the vaccine might pressure unit closures
Roughly 700 of their healthcare staff in Centura’s Colorado Springs hospitals haven’t submitted proof of vaccination to their employer. With the procedural steps in place transferring ahead, Dr. Erling stated they’ve till November 1st, 2021 to submit that proof, or obtain approval of their medical or non secular exemption, or they are going to be compelled to resign per the state mandate. Roughly a 3rd of these staff have submitted exemptions, however they must obtain approval.
Dr. Erling stated they need to work with employees as a lot as attainable to keep away from dropping any of their staff, particularly amid the labor scarcity. That being stated, they must observe state guidelines. Dropping a whole bunch of their employees might pressure them to shut models of their hospitals. It might additionally pressure longer wait instances of their hospitals. Even final week, their ER wait instances prolonged as much as 18 hours in some circumstances. Dropping much more employees might exacerbate the issue. It might additionally additional restrict their means to carry out in-patient procedures.
He is aware of he feels like a damaged file, however Penrose’s CEO is urging everybody to get the vaccine
Dr. Erling stated that if everybody on this area had the vaccine, it will be a game-changer for our hospitals.
“It is a illness that actually does have an effect on all people,” Dr. Erling stated. “Simply being younger [and] wholesome isn’t sufficient. Now we have a number of, a number of examples of people who find themselves wholesome, who’re younger, who’re unvaccinated, who get the illness and move away. And that is, that is only a tragedy. That is avoidable.”
Latest booster shot approval prompted new vaccine clinics for healthcare staff
Final week’s FDA and CDC approval of the Pfizer booster shot for high-risk people paved the best way for Penrose to open a clinic beginning on Tuesday to permit their healthcare staff to obtain a 3rd dose of the vaccine. Dr. Erling acquired his booster shot whereas KRDO toured Penrose on Tuesday.
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