There’s more bed space at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre.
On Friday, Oct. 5, seven beds were reopened on a unit that was previously closed down, according to Central Health’s Chief Executive Officer Karen McGrath.
“This was the unit that was closed about 18 months ago because of lack of RN (registered nurse) resources, and we were leaving it closed because we would need some swing space because of the development of our new ORs (operating rooms), they are impacting some of our units in terms of some of our beds, so we were keeping it closed because of that.”
Five of the beds in that unit are still being used as swing space because there are rooms now on 2A that cannot be inhabited because of the OR renovation.
“We also are doing the redevelopment of the OR, and have to move certain units because of the OR redevelopment. We were keeping it vacant, so we opened seven beds on that unit to relieve the pressure in the ER (emergency room),” McGrath said.
Without enough RNs to staff a full unit, the seven individuals on the unit were moved there to receive alternate level of care, and the unit is now staffed by License Practical Nurses (LPNs) who are permitted to look after patients who are medically stable, she said.
“So it freed up seven beds throughout the hospital,” McGrath said.
So why now?
“We had 11 people in the ER,” McGrath said. “It gave us short-term reprieve, but we will…on a sporadic basis, always have over capacity issues in the ER.”
The long-term goal is to look at long-term care needs in this region, she said.
“We are expecting that we will have greater demand in our ER and our services because of our aging population here in central,” McGrath said. “The issue of bed capacity is a constant issue for us….People who are in hospital medically discharged, we need to move them to appropriate locations in the community, or in long-term care facilities, and we have to, by that issue and many others, improve the flow of people through the ER.”