Harbor Regional Health inundated; ask for patience with wait times

Harbor Regional Health says that they are facing challenges out of their control, and are asking the public for some patience and understanding.

They issued a notice to the community saying that they have heard the comments regarding the challenges facing patients and visitors in the Emergency Department, Medical/Surgical, and Critical Care Units. 

To put the challenges into context, they said that as of Monday morning they had 15 boarders in the Emergency Department.  

These boarders are people who can not be legally discharged even if they no longer require emergency care. 

A variety of obstacles face those patients, including needing admission to the consistently full 3rd-floor units, behavioral health holds, transfer to a different facility like skilled nursing or a larger hospital along the I-5 corridor (most of whom are rarely taking transfers as they are also full), and social service placement holds.

They say these full beds severely limit the number of people who can be treated in the back ED rooms and leads to long waits. This has meant that a few people may even receive some care in the lobby when it makes sense for their condition.

This announcement comes days after a notice that the hospital is seeing record numbers of flu and RSV in the community, in the Emergency Department, and now with admitted patients, all while COVID-19 remains persistent in the community. 

12 people were admitted to the hospital for Flu as of late last week, with a steady rate of 4 COVID patients. All patients with those types of highly infectious respiratory illnesses are kept in isolation. 

If a patient is in isolation, they can not have visitors except in very specific circumstances, such as end-of-life care. 

“While this can be stressful, especially when we care for people who are unwell, isolation in these situations is vital to keeping our staff, the families of those patients, and the community at-large safe.”

Officials say that this situation is not isolated to HRH Community Hospital, and they report that facilities across the state are struggling to keep up with current volumes, which means getting placement in another facility is going to be extremely challenging. They add that Pediatric/Children’s hospitals are almost completely full.

If you are not experiencing an emergency please utilize primary care 

“This situation is extremely hard for everyone involved. Our courageous, dedicated, and caring staff are doing their best. Please remember that everyone here is human. Humans who are offering their time and expertise to care for our patients. Kindness, empathy, and compassion are what we need from everyone (staff, patients, and visitors) to get through these most challenging of times. If you are reading this, please choose kindness.”

Medical professionals say that most cases of Flu can be treated at home.

This article gives some useful information to treat flu symptoms at home: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/coping-with-flu