CORNER BROOK — As of Monday afternoon there were 17 patients at Western Memorial Regional Hospital staying in two overflow areas.
Cindy Davis, Western Health’s vice-president of patient services, said the organization apologizes to the patients and their families.
“While these environments are not ideal, the priority for us is to make sure that they are staffed with the highest level of professionals that we can — registered nurses and other support staff — so that we can continue to develop the quality of care in these locations,” she said.
Western Memorial continues to experience more admissions to acute care than there are patients being discharged from the hospital. Davis said it is an admission pattern of peaks and valleys that is experienced often at the hospital, but she did not directly answer as to why there is not an allocation of beds to cover the peak times rather than revert to opening overflow wards when the situation arises.
The fifth floor of the hospital, which was once used entirely as patient rooms, is now used for acute rehabilitation and alternative level of care. The sixth floor of the hospital is not being used.
“We are looking at all of our spaces at Western Memorial,” she said.
Davis said the physical environments of these overflow areas are not ideal, but she said the privacy and the quality of care patients receive are important. She said privacy curtains and a restriction on visitors at any one time are ways to help with that.
Davis said the issue is solely a shortage of beds, and not anything to do with the availability of staff. She added the situation is assessed on a regular basis to determine whether there is an alternative place for the patients.