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Stormont Vail finds fixes as short staffing, COVID-19 affect hospital beds

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Stormont Vail is finding fixes as short staffing and a spike in COVID-19 cases affect available hospital beds.

Stormont Vail Health says Incident Command, the group which leads the health network’s COVID-19 response, approved an action on Friday that would address critical staffing needs in hospitals and clinics.

The health network said staffing shortages, in part, have caused it to experience difficulty accepting patients that wish to transfer to Stormont Vail Hospital, challenges in timely admission of patients through the ER due to lack of inpatient beds and staffing levels have impacted clinics and the behavioral health hospital.

During the staffing crunch, Stormont Vail said it also has seen an increase in COVID-19 patients in clinics and hospitals, along with its regular flow of patients looking for timely medical, surgical and behavioral health services.

Stormont Vail said Incident Command approved critical staffing incentives for single shifts in the hospital, which will be offered through Oct. 30 for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Patient Care Technicians and Phlebotomists. It said Advance Practice Providers can also sign up for RN shifts. It said APPs, RNs and LPNs are required to take a full patient load in the acute care environment. Hourly flat rate incentives will vary according to the role and will be for additional shifts from 4 - 12 hours. It made clear that the incentives are for hours worked beyond regular shifts and current critical staffing contracts an employee may be fulfilling. Those interested in more about single shift incentives should talk to their manager or director.

The health network said RNs in non-nursing roles are also stepping up to help with patient care shifts in the hospital. It said charge nurses have also taken patient assignments on a regular basis and nurse managers help with patient care.

Stormont Vail said patient care teams are prioritizing inpatient discharges with a renewed coordination effort for earlier provider rounding and discharge planning as specialists and hospitalists provide consults while patients are in the ER to coordinate outpatient management. . This will help move hospitalized patients to their next destination and make space for others that need to be hospitalized.

The health network also said surgical interventions are being reviewed by the surgical division to address the acute care surge.

As of Friday, Sept. 17, Stormont Vail said it had 52 COVID-19 positive inpatients and 69% of them were unvaccinated. From the previous day, it said one person died due to the virus and 15 were discharged. In its outpatient Enhanced Primary Care program, it said it has 66 positive patients.

Stormont Vail said the percentage of patients testing positive for the virus in the past seven days is 12.2% and the percentage of cases who are unvaccinated is 78%.

The health network said it has administered over 88,800 COVID-19 vaccines, including first and second doses.

For more information about Stormont Vail Health and COVID-19, click HERE.

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