Stormont Vail stops adult patient transfers, non-essential surgeries as COVID-19 hospitalizations spike

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 4:41 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A spike in COVID-19 cases in Shawnee Co. has left Stormont Vail with new recommendations including no adult patient transfers, a pause on non-essential surgeries and a hold on team members who work at patient’s bedsides.

Stormont Vail Health says a surge of COVID-19 cases in the region has strained its capacity and ability of staff to care for adult patients positive with the virus and those with other medical conditions. To ensure it has the capacity to continue to provide timely care, on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21, it said the Incident Command team approved operational changes in alignment with recommendations and conditions of COVID-19.

Stormont Vail said the changes were made for the safety of patients and team members, who have been under a deal of stress and strain as they care for the community through the pandemic. New conditions are as follows:

  • No adult patient transfers will be accepted from healthcare facilities; however, the hospital will continue to accept all patients with traumas and pregnancy or childbirth. Pediatric and neonatal patent transfers will continue to be accepted as usual. The situation will be continually reassessed. The hospital will continue to triage, treat and accept patients through the Emergency Department.
  • No more transfers of any team member who works at the bedside. The goal is to keep clinical team members at the bedside to care for patients through the surge.
  • Steps to streamline the discharge process of hospitalized patients. Moving patients to the appropriate care settings will improve the ability to accept incoming patients.
  • No additional non-essential surgeries will be scheduled in the main operating room in the hospital. Non-essential surgeries will continue at Excellent Surgery Center and Stormont Vail Single Day Surgery. This will be reviewed on a daily basis to decide if current non-essential surgeries on the schedule need to be canceled. Surgeries for life-threatening or urgent conditions will continue to be provided.
  • Incident command will move daily meetings to join the 8:30 a.m. Command Center call when all system operations and staffing are reviewed.

While Stormont Vail said it is in a different position than it was a year ago, it is still in a place where healthcare institutions face serious staffing shortages. It said team members have been impacted by burnout, illness and family emergencies. Many no longer are willing to work in health care and this could be cause for concern for everyone.

The health network said its despair is compounded by the knowledge that much of the death, misery and illness is preventable. It said vaccines are safe, effective, free and widely available.

Stormont Vail said this is its plea - it urges the community to get fully vaccinated as well as booster doses.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 21, Stormont Vail said it had 58 new COVID-19 inpatients and the percentage of positive admissions who are unvaccinated is at 94%.

From Monday, the health network said there has been one death and seven discharges. It said there are 90 patients in its outpatient Enhanced Primary Care program.

Stormont Vail said the percentage of those testing positive for the virus at its facilities in the past week is at 18.8%. It said the percentage of patients in that time frame who have been vaccinated but are still falling ill is at 5.9% and the percentage of those that are unvaccinated is at 90%.

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