Tuesday afternoon Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre hit Level 3 Overcapacity Protocol (OCP) for the first time which resulted in eight patients being moved to other facilities. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Tuesday afternoon Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre hit Level 3 Overcapacity Protocol (OCP) for the first time which resulted in eight patients being moved to other facilities. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Nurses saw hospital overcrowding crunch coming for Red Deer

Overcapacity challenges get worse

It’s no suprise that Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre continues to suffer from over capacity, says a spokesman for Albera’s nurses.

The hospital reached a Level 3 overcapacity protocol for the first time Tuesday, which resulted in eight patients being moved to other facilities. That’s one measure less than the highest level.

David Harrigan, labour relations manager for the United Nurses of Alberta, said the union knew conditions would worsen.

“We’ve been saying for three years there’s a crisis, and AHS has simply ignored it,” Harrigan said Friday.

In June, the union filed a staffing shortage grievance centred on the hospital’s emergency department.

He said every day there are up to 10 or more nurses on overtime or working additional shifts.

“It’s not hard to fix. If you have enough nurses, then you can deal with more patients. If you intentionally understaff, of course you’re going to hit a crisis.”

Harrigan said there are probably not enough beds, but it’s made worse by the fact there’s not enough staff.

“If you have enough staff, you’re able to see more patients. It’s as simple as that.”

Arbitration between the nurses and Alberta Health Services is scheduled in January.

“We’re hopeful after January, they’ll be ordered to hire more, and finally, people can start feeling a bit safer,” Harrigan said.

Red Deer is consistently one of the five busiest hospitals in Alberta. A 2015 AHS report showed it was 96 beds short.

On Tuesday, the eight patients were moved to Lacombe and others to the Villa Marie seniors facility in Red Deer.

Allan Sinclair, senior operating officer with AHS’s central zone, said at no time was the hospital turning people away or not able to provide specialty care.

“We are the go-to place for higher order diagnostics or specialty services and specialty consults. We need to make sure we’re putting in these (overcapacity) protocols so we we can still take these patients. This is the function of the Red Deer site,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair said the hospital is frequently at a Level 1 overcapacity protocol and that it’s hard to predict what may happen in the future.

“I think we’re going to be experiencing some additional challenges this winter through the cold and flu season, which hasn’t really started yet,” Sinclair said.

“Sometimes, you just get a few bad days in a row where there’s some additional sick patients that are there. On Tuesday, we had a real influx of extremely challenging cases. It was just a busy day.”

He said the hospital will continue to deal with overcapacity by identifying patients who can be moved to other sites.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Head coach Jason Chatwood, left, sports one of the Sylvan Lake Gulls’ first on-field hats next to Aqil Samuel, general manager and president of baseball operations, earlier this year.
Sylvan Lake Gulls ticket sales off to flying start

With the inaugural season quickly closing in, the Sylvan Lake Gulls hit… Continue reading

Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s chief medical health officer publicly criticizes staffer who leaked info

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, dealing with rocketing COVID-19… Continue reading

The RCMP major crimes unit is investigating after a person was found dead at a residence on Stewart Street in Red Deer’s Sunnybrook neighbourhood Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer RCMP investigating suspicious death in Sunnybrook

A ‘deceased adult’ was found by officers

A detail from Canyon Light, an oil painting by Joan Clement, in the Scale exhibit by members of the Red Deer Art Club. It’s showing at the Viewpoint Gallery in the city’s Culture Services Centre. (Contributed image).
Outdoor art gallery and scavenger hunt is on in Red Deer next month

But First Friday receptions and patio concerts are postponed

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Mahomes vs. Brady spices up Thanksgiving holiday week

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Cowboys miss chance for NFC East lead with another home loss

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Arsenal, Leicester, Hoffenheim advance in Europa League

Keegan Messing performs during the Men's Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won't be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships – if they happen

Canada might not compete at world figure skating championships - if they happen

A piece of hockey history is up for sale, with a rare Vancouver Millionaires sweater, seen in an undated handout photo, hitting the auction block. The cream and maroon wool cardigan is believed to have belonged to Hall of Fame goalie Hugh Lehman, who backstopped the Millionaires to a Pacific Coast Hockey Association championship in 1922-23. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Lelands Auction, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Hockey history up for sale as 97-year-old Vancouver Millionaires sweater hits auction

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Canada’s Nembhard scores 11 points off the bench in Gonzaga debut

Mighty Heart is breezed by exercise rider Des McMahon, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Woodbine Entertainment says it has officially cancelled the rest of its thoroughbred racing season following discussions with the Ontario government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

Woodbine Racetrack ends horse racing season after talks with provincial government

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

As Alberta’s COVID-19 cases rise, so does tension over world junior championship

Most Read