A program to divert new ICU patients from Red Deer’s hospital was lifted at noon on Sunday, says Alberta Health Services.
Last week, the intensive care unit at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre was temporarily put on diversion for several hours on November 16, and again between November 18 to 20.
The diversion was announced when the hospital’s 20 ICU beds were full, and 86 per cent of ICU beds across the province were in use.
“However, no patients had to be diverted from RDRHC, and the temporary diversion was lifted at noon yesterday,” said AHS in a statement on Monday.
AHS said urban hospitals across the globe are experiencing increased demand with increased respiratory illness and more patients with more severe illness.
“Patients are presenting with high acuity needs and the facility is facing staffing challenges. In addition to increased emergency department volumes, capacity across the RDRHC has also seen an increase.”
AHS said when there are challenges with available bed spaces, the site uses a range of measures to help manage the demand on inpatient beds, similar to those used in other hospitals across the province at peak times. These include discharging patients as soon as possible with appropriate home supports, managing surgery patients waiting at home instead of in hospital as appropriate, and balancing admissions with other sites in the zone.
“Due to capacity challenges, patients may be transferred to other spaces in the zone when they no longer require the specialty services of RDRHC, and alternative level of care patients are prioritized to be transferred to appropriate continuing care settings.”
Earlier this year, 149 emergency general surgery patients in Red Deer were diverted between April 29 and July 4 to other hospitals due to a shortage of clinical assistants for general surgery, and other factors. During that diversion, 332 general surgeries (both urgent and scheduled) were completed in Red Deer.