Fourteen ambulances were spotted at Red Deer’s hospital on Monday while Alberta Health Services juggled high volumes of seriously ill patients and patient transfers to other facilities.
A photo shared on Twitter captured the lineup of ambulances outside the hospital.
14 ambulances lined up at RDRHC this evening! How are our already overworked health care staff even managing?? @AHS_media what is happening?!?! The state of our health care is scary! #ableg #hospitalcrisis #emscrisis @rdnewsNOW pic.twitter.com/ltfyw5qvLY
— Sinead Armstrong (@ArmstrongSinead) April 26, 2022
Alberta Health Services said that the hospital has experienced a surge in demand in recent days due to many seriously ill patients, a rise in COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization, and staff absences.
Two inpatient units were also on COVID-19 outbreaks, one of which is closed to new admissions which further impacts the availability of beds.
“As the only regional referral site in the Central Zone, it is not unusual for ambulances from other areas to be seen at the hospital, either bringing a patient in for emergency care or to support an inter-facility transfer. This week we have had more ambulances on-site than usual at any one time due to the high volumes of seriously ill patients, and efforts to transfer patients back to other facilities,” said AHS in a statement.
Demand on the hospital affected patient movement within the facility, including through the emergency department.
On Tuesday the site activated overcapacity protocols to help address patient flow. Protocols include transferring existing inpatients who can safely have their care needs met elsewhere to rural sites, and discharging patients home or to community settings where it is safe to do so to create capacity for those in need of the specialized care Red Deer hospital provides, AHS said.
The site also postponed a small number of elective surgeries on Tuesday to accommodate the increase in emergency surgical cases.
AHS said staff continue to work diligently to get EMS crews back on the road as quickly as possible to avoid long wait times for crews.
“We know that working in times of overcapacity can be stressful and tiring for our staff and we are tremendously grateful for their unwavering dedication to patients during these times.”