Alberta Health Services says the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been experiencing “capacity challenges” this week.
The facility was put into overcapacity Level 1 on Monday and climbed to Level 2 on Tuesday, where it currently sits. (Four is the highest overcapacity level.)
“Efforts to address capacity concerns may include patient transfers, which means sending a patient who is medically stable but still requires further care to another health care facility that would appropriately meet the patient’s care needs. This is only done if it is safe and appropriate to move a patient,” AHS said in a statement Wednesday.
The majority of patient transfers are done through EMS (inter-facility transfer), with some transfers occurring through non-ambulance transfers (NAT) in specialized vehicles.
In situations when the hospital is over capacity, AHS has a series of protocols that are used across the province to help alleviate pressures in a hospital while ensuring that all patients who require care receive it, the AHS statement said.
“These overcapacity protocols (OCP) are enacted relatively regularly, and ensure we are able to continue to meet patient needs, even when our hospitals are busy.”
Heather Kipling, AHS Central Zone communications director, said it’s not rare for bigger health care facilities to reach overcapacity.
“It does present some challenges for sure, but it’s not unusual to be seen at our busy hospitals, especially when we look at Red Deer Regional and all the specialized services it offers. It really is a referral facility in the Central Zone, so it does see a high number of patients,” said Kipling.
“We have facilities in Calgary and Edmonton that experience (overcapacity). It can occur for so many different reasons – it could even occur at smaller, acute care sites as well.”
Kipling said it’s difficult to predict when the overcapacity level would go down.