TRURO - Patient beds at the Colchester Regional Hospital are completely full.
And the "extremely" high demand for beds is resulting in delayed admissions to the hospital, the need to reschedule a number of surgeries and is backing up care in the emergency department.
"We strive to manage our beds and avoid unnecessary delays, however, when we see peaks in demand it becomes very difficult to achieve this," said Colchester East Hants Health Authority CEO Peter MacKinnon. "We want to recognize that our staff, physicians and community care partners are working extremely hard to respond to the needs of each patient, with the right kind of care in the right setting. We are very sorry for the concerns and anxiety this situation is causing."
Authority spokeswoman Krista Wood said while staff has seen a recent surge in the number of patients who need to be admitted for care, they haven't been able to pinpoint the high demand to any one thing such as an outbreak.
"The greatest challenge is that we cannot discharge many patients who need a transfer to another setting, because these beds they need are not available," she said. "This has a trickle-down effect, since little or no discharges from our inpatient units, prevents us from admitting new patients who are arriving through our ER or communities."
The hospital has a total of 102 inpatient beds, of which more than 35 are currently occupied by patients who are awaiting placement in nursing homes or transfers to other care settings.
In an attempt to free up some beds and allow for necessary admissions from the emergency department or communities, several elective, non-emergency surgeries have been postponed over the past number of days. Additional cancellations may be necessary in the coming days, however, staff is working to reschedule appointments within a few weeks.
While the goal is to admit patients as quickly as possible once their needs have been identified, without a bed to put them in patients may be forced to wait in the ER for an extended period.
To help reduce the pressure on the emergency department, the health authority is asking for the public's assistance by asking that anyone who is not requiring emergency care to seek other assistance.
Anyone seeking medical advice who is not requiring emergency care is asked to visit their family health care provider, call 811 to receive medical advice from a registered nurse, or visit the nearest walk-in clinic.
If you do require emergency assistance, call 911.