BHB: ‘Sustained Surge In Demand’ At Hospital

February 22, 2017

Bermuda is “currently experiencing higher levels of flu and respiratory illness” and this along with an “aging and increasingly chronically ill community, as well as difficulty discharging seniors due to the lack of community nursing home facilities, has caused a sustained surge in demand,” the Bermuda Hospitals Board said, adding that this is “leading to the hospital being over capacity.”

King Edward Memorial Hospital KEMH Acute Care Wing Emergency Department Bermuda, September 13 2014 (1)

‘Sustained Surge In Demand’ At Hospital

BHB said, “Bermuda is currently experiencing higher levels of flu and respiratory illness. This, along with an aging and increasingly chronically ill community, as well as difficulty discharging seniors due to the lack of community nursing home facilities, has caused a sustained surge in demand.

“This is being felt in the Emergency Department, and admissions have increased for Acute Care Wing and General Wing units, leading to the hospital being over capacity.

“In just three days [Saturday 18 to Monday 20 February], there were 279 Emergency Department visits. It took an average of 3.13 hours for Emergency patients to be seen, treated and discharged over this period.

“Thirty eight [38] Emergency patients were admitted to an inpatient ward just over this three day period. The maximum number of beds in the Acute Care Wing is 90. The wait to be admitted to an inpatient bed was 4.83 hours on Saturday, but on Sunday and Monday it took over 15 hours.

“Delays are occurring in Emergency as people wait to be assessed, because the department has been filled with admissions awaiting transfer to hospital ward beds.

“A Fast Track service is running in the Emergency Department to reduce waiting times for patients. Although the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre [UCC] remains closed for refurbishments until 1 March 2017, UCC staff are working in the Emergency Department to help cope with demand.

“To cope with demand for inpatient beds, wards in the General Wing are currently being used for acute admissions.

“Additional space is being sought within the hospital to cope with the high number of inpatients and some elective [ie non-emergency] surgeries may be postponed as available bed space is optimized, although outpatient surgery will continue as usual.

Chief of Emergency Dr Edward Schultz’s Comments

Chief of Emergency Dr Edward Schultz said, “Our hospital staff are working round the clock across departments to care for the current levels of unwell people in Bermuda.

“We ask for the community’s understanding and patience if they come to Emergency. We are doing all we can to ensure everyone can access the services they need. This is not about mis-use of Emergency services as individuals coming to us at the moment are very sick.

“However, people who can wait to see their GP should, and we are asking GPs to refer non-emergency cases who need access to specialists directly to the specialist – for example, surgical lancing of abscesses can go directly to a surgeon for an outpatient appointment.

“This will help us focus on the people who truly need Emergency services.”

Chief of Nursing Judy Richardson’s Comments

Chief of Nursing, Judy Richardson said, “Although the situation has eased slightly today, we apologise for the inconvenience caused by delays for patients being admitted to wards and for patients waiting to be assessed in the Emergency Department.

“As the Island’s only hospital we do whatever is needed to cope to ensure those who are sick or injured get the care they need. While delays are being experienced and people may not find themselves on the usual wards for acute care, I would like to reassure the community that they will be cared for.

“The surge is most significant in our senior population and the lack of community home beds is making it increasingly difficult to discharge people when they no longer need acute care services to free up capacity.

“This increase in inpatient numbers has to be staffed and support services increased to ensure safe clinical care, a clean environment and additional patient meals.

“I would like to thank all of our staff across the board who are working tirelessly and determinedly to keep services available for all those in need.”

Public Asked To Help During Time Of High Capacity

BHB said, “The public is asked to help hospital staff at this time of high capacity by using services appropriately and maintaining their health wherever possible:

  • If you have a close relative at KEMH who is ready to be discharged, please work with the hospital teams to get them home without delay.
  • If you have a minor illness or injury, book an appointment with your GP – you will avoid long waits. If you are in an Emergency situation, however, please do not hesitate in seeking care at the hospital.
  • If you know which specialist you need and it is not an Emergency, make an appointment directly with the specialist [if you need a referral, see your GP].
  • Manage any chronic conditions you might have – for example, make sure you take your hypertension or diabetes medication to avoid an emergency.
  • Look after yourself: eat healthily, exercise and wash your hands regularly to try and avoid infections and optimize your wellbeing.
  • Drive safely at all times – and don’t drink and drive! You can avoid an Emergency visit and an admission by not ending up in a road accident.

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Comments (24)

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  1. Terry says:

    Call me what you want but health care in Bermuda is ****

    • Acegurl says:

      It is everywhere. Whilst they may not be in the business of making money, they have to be in the business of controlling costs. Same as education. Welcome to the real world!

  2. sage says:

    Oh, let’s build another one then, along with all new schools, the airport…

  3. Davie Kerr says:

    I had to be hospitalised several times for various reasons during my 39 years in Bermuda, and I have nothing but praise for the medical staff who looked after me there. I do, however, agree with the comments that far too many people who use the facilities of the Emergency Dept don’t need to be there, but, if it’s any consolation, the situation in the UK is exactly the same.

  4. sage says:

    Why is there a 5 story high 50×50 foot void in the middle of the building and one patient rooms with 18ft ceilings?

    • Really says:

      Wow! The best question of the day! Let’s ask the PLP. Many wonder the same thing, it’s called a waste of bed space.

    • wahoo says:

      Think it was designed by Lahey…must have thought we were made of $.

    • property owner says:

      You are so correct over kill airport very similar

    • aceboy says:

      Good question. Here’s a couple more:

      Why are the emergency generators on the second floor…inside???

      Why is the Fracture Clinic as far away from the Xray machines in the new *wing* as they could possibly be?

      • sage says:

        Oh boy, let’s hope they plumbed the generator exhausts outside.

    • Earth watch police says:

      Who designed the hospital with huge rooms and high ceilings for one patient and a whole wasted block in the lobby and who owns Paget health?

  5. Janice says:

    We onions love to run up to emergency for everything and when someone we know is up there we all love to rush up there and fill the place because we don’t bother to visit them when they are are well

  6. Lightbulb says:

    We got ourselves a big block with a bigger hole in the middle of it!

  7. X says:

    What you don’t hear, is the number of patients who are being hugely inconvenienced by the hospital cancelling operations due to the bed crisis. This is getting ridiculous. There are patients who are up on the surgical wards who can be sent home; the families want them home, but there is a disconnect between the social workers and other allied health staff who have to give their assessments to allow discharge. Lots of wasted nights in hospital – same as the NHS.

    • James Rego says:

      @X There are patients who are up on the surgical wards who can be sent home; the families want them home.

      There are patients who are up on the surgical wards who can be sent home but their families dump them here, its called Granny Dumping.

  8. Common cent$ says:

    It’s obvious people head to ER to avoid copays at their GP. People go for everything to the ER, need another urgent care sattelite on the island to keep te flow better at the hospital.

    • John says:

      They need to charge a co pay for non urgent GP matters that turn up at the ER

  9. Patricia says:

    Hospital badly designed. Hugh waste of space. We could have had another 90 beds. But as usual no one will be disciplined for things such as this. They are asking the public not to go the ER if not necessary. For what I pay for insurance I will go to ER whenever I need to and without any hesitation.

  10. Truth is killin' me... says:

    The ones in charge don’t know what de heel they’re doing. That goes for the ones that built it in the first place!

    • John says:

      Then why don’t you apply for the job of being in charge if its that easy? You will still get the long term boarders that families will not take care of at home and the ER surge of GP patients. Better still send your problem solving ideas in rather than stating on here? How can it be changed? I’m sure we are all waiting to hear your answer. After you have solved Bermuda head to the U.K. To resolve the NHS crisis

  11. Catherine Dalziel says:

    The new hospital has less beds than the old hospital. Not difficult to predict that in busy season (every winter) it will get overcrowded to the point of total gridlock. Very poor planning.

    • sage says:

      I would love to hear our mass casualty contingency plan, if they actually have one.

  12. I Cant tell says:

    I wonder how the hospital is going to be operating when Americas cup is in progress….. I’ll wait

  13. oh dear says:

    If only the true construction plus interest (over the 29 years including the maintenance Contract)) were honestly provided – and a)WHY are there only 90 private wards b) WHO decided upon that and c) why was the Medic Tourism idea cancelled? Would the inclusion of the late meant more wards?