Essentia explains bed space backups

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Now that the pandemic has moved into another phase, there’s something else making things stressful in healthcare… bed spaces.

Right now, there aren’t enough beds in some hospitals, because healthcare leaders say there aren’t enough beds for those who are leaving the hospital. Essentia-St. Mary’s says they are one of the facilities with a bottleneck issue.

For patients who cannot go home after a hospital visit, that usually means a stay at a car facility or nursing home. But leaders say there aren’t enough open beds at those secondary care facilities, so patients are staying longer in the hospitals. That means patients are backed up all the way to the Emergency Room.

Essentia’s Dr. Andrea Boehland says it’s a worse-working situation for healthcare professionals now, compared to peak COVID-19. She says the solution could be putting more value on nursing home staff.

“The problem is those jobs need to be made more attractive so that CNA’s, nurses, and other caregivers in nursing homes have a reason to want to keep doing those jobs,” explained Dr. Boehland. “Because we’ve lost more than 20% of them over the past couple of years. And that is limiting our system’s capacity. And I really do think we are failing our duty to take care of those patients.”

Dr. Boehland believes legislation could help with the wage issue. But says she is proud to be part of a team that is dealing with this every day.

Essentia does say it seems flu, COVID-19 and RSV cases are under control at the moment.