Lawyer Aurora Prepares For COVID Staff Shortage
As of this morning, the Advocate Aurora system at 26 hospitals had 1,118 COVID patients, the first two being 162 at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and 137 at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee. The highest inpatient population in the system during the first wave of the virus was 863 on May 6.
The system has moved to bring in travel nurses who it hopes will be available in late November and December, possibly to deal with the effect of holiday super-broadcast events in the community, Mary said. Beth Kingston, System Head Nurse. Lawyer Aurora also offers employees incentives to increase their hours and uses students, recently retired nurses and volunteers to fill support roles, including COVID-19 testing, she said.
Also, to ensure he has bed capacity and available staff, Advocate Aurora is cutting back on elective surgeries and will likely call later this week to have those reduced by 50% in the whole system, Bahr said.
Gov. JB Pritzker is increasingly emphasizing the growing number of COVID-related hospitalizations, which at more than 5,200 are now above the spring level.
“We are going through some very difficult next few months,” Pritzker said in his daily COVID briefing today, adding that he feared what was to come. “We can expect much worse if mitigation efforts are not followed up.”
Cook County Health has halted elective surgeries that require inpatient stays to keep beds available and is shifting as many outpatient visits as possible to telehealth, Deborah Song, director of public affairs for the system, said in an email.
“Like other hospitals, our limits will be more related to the availability of staff (rather than to) beds,” she said. “Strict restrictions for visitors remain in place and we have more employees working from home.”
At the University of Medicine of Chicago, “the two most critical resources right now are intensive care capacity and operating room staffing levels, although both are currently sufficient to maintain services.” said Dr Jeffrey Matthews, chair of the department of surgery at UChcago Medicine, said in an emailed statement. “During the early stages of the pandemic, the University of Medicine of Chicago established what is now a widely accepted framework for ethically triage of medically necessary and urgent surgeries. We use this framework to make decisions about non-essential surgery, although we have not yet had to cancel or postpone cases at all levels during the current wave. “
Rush University Medical Center has yet to stop elective surgeries or have to change staffing procedures.
“In the first wave we shut down everything else; it’s just not a reality this time around. We don’t have to do this,” said Dr Paul Casey, Rush’s chief medical officer. The hospital is expanding its emergency department operations in the lobby of the Brennan Pavilion to cope with the increase in emergency room visits, he said.
NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Glenbrook Hospital recently reverted to being the COVID-19 system dedicated hospital for inpatients. The system has also started to postpone certain elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis.
Greg Hinz contributed.