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Bed shortage blamed on problems discharging patients

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A shortage of hospital bed space has been blamed on delays in discharging patients.

The issue was highlighted by a resident after a family member was injured on July 3, but remained in the Emergency Room because no beds were free.

The resident said the hospital admitted there were seven patients waiting in the ER for beds on wards.

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Hospitals Board apologised for "any patient waiting a long time for an admission from Emergency to an inpatient acute care ward“.

She added: “We recognise it is frustrating.

“King Edward VII Memorial Hospital frequently operates at a high level of capacity, and this means if we have delays in discharging or transferring patients from acute care inpatient units, people waiting to be admitted experience delays.”

The hospital’s most pressing reason for delays was said to be the inability to send home patients who were well enough to leave because of “a lack of nursing home placements, or a family not taking someone home when they are ready”.

The Royal Gazette reported in April that 54 elective surgeries had to be called off in the past year because of shortages of beds.

The spokeswoman, who responded on Thursday to the complaint, added: “Less frequently when there are transfers to other areas of the hospital, patients have to wait for Covid-19 test results before being transferred.

“This is to protect other vulnerable patients in areas such as long term care. Once we have discharged or transferred patients, we then undertake a very thorough clean of the room before the next patient is admitted.”

The spokeswoman said the hospital was not at “a higher capacity than usual” that weekend.

But she said KEMH’s capacity had been impacted by “the types of delays outlined above”.

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Published July 12, 2021 at 8:09 am (Updated July 12, 2021 at 8:09 am)

Bed shortage blamed on problems discharging patients

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