ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Local emergency departments are struggling and it’s not directly because of COVID, but instead the aftermath of the pandemic.
However, hospital leaders from the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health both said, while their emergency departments are being strained right now, it’s not the worst it has been.
During the pandemic, hospital systems took in nursing home residents due to their own systems being overwhelmed. Over two years into the pandemic, a lot of those residents are still in hospital systems with nowhere to go, taking up space the hospital needs to function normally.
URMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Apostolakos said Strong Memorial hospital is “extremely busy” right now.
“Our emergency room is doing a great job of caring for patients. But at any given time, this morning, for example, we had more than 70 patients who are admitted, being seen by providers to admit to the hospital, but we’re waiting for a bed in the hospital and people can wait for hours down there,” Dr. Apostolakos said.
Due to the overflow of nursing home residents, Strong Memorial Hospital’s emergency department has nowhere to put their own patients, leading to backup in the emergency room.
“By having so many patients in our emergency room, it makes it more difficult to care for the patients coming in,” Dr. Apostolakos said.
However, Dr. Apostolakos said nursing home residents in hospitals aren’t the only thing tying up resources. With over 100 Covid patients still in Strong’s care, along with the national and local staffing shortage, the repercussions of the pandemic are still very much present.
On the other side of things, the Chair of Emergency Medicine for Rochester Regional Health, Dr. Keith Grands said they are experiencing these same issues but said they are issues they have been facing for years.
“It is definitely challenging. We have quite a few patients that are waiting for hospital beds that had been admitted and waiting to get a bed from the hospital standpoint, which caused challenges for our team, and the challenge of taking care of that next incoming emergency department patient. But unfortunately, that’s a phenomenon that we’re seeing throughout the city,” Dr. Grands said.
Both hospital systems are encouraging community members with high acuity medical issues to come into their emergency departments, stating they will find a spot for you no matter how creative they need to get.
However, if you’re medical need is something that can be taken care of through your primary care physician or an urgent care facility, they ask you to take that route instead.