An influx of patients with the flu is putting pressure on medical staff. Hospital systems in many parts of Oregon are currently operating at full capacity.
Within the Oregon Network of hospitals in Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove and Florence, medical staff have treated about 570 cases of influenza so far. At PeaceHealth RiverBend, the emergency department has seen a jump from 150 to over 200 patients a day.
Medicare requires hospitals to have an action plan that allows for patient surges. Back in October, hospitals in Eugene and Springfield began planning to manage more patients in anticipation of the flu season.
Robert Blake is a registered nurse and Chief Operating Officer for Sacred Heart Medical Center. He says hospitalists and care management staff in emergency rooms are treating and/or discharging patients at a quick clip.
“So while we may on occasion place a patient in the emergency department in a hall way in a bed with staff associated with the care, we are able to move them out of the emergency department into a bed because we’re discharging an appropriate number of people every single day.”
Blake warns when flu symptoms become unmanageable, people should not hesitate to seek medical attention. He says emergency rooms and urgent care clinics are open and ready to provide supportive care.