New Hampshire hospitals near, over capacity as flu, COVID-19 cases rise – WMUR Manchester

Some patients waiting in beds to be moved to other facilities
Some patients waiting in beds to be moved to other facilities
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Some patients waiting in beds to be moved to other facilities
Hospitals in New Hampshire are more than 95% full as flu cases rise along with COVID-19 hospitalizations.

With holiday gatherings days away, hospital officials said the stress on the health care system is a big concern.
Elliot Hospital has hit 105% capacity at times in the past few weeks.
“The Elliot serves as a regional referral center for many patients, so we’re laboring to make sure we can say, ‘Yes,’ when our colleague calls us from another location to say, ‘Can we access those services?'” said Dr. Greg Baxter, president of Elliot Health System.
Hospital officials said the capacity issues are worse than they have been in recent memory.
“This is probably some of the most significant demand for health care that we’ve seen that many of our caregivers say they’ve seen over their entire careers,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.
Many beds are being used by patients who are waiting to move to facilities with their own staffing issues. Elliot Hospital pays a lot to keep all its beds open.
“We do have a fair number of traveling nurses, somewhere in the 90 range, which is a high watermark for us,” Baxter said.
Burnout has left more nurses leaving than entering the field.
“You used to go, and you worked with this work family, and you loved what you did,” said Pamela Dinapoli, of the New Hampshire Nurses Association. “And now it’s kind of just trade work for money. So, I think people really start to think about, ‘Is this what I really want?'”
Addressing those issues won’t be a short-term task.
“We are there to support. We’re there to help,” Baxter said. “We’ve got lots of great, well-intentioned staff who are ready to help you, but we need some help from you. Make sure you use us when you have to. And if you can avoid using us because you don’t get sick from something, that will be helpful, as well.”
Ahnen said New Hampshire’s hospitals need additional support from Congress to ensure patients can get the care they need when they need it.
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