Overcrowding forces 2 N.B. hospitals to reduce admissions for a week

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Admissions will be reduced at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre and Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent. (CBC - image credit)
Admissions will be reduced at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre and Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent. (CBC - image credit)

Overcrowding at two New Brunswick hospitals has forced Vitalité Health Network to reduce admissions to both places for one week.

The health network is taking measures to reduce overcrowding at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre and Stella-Maris-de-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, a settlement about 60 kilometres north of Moncton.

"Admissions will be strictly limited to cases absolutely requiring hospitalization and urgent surgeries only will be performed," Vitalité said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Thomas Lizotte, a spokesperson for Vitalité, said the overcrowding has been caused by a number of factors, including COVID-19 preventive measures, high occupancy rates, and the national shortage of doctors and nurses.

"This situation is also the result of many long-term care patients waiting for a place in a nursing home," he said.

Current hospitalized cases will be reviewed to determine whether certain patients can safely return home or be transferred elsewhere.

Re-evaluation in one week's time

Vitalité said the situation will be re-evaluated next week to determine whether the measures need to be extended.

Sharon Smyth-Okana, vice-president of clinical services, said the strict admission measures are necessary to reduce patient overflow that both hospitals are experiencing.

"All our teams on the ground have been mobilized to find solutions to the current challenges and ensure that our patients
receive safe and high-quality care," she said in a statement.

"We are also concerned about ensuring that our employees have a safe and healthy work environment."