Changes at Soldiers Memorial Hospital fuel concerns

Heather Killen
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Bed closures due to staff shortages, according to AVH

Soldiers' Memorial Hospital

Changes in the number of medical beds at Soldiers Memorial Hospital has raised concern for its Emergency department, but officials say there are no plans to reduce the department.

Alarms were raised in anonymous letter to the editor of The Annapolis County Spectator after a number of medical beds were reduced in Middleton.

“Did you know that medical beds were recently closed at SMH… This may seriously impact the role of the Emergency Department as there would be no beds for patients needing admission,” according to the letter.

Lesley Mulcahy, communications for AVH, says that while five beds have temporarily closed here as a result of a staff shortage, these measures are not meant to downsize the Emergency Department at SMH.

“It’s a busy emergency department for a community hospital,” she said. “There are no plans underway to change the ED. In fact, staff has been added due to the volume.”

A short-term nursing shortage is the main reason the beds have temporarily closed, she said. As this staffing complement is restored, these beds will be reopened.

“We closely and constantly monitor our staffing levels to ensure we’re providing the best care to our patients,” she said in an email. Mulcahy added that there are plans to realign some beds for patients who are on the waiting list for long term care.

“With an aging population, the need for transitional care has been steadily increasing and adjustments to the bed mix at Soldiers Memorial Hospital will allow us to better meet the needs of the population we serve. This is a change that will allow us to meet patient and community need,” according to the AVH statement.

 “Within our district, and in fact across the province, we work among all of our sites to find beds for any patients that need to be admitted. Where possible, patients are kept as close to home as possible, however the primary consideration is to ensure the patient is in the best place to receive the most appropriate care for their needs.”

 

 

Organizations: Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Emergency Department, The Annapolis County Spectator

Geographic location: Middleton

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