Leaders there are asking nurses and doctors who aren’t currently practicing to come back to work.
Coronavirus cases are rising all over the country. Here in St. Joseph County, hospital leaders say they’re nearing capacity. But they’re not convinced the state’s reserve workforce list will be much help.
Memorial Hospital in South Bend is normally the place to go for any health need, from minor illnesses to major surgeries.
“Surgeries are being canceled, procedures are being canceled, we expect that it’s going to be harder and harder for people to get the care that they need, and as long as the numbers keep going up and up, it’s just going to get worse and worse,” said Memorial Hospital VP of Medical Affairs Dr. Dale Patterson.
Memorial Hospital isn’t the only one struggling. This is a statewide problem.
The Indiana Hospital Association says hospitalizations have increased 143% since Oct. 1.
President Ben Tabor said, “many hospitals are reporting staff shortages as the pandemic takes its toll. Hoosier nurses, doctors, and other front-line hospital staff have been working non-stop since the early spring.”
“We’re in the midst of a catastrophe,” said Dr. Patterson.
It’s something the Indiana State Department of Health is trying to help with by calling on retired doctors and nurses to return to practice.
Leaders there say, “since the initial callout, more than 1,500 individuals have expressed a willingness to serve in this reserve capacity. Additional requests for those who might be interested are going out this week.”
But Patterson isn’t convinced that will help.
“You can’t make more nurses to put on a reserve task force. You can’t train people quick enough to have them work tomorrow or the next day, people who have the skills and are capable of doing those jobs are all working right now.”
Patterson says healthcare worker shortages make mask wearing and social distancing that much more important.
If you can keep yourself from getting sick, you can help reduce strain on your local health care system.