What happens when hospitals reach patient capacity?

Nov 13, 2020

Hospital sign
Credit wikipedia

As area hospitals near capacity with an influx of COVID-19 patients, what happens when capacity is reached? 

Spectrum Health is using computer models factoring in bed and staff capacity along with length of stay. Those models say the hospital will reach traditional capacity constraints soon.

"And so, we’re taking proactive action to expand into other areas to make sure that we have that we have that room.”

Tina Freese Decker is President and CEO of Spectrum Health.

“It’s our preference that we continue to care for our community, for not just COVID-19, but for other needs within the four walls of all our facilities.”

That ensures the highest quality of care. Alternative care sites are being actively discussed with local and state officials.

“What we’ve learned from other places that saw very large surges like Detroit and New York, that those are very rarely used. You should try to use your internal capacity and maximize, as Tina said, first.”

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is President of Spectrum Health West.

“The rationale for this is, number one, we want to make sure those symptomatic patients get tested. And number two, we want to make sure that our testing turnaround times remain short so those tests are actually actionable.”

“The biggest limitation for that, to be very honest across the country and definitely here, would be staffing. Even if we had another site with hundreds of beds available, staffing will absolutely be an issue if we got to that point.”