Palliative Care Unit Closed Down Because Of A Staffing Shortage

Palliative care: In this study palliative care unit patients are being moved out of their separate unit into another unit of the Campbellton Regional Hospital because of a shortage of nursing staff. The six palliative care beds are being moved to the geriatric-rehabilitation unit, making a total of 25 beds in that unit, said Gilles Lanteigne, president and CEO of the Vitalité Health Network.

Palliative Care Unit

“If they want to better utilize the staff that they have; they had to put them in a bigger unit,” he said. Although patients will be in private rooms, they will not have their own unit; also there will be less privacy for them and their families. “There will be no other impact than having to move, and unfortunately not having the same facilities for the family,” Lanteigne said.

The changes will be in effect until October, when the health authority will re evaluate the situation. “If we move them and regroup them we can better utilize the short staff that we have,” he said. The only other option would be to close down more beds at the northern New Brunswick hospital. “They’re juggling and they’re making hard choices and unfortunately it’s having an impact,” he said.

The palliative care unit closed down earlier this year because of a staffing shortage; hence resulting from illnesses and workers on leave of absence. The hospital’s obstetrics and pediatric units also closed for a week in june because of “a shortage of medical resources.”  “We’ve been closing beds historically for every year, the numbers are relatively the same,” he said.

Shortage of staff

“But when you compound the fact that they have a severe shortage of staff; so they had to reorganize the units and regroup them. And unfortunately, it’s a difficult choice to do.” Lanteigne said the problem is compound; so because patients needing an alternative level of care, such as a nursing home, occupy about 45% of the hospital’s beds. This creates an additional burden on hospital staff.

“Unfortunately, there’s no options for them,” he said. New Brunswick’s minister of post-secondary education, training; also labour has promised a 10-year strategy to deal with the province’s nursing shortage will be announced in the next few week. Earlier this week, Trevor Holder said the strategy, developed with the Department of Health; which will outline where New Brunswick needs to be in terms of nurses over the next decade.

Holder said he expects the province will need 1,300 new nurses over the next 10 years; so base on the number of nurses leaving and the number of nursing students who are graduating. But Lanteigne said the New Brunswick’s health-care system; which needs a lot of changes to its primary care system at the same time that it tries to solve its staff shortages. “If we can’t ensure services that are secure; so then they have to look at different options, and options we have not envisioned before.”