September 28, 2021
WELLVSVILLE, NY – From Jones Memorial Hospital:
The resurgence of COVID in our community has impacted wait times at Jones Memorial Hospital for outpatients and inpatients.
For outpatients, the long waits in the Emergency Department and in the Walk-in Clinic reflect the challenges that face healthcare facilities like Jones.
“The increased wait times in the Emergency Department are the result of a couple of situations,” said Kelly Foster, RN BSN, Director of the Emergency Department (ED) at Jones Memorial. “First, we are seeing a higher volume of patients – people are coming to the ED with flu like symptoms wanting to be tested for COVID. Our message remains the same as last year, if your symptoms are relatively minor please avoid the ED and contact your primary care provider.” All Jones Memorial Medical Practices Primary Care and Pediatric offices offer COVID testing by appointment. Call your provider for information.
Because the Emergency Department is often the first stop for inpatients, the increased patient volume in the ED has an effect on the patient census upstairs. “Once the decision is made to admit a patient, we start looking for a bed,” Mrs. Foster explained. “When Jones is full, we are typically able to transfer them to a nearby facility. However, those facilities are having similar issues and that sets off a domino effect in which we are holding admissions and transfers in the ED until a bed can be found.” Holding patients in the ER means less area for ED patients to be seen, which leads to longer wait times.
“The Emergency Department should be used only for emergencies,” Mrs. Foster said. “The ED uses a triage system in which patients are seen in order of severity, not order of arrival. This can lead to wait times if someone with a more serious need comes in while you are waiting.”
At the Walk-in Clinic patients are seen in the order of arrival, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a long wait to be seen. “Patients are seen in the order they arrive, but if we have 10 people signed in when we start seeing patients at 2 pm and you are number 11, you may have to wait an hour and half or longer to be seen,” explained Brenda Szabo, Vice President of Ancillary Services. “Staff are working as hard as they can to get patients through, but the first call for COVID testing and other minor health issues should be to their Primary Care Provider.”
If a patient comes to the Emergency Department or the Walk-in Clinic and has to be admitted, they are in for another long wait. “Because of the increased number of COVID-positive inpatients – it has been as high as 58-percent in recent weeks – we consistently have to house patients in the Emergency Department awaiting admission because we don’t have a bed available for them here or at any of the hospitals’ we transfer to,” said Jim Helms, President/CEO at Jones. “This week, for example, we were forced to transfer three patients who – under normal conditions – would have been taken care of here in their community.”
The best way you can help your friends and neighbors who work at Jones Memorial is to get vaccinated. “The virus will continue to mutate and COVID will continue to be here until the majority of us are vaccinated,” he added. “We are asking you to get the vaccine and encourage your friends and family to do so as well.”