Pediatric nurses assigned to young patients moved to other floors remain with them throughout their shift, Hayes said.
“It’s just location,” she said of transfers out of the Children’s Unit. “Care is still being maintained. Infection control is being maintained across the hospital, no matter who the patient is or where the patient goes.
“We continue to follow policies and protocols (for caring for young patients) based on (Centers for Disease Control) protocol.”
NO SPECIAL SECURITY
Although patients in the Children’s Unit receive an extra level of security, as visitors cannot enter without identifying themselves, Hayes said, she is confident that children are safe on the other floors. She emphasized that a nurse is with them always.
The overall census was dropping as the week wound down, and four geriatric patients remained on the Children’s Unit as of Thursday.
Donahue stressed that the hospital is committed to all patients.
“This is more a community issue,” she said of the reason for having seniors who are awaiting placement in long-term care. “These patients are admitted to the hospital but then have no place to go.”
The elderly patients are typically not well enough to be discharged back to their homes, but with a shortage of nursing-home space and concerns with Medicaid payments for those facilities, the patients end up in limbo at the hospital.
“We have to have surge capacity,” Donahue said of the need to use space like the Children’s Unit. “We are now bringing down our census gradually.”
WORKING WITH DOCTORS
The hospital has worked closely with area pediatricians to address the situation, and both Donohue and Hayes said the local doctors have expressed their support for the measure.
“We are certainly still admitting children, and the floor (where pediatric patients are staying) is staffed with regular pediatric nurses,” said Dr. Heidi Moore of Mountain View Pediatrics.