PLATTSBURGH — A recent increase in patient census at CVPH Medical Center has forced hospital officials to temporarily restructure its third-floor Children’s Unit.
As part of its Alice T. Miner Center for Women and Children, the hospital runs a 10-bed pediatric unit that specializes in the medical care of children typically admitted with such conditions as upper-respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal illnesses and pneumonia.
The average census on the unit is one patient per day, meaning that nine beds are often empty; sometimes the unit is completely vacant, officials said.
TO MEET NEED
The unit is one of three areas in the hospital that serves other needs when there is a shortage of beds elsewhere.
“There are times when we have a surge in patient admissions,” explained Debra Donahue, senior vice president and chief operating officer for CVPH.
One reason for the elevated census, she said, is the number of older patients awaiting placement in long-term-care facilities.
Without the designated areas to handle sudden increases in patients, these seniors would have to remain in beds in the hospital’s Emergency Department for extended periods, creating a backlog in that area, Donahue said.
“We feel that, as a hospital, we must do what we can to provide the best possible care for all patients,” she said.
In order to provide that care for geriatric patients, the hospital has placed seniors in the 10-bed Children’s Unit and is treating children on regular patient floors.
“We have two rooms allotted for children’s care on one of the (medical/surgical) floors,” said Maria Hayes, director of the Center for Women and Children.
“We have one patient there now, but we have a pediatric nurse assigned to take care of the child.”
Specially trained pediatric nurses work on the Children’s Unit and serve kids on a ratio of three patients to each nurse.