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Hospitals Get Creative To Handle More Patients, More Stress

COVID has created new pressures on staffing, and an environment that demands flexibility, health care experts say.

New Hampshire Union Leader – More and sicker patients, fewer people to care for them and a highly contagious virus that makes everything less predictable: This is the “new normal” in New Hampshire hospitals.

The delta wave of COVID-19 may be waning, but hospital leaders expect the virus to be here for a long time.

The virus complicates underlying problems — an aging population that needs more health care, people delaying needed treatment because of worries about the cost of care, and staff burning out from the stress of it all.

Hospitals are finding ways to cope.

“We’re really trying to do the balance of COVID operations, and bringing it into normal, dayto- day operations,” said Jennifer Cassin, vice president and chief nursing officer of Catholic Medical Center in Manchester.

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At the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals focused almost all of their resources on the pandemic. Now, Cassin said, health care workers have to treat COVID19 as just another infectious disease.

“If you don’t do that, no other work will get done. You have to multitask,” she said. “That’s what all organizations are trying to do. They’re trying to establish a balance between pre-COVID, normal day-to-day operations, and our current situation.”

Now, health care workers know how to care for COVID patients and how to prevent the virus’ spread, Cassin said.

But the virus and its reverberations are still making hospital operations unpredictable.

The peaks and valleys of hospitalized COVID patients add a layer of uncertainty, Cassin said, especially as hospitals are seeing much higher than usual numbers of non-COVID patients because people delayed care and now need it.

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Administrators have to figure out how to have enough staff for the busy times, even though the busy times don’t follow the usual patterns, she said … READ MORE (subscription may be required) 

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