BEND, OR -- St. Charles Bend’s emergency room and in-patient services are operating at capacity. Michelle Brenholdt, Director of Emergency Services for the Bend and Redmond hospitals, says it’s due to a combination of factors, "We’re seeing a second spike in flu. We kind of peaked a couple of weeks ago, it started to drop off and now we’re peaking again. So, if you take a hospital who’s already at capacity, almost on a daily basis, and then you take a whole bunch of flu patients who are sicker than they normally are and they stay an extra day or two, then that really puts extra demand on our in-patient beds." And, she tells KBND News, "We have still had people falling from roofs, which has been a problem. Ice and ladders and roofs are kind of a bad combination; especially for our elderly population." Although, as the weather improves, the number of ice and snow-related injuries is declining. She says local skilled nursing facilities where some patients can recieve transitional care are also full.
In some cases, patients are being transferred, when appropriate, "We still have capacity at Redmond, Madras and Prineville, so we are utilizing our whole system to place patients." To help, Nurse Brenholdt asks that you not come to the Emergency Department unless you're seriously ill or hurt, "If you’re having chest pains, severe abdominal pains, trouble breathing, certainly, the Emergency Department is the place to come and we want to make sure we have the capacity to see the patients who truly need emergency care. And, we can still take care of our community and that’s important to note. But, we’re encouraging people who are not acutely ill to seek care at the urgent cares and doctors offices."
A new patient tower at St. Charles Medical Center Bend is slated to open May 19. Brenholdt says that will address some of the ongoing capacity issues faced by the hospital.