GPH chief nursing officer speaks on bed capacity, staffing at hospital

Great Plains Health Chief Nursing Officer Tina Pate on Friday explained the hospital’s available bed capacity and staffing in regard to COVID-19 care.

“There’s really been a lot of confusion in the community about how we define bed capacity,” Pate said during a press conference at GPH. “It has been reported that we have been licensed for 116 beds, and I’d like to explain what beds we have available for patients and where we are for staffing.”

Pate said the hospital is licensed for 116 beds, but of those, 19 are for the behavioral health unit, 11 for labor patients, four for pediatrics and four for the neonatal intensive care unit.

“If you subtract all of these out, we really have 78 licensed beds for capacity,” Pate said. “Of those 78 beds, I’m only staffed to manage 65 of those because of staff members being out for illness related to COVID, or maybe family members’ illness related to COVID.”

As of Friday, 40 staff members were out for COVID-related reasons, she said.

“Those are staff members that are directly involved in patient care,” Pate said. “Until we get that vaccine out, those numbers are going to continue to grow, and I could see an increase in not only employees being out, but an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID.”

On Friday the hospital had 60 patients — including 29 with COVID-19 — leaving just five beds available for patients coming in, Pate said.

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