Hospital packed

Vernon Jubilee Hospital is jammed to the rafters and flu season hasn’t even started yet

Vernon Jubilee Hospital is jammed to the rafters and flu season hasn’t even started yet.

There were 196 admitted patients Thursday although there are only 148 funded acute care beds.

“The week has been ranging from 185 to 195 patients. That’s where we start off in the morning,” said Assunta Shepherd, director of acute services.

It’s not known why admissions has climbed because none of the cases are related to seasonal circumstances such as flu.

“We have some patients from out of town. We’re not sure if they’re here for the holidays,” said Shepherd.

Staff is trying to maintain a flow between admissions and discharges, and Shepherd has praise for everyone from doctors and nurses to lab technicians and support workers.

“We have brought extra nursing staff and care aides in. We are doing whatever we need to do to provide the best care possible,” she said.

Ten unfunded beds have also been opened for patients.

Shepherd admits that conditions could become even more challenging once seasonal illnesses begin and injuries related to slipping on ice or skiing happen.

“Those are the kinds of things we deal with here,” she said.

“It may lead to cancelled elective surgery to help with emergency admissions.”

The Interior Health Authority is currently preparing for the start of construction of the two top floors in the Polson tower. It’s anticipated the project will be done by the summer of 2015.

The two floors will contain 60 beds, with 14 being new and 46 relocating from elsewhere in the hospital. The majority of the 60 beds on floors six and seven will be in private rooms complete with their own washrooms.