Princeton Community Hospital at full capacity

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — The nationwide hospital bed shortage continues to hit hard as Princeton Community Hospital is at full capacity.

Vice President of Operations Al Boland said PCH isn’t the only mid-size hospital that’s been overwhelmed by patients during the pandemic. Boland also said he and his staff meet daily to make sure they are able to give at least some medical assistance to everyone who walks through their doors.

“We’re actually at capacity, and we have been for several months,” said Boland. “It’s no surprise that COVID, over the last two years, has stressed community hospitals like ours. We have a morning huddle, and sometimes an afternoon huddle where we’re actually looking at the timeliness of patient management, capacity management we call it. So, it’s really getting the right patient to the right level of care every single time.”

Boland told 59 News for months, his staff’s number one goal after a patient is discharged has been to get the bed cleaned and turned around as fast as possible for another patient.

“When we get patients that are effectively safe for discharge, we’ll get them safely to where they need to be, whether it’s home or a nursing home, and when that bed immediately opens we clean it terminally and we have another patient that’s already ready for that room,” Boland said. “So, the capacity has been to, really, our maximum for the last several months. And we don’t see really any time that’s going to alleviate.”

According to Boland, one of the biggest sources of frustration between both doctors and patients, has been with people not knowing when they need to see a doctor. Boland said more and more people with chronic conditions are putting off regular checkups with their primary care provider and showing up at the hospital needing emergency care when things inevitably get worse.

“Patients that are really here for low-acuity type issues that could follow up with a primary care physician or an urgent care, they might have to wait longer and I think that’s where some of the frustration comes from,” said Boland. “But, our stress is that patients who are ill really seek that care because what we’ve seen with COVID are patients who do have chronic conditions, that have delayed routine care or routine screenings, are just waiting too long. And so by the time they get to the emergency department, they’re much sicker than they would have been if they had just been getting routine maintenance or routine follow up with their primary care physician.”

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