HEALTHCARE CAPACITY ASSESSMENT

In January 2018, due to increased national, state, and local influenza and respiratory activity impacting our healthcare system, the Network initiated its first situational awareness capacity survey. The Healthcare Situational Awareness Survey was distributed to healthcare partners. Survey responses indicated that healthcare facilities in King, Kitsap, and Pierce counties were experiencing elevated capacity issues. Facilities managed any additional patients with existing resources and did not request external assistance. The survey did note a challenge acquiring IV fluids. The Network continued to monitor healthcare capacity issues throughout the winter season.

SUMMARY OF SURVEY

Data compiled from the survey was used to inform decision makers who assessed strategies to respond to existing or potential healthcare capacity issues.

  • 76 facilities responded to the survey (Hospitals – 21; Long Term Care – 29; Outpatient – 25; Blood Center – 1).
  • Majority of facilities did not seeing an increased number of patients seeking care in the last 48-hours (from date of survey). Overall, less than 25% of patients sought care for ILI. However, about 50% of hospitals experienced a slight increase of patients seeking care in last 48-hours.
  • 50% of reporting hospitals and 60% of outpatient clinics operated at full licensure capacity.
  • Facilities reporting increased wait times note wait times ranged an additional 20-minutes to 3 hours above seasonal norm. Overall, most facilities did not experience additional wait times.
  • More than 50% of hospitals had difficulty discharging patients or with case management placement.
  • Managing Surge: Majority of hospitals continued to stretch staff responsibilities and expand staff hours. Overall, facilities continued to increase public messaging.
  • Hospitals and outpatient facilities experienced staffing shortages for Specialty Care Nurses and Techs. Hospitals, outpatient, and long-term care facilities experienced shortages of General Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants, with ill staff and staff turnovers possibly playing a role.
  • Other than national shortage of IV fluids, majority of facilities did not experience supply shortages.

Approx. 25% of responding Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) note they did have current restrictions for re-accepting patients/residents, if recently diagnosed with influenza. Several responding SNFs noted they would accept patients with influenza, but only after receiving antiviral treatment.