Nevada’s rural region, which includes Banner Churchill Community Hospital. is experiencing a crisis in staffing.
The Nevada Hospital Association reported last week that many of the state’s hospitals in Clark County and the rural region are experiencing a crisis in staffing.
As a result of the updated status, facilities in Southern Nevada and the rural regions have requested assistance from the state.
“Nevada is experiencing an abrupt increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, predominantly in the southern region following the holidays,” the NHA stated in its Jan. 5 report. “People are flocking to hospital emergency departments seeking COVID-19 testing, compounding the staffing problem.”
The rural hospitals are also in a watch status for percentage of patients in the hospital for the coronavirus, patients in the intensive care units for COVID, hospital occupancy rates (all-hazard) and ICU occupancy rates (all-hazard).
The COVID-19 hospitalization status for the rural hospitals, however, continues to be low. The NHA announced Churchill County is decreasing, while Humboldt is flat and Mineral, Lander and Pershing counties show none.
The NHA said the causes of staffing shortages differ by region. Hospitals in rural Nevada continue to experience an exodus of clinical staff who are leaving these jobs for higher-paying positions.
“This creates a shortage at several facilities based on staff retention and recruitment, as rural hospitals do not have the resources to match the hourly rates that traveling nurses can demand,” the NHA said.
The NHA stresses the escalation in staffing to crisis level alert status does not mean that patients with critical or life-threatening injuries or illnesses will be turned away from hospitals.
“This designation indicates that hospitals are stretched thin and patients who want testing only, or who have minor or non-threatening ailments to life, limb, sight, etc., can anticipate excessive wait times, difficulty being transferred to a specific hospital, or being admitted from the emergency department, and longer drop-times for ambulances,” the NHA said. “The designation also allows hospital discretion to implement the CDC's modified work restrictions protocol.”
The NHA said it will continue to work the state’s hospitals in partnership with the state to look for timely and creative solutions to staffing challenge.