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COVID pressures exhausting and frustrating St. Joes staff

COVID pressures exhausting and frustrating St. Joes staff

As Hamilton Health Sciences reports seven critical heart surgeries cancelled because the ICU beds are filled with unvaccinated COVID patients, a similar scene is playing out at St Joes Healthcare.

In a memo to the St. Joe’s staff and community, CEO Melissa Farrell painted a picture of frustration and exhaustion by staff.

She wrote, “we’ve heard various St. Joe’s teams express concerns about pressures over the last several weeks. Our ICU team expressed concerns around ensuring quality of care through staffing pressures and increasing demand for beds, among other things. Some of the concerns faced by our Emergency Department include retaining experienced staff and addressing ambulance offload times. And our COVID Unit team wonders when the time will come to sunset a unit created specifically to deal with the pandemic.

“Staffing pressures were a consistent theme across all Town Halls and our leaders are pursuing recruitment strategies across all areas of the hospital. Our first Virtual Nursing Career Fair has resulted in close to 40 new hires and we’re planning additional virtual fairs this fall.”

Ms. Farrell noted that There will be increased pressure on COVID testing as students return to the classroom, “as students return to classrooms, our assessment centre will be under increased pressure to provide more testing. We continue to work in partnership with Hamilton Public Health Services, Hamilton Health Sciences and all our partners in the Greater Hamilton Health Network to increase availability and improve access to testing as the needs of our community change.” She noted that the mass vaccination clinic at the West 5th Campus, now closed, vaccinated more than 160,000 residents—a quarter of Hamilton’s vaccination total.

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