‘It’s a real challenge for us’: Hospitals struggle with lack of long-term care options

SPOKANE, Wash. — Hospitals across Washington continue to struggle with capacity issues, and in some cases struggle to get beds to patients in need. 

It’s an issue they’ve been dealing with for months and without much outside help, hospitals are now working on ways to address these issues themselves.

“We’re in an unprecedented time, you know COVID caused a lot of people to drop out of the workforce, it hit hospitals, we’re gonna build that staffing back up,” said Gregory Repetti, President of MultiCare Inland Northwest. “We’ve handled it so far but it’s a real challenge for us going forward.”

Issues of capacity, moving patients out, and staffing shortages are a few of the problems that hospitals face currently.

Providence sent 4 News Now a statement detailing the challenges it too, continues to face.

The statement reads in part:

“We need short-term and long-term solutions to ensure Washington hospitals can provide life-saving care and hospital caregivers can receive relief from an overburdened system. Providence is working closely with key stakeholders across the state to address these challenges.”

These challenges are causing hospitals to start thinking outside of the box to ensure patients can be cared for no matter what.

“We’ve done things like creating a discharge lounge for patients who don’t need a hospital bed or are waiting for a test result or a loved one to come pick them up, we have a safe place to hold them to free up their bed. We’re looking at all kinds of different things to find a way to accommodate the needs of our community,” Repetti said.

But Repetti says, given the issue at hand, hospitals are doing the best they can. 

“There’s been days when we’ve had five, six, seven patients in hallway beds in our emergency room,” Repetti said. “Because we can’t get patients moved, and that’s a real challenge. And again, we’re doing everything we can, our skilled nursing facilities are doing everything they can.”

Both hospital systems say it’s an issue they continue to look for ways to resolve.

READ: Many Washington hospitals facing patient capacity crisis

READ: Washington hospitals are facing a financial crisis and it’s impacting patient care