In police wellness check I mention bed availability. What is that?
Bed availability has to do with hospital capacity and inpatient treatment center capacity. Are there any beds left?
The 1917-1918 influenza pandemic is an example. Gauze masks were used, which weren't effective to slow a virus, especially when worn like this. The flu moved across the US and San Francisco was expecting it. However, it hit so fast that hospitals were overwhelmed: here. My book on that influenza pandemic has photographs of dead bodies wrapped in sheets, stacked five high in San Francisco hospital hallways.
Right now, the difficult to find beds are for addiction treatment and behavioral health treatment. Our county hospital received a grant to set up an 8 bed psychiatric inpatient unit. They refused and let the grant go. Money. The conclusion was that it was not enough money and grants run out. So for psychiatric care the nearest is the next county south. There are not enough beds. There are only two inpatient psychiatric hospitals in my state that will take "dual diagnosis" patients: psychiatric and addiction. However, half of addiction patients also have psychiatric diagnoses. Anyone sensing a problem here?
In residency in Portland, Oregon, sometimes the hospital was on divert. No beds! We would celebrate at 3 am if we heard that we were on divert. Celebrate while seeing four more patients that were coming on to our medicine service from the ER. Maybe an hour's sleep and then roar around to check everyone and then meet with the attending to discuss all of them. And try to list from memory the 15 top causes of hypokalemia. Argh.
Divert means that patients are sent to other hospitals if they need to be admitted. From the emergency room, once they are stabilized, or as stabilized as they can be.
Our small county hospital is currently 25 beds and has a special rural designation which means that medicare pays more. We could fill more beds. Patients get sent to the next bigger county sometimes. But then the county hospital would lose the small rural designation and money again....
Resources always have limits. In the 1917-1918 influenza pandemic, the flu infected mostly 18-50 year olds. That meant that the working people were out sick or out taking care of the sick. There were not enough doctors, nurses, coroners, coffins, beds....
....get your flu shot. Vote for single payer. Vote for more treatment centers.....
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