Manitoba Daily

Friday, January 28, 2022

Manitoba doctors believe the federal government should send more assistance

Manitoba doctors says the federal govt should send more

Key takeaways:

  • The Manitoba government’s request for more ICU nurses has encouraged two Manitoba critical care physicians.
  • Dr. Jacobsohn believes that requesting additional nurses is an important first step in recognizing a problem.

Two Manitoba critical care physicians, are encouraged that the Manitoba government is requesting more ICU nurses.

However, Dr. Dan Roberts and Dr. Eric Jacobsohn told CTV News on Tuesday that the federal government’s request for 15-30 ICU nurses is woefully inadequate.

“Minister Gordon indicated that the request was made to increase ICU capacity and also to allow previously redesignated or redeployed staff to return to surgical ORs, endoscopy suites, and clinics,” said Dr. Roberts, who earlier this week wrote an open letter alerting Manitobans to the critical state of the province’s ICUs.

“My response to that number is that you can do a little bit of one or a little bit of the other, but not both,” he explained.

According to Roberts, using the maximum number of 30 nurses requested by the federal government in intensive care units would allow six or seven ICU beds.

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The other option is to use those 30 nurses to relieve redeployed nurses who have been assisting in the ICUs and return them to their previous positions.

“You can’t do both,” Dr. Roberts explained. “You can either get six or seven ICU beds, or you can redeploy some staff and not open up any ICU beds.”

Given the low vaccination rate, Roberts expects several hundred more ICU COVID-19 cases from the Southern Health region alone in the coming months.

“To weather the coming storm, we’ll need more ICU capacity than that.”

Dr. Jacobsohn believes that requesting additional nurses is an important first step in recognizing a problem.

“Will eight to ten beds bail us out?” “Not this month,” he stated emphatically. “We require a significant increase in the number.”

According to Jacobsohn, it will take time to find these 15-30 nurses, bring them to Manitoba, train them, and open the units.

He explained that the daily issue in Manitoba is that ICU capacity is close to 100%, which means that if ten more patients arrive in one or two days, there may not be enough room.

Manitoba doctors say the federal government should send more aid
Manitoba doctors say the federal government should send more aid. Image from CBC News

“As a result, the ICU doctors and front-line workers expect that other immediate ICU facilities be made available, whether that be somewhere to the east or west of us, or frankly somewhere to the south,” he said.

Adding more nurses, according to Roberts, is akin to calling the fire department. Turning off the gas by enforcing public health restrictions in communities with low vaccination rates is also necessary to tame the flames.

“I believe that is going to be extremely important. Omicron is on its way; it’s already arrived in Ontario, and it’ll be the dominant strain there in the next week or two. Dr. Roberts stated, “We are sure to follow very soon, and that adds a whole new dimension to this.”

According to Jacobsohn, Omicron is more transmissible than Delta, and there could be havoc with infectivity in Manitoba’s under-vaccinated areas.

“And those will completely overwhelm our community,” he said. “As a result, the proposed fix on the care side, on the number of ICU beds, is likely way, way underestimating what will be required.”

“Unless public health edicts are enforced in the south, the implications for patients in Manitoba, including those on the waitlist task force, will be catastrophic.”

A spokesperson for Shared Health told CTV News in an email that staffing resources have been strained throughout the pandemic.

They said that nurse training sessions, more nurses, enrolled in the critical care nursing orientation program, and ongoing patient transfers are all being done to support the increased capacity in the ICUs.

“The dedicated and highly skilled staff in the ICU continues to provide excellent care to the patients. Nursing to patient ratios varies depending on the patient’s level of understanding and staffing availability. These can change throughout the day, so keep an eye on them, “According to the spokesperson.

Source: CTV News

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