NCDs Contributing To OKEU Hospital Bed Management Crisis – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), along with injuries from accidents and acts of violence, have contributed to a bed management crisis at the OKEU Hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department.

The disclosure came during Wednesday’s Millennium Heights Medical Complex (MHMC) news conference.

Reporters heard the patient care situation has burdened the OKEU Hospital’s resources.

Last week, the MHMC said a high influx of patients within the OKEU Hospital’s A&E Department would result in extended wait times, especially for non-urgent cases.

As a result, it urged people to seek non-urgent care at their nearest community Wellness Centre.

At Wednesday’s News Conference, Director of Clinical Services Dr. Lisa Charles disclosed that medical staff have been seeing ‘sicker and sicker’ patients in the past decade.

Charles said the patients primarily suffer from chronic non-communicable diseases related to conditions including hypertension, diabetes, strokes, heart, and renal failures.

She explained that the sicker the patient, the more interventions, resources, and bedside time by doctors in the emergency room they would require.

In addition, Charles told reporters such patients would spend more time in the hospital.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of two beds per thousand population.

With Saint Lucia’s 180,000 population, the Island should have 360 in-patient beds.

However, Dr. Charles disclosed that the Island figure is 237.

Regarding the short and medium-term solutions to the problem, Charles revealed plans to create 120 more beds in local hospitals and work with patients to build individual and community capacity to support earlier discharge.

She declared that patients are often ready for discharge after about a week, but their families cannot care for the patient at home, so the hospital has to keep them longer.

Charles also emphasised the need for healthier lifestyles.

“We are not a healthy people at this point in time,” she lamented while stressing the need for a proper diet, exercise, medical checks, and compliance.

Charles described compliance as ‘a massive issue’, noting that often, patients with high blood pressure and diabetes who visit the hospital have poor compliance in taking their medication at home.

“They come in with end-stage diseases where the only option is hospitalisation and more complex care,” she told reporters.

The hospital sees an average of 1,700 patients monthly, more than half that number suffering from NCDs.