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Hospital Worker Shortage Affects Care

Posted on June 27, 2022

Burnout from the pandemic has caused a critical shortage of healthcare workers in the U.S., according to a recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review. The United States Surgeon General called it “a growing threat to our individual and collective health.”

The article cited concerning statistics. The country could experience a deficit of 200,000 to 450,000 registered nurses (RNs) for direct patient care by 2025. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics forecasts the need for 1.1 million new RNs by 2030. There also are projected shortages of physicians, medical assistants, home health aides and nursing assistants.

Meanwhile, hospital emergency departments are dealing with record numbers of patients, stressing an already taxed system. One report cited instances where there were 165 patients in a 70-bed ER. These include sicker patients who delayed care during the pandemic, as well as those with COVID-19. COVID patients still need to be isolated, complicating space issues. There is also an increasing mental health crisis, and patients in need of care.

There are significant consequences for patients waiting in the ER. The article cites wait times in excess of four hours. When no beds are available, patients are treated in the hallways, which almost always results in a longer hospital stay. It is a perfect storm where patients are being treated by an overtaxed workforce amid a staffing shortage in less-than-ideal conditions—and care may suffer.

Tom Duffy has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients harmed by Philadelphia emergency room injuries. If you would like to discuss the details of a possible case, please contact us.