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RQHR warns of ‘high patient volumes’ and wait times at emergency departments in Regina

Three nurses at a Regina hospital are asking for better security measures, saying they feel unsafe going to work.
RQHR said on Feb. 14 both Regina hospitals are over capicity due to high patient volumes in emergency departments and nurses who are ill. Kael Donelly / Global News

The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) is advising patients to expect longer wait times as emergency rooms in Regina are at capacity.

“We are right in the middle of our busiest time of the year, and we are currently experiencing very high patients volumes in Emergency Departments at both hospitals,” Glen Perchie, executive director of RQHR Emergency and EMS, said in a statement.

“This is not due to any one particular cause but a variety of factors and illnesses.”

According to RQHR, as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Pasqua Hospital was at 118 per cent capacity and Regina General Hospital was at 100 per cent capacity. There were 94 patients in care between the two emergency departments and 37 awaiting admission for an inpatient bed.

“Right now the Pasqua is probably our greatest challenge,” Perchie said Tuesday afternoon.

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“We actually do have some patients in the main corridor as well.”

Perchie said there are nine people on stretchers in the hallways at the Pasqua Hospital and around four people at the Regina General Hospital.

The hospitals are also working to replace nursing staff who are ill.

“We expect this patient surge will last for at least the next week or possibly longer,” Perchie said.

“During this time, we will make every effort to ensure our patients receive the most timely and appropriate care possible, and work with care teams to ensure that patients are able to move effectively through the system.

According to Perchie, the current spike started on Thursday and Friday and peaked yesterday.

RQHR said patients with minor ailments, prescription refills or other non-emergency situations are encouraged to use other resources in the community. Healthline 8-1-1 is also available for confidential, 24/7 medical advice including mental health and addictions support.

The health region regularly sees a patient surge from January to March and takes steps to prepare, including adding bed capacity.

In total, 434 beds are open and in use at the Regina General Hospital. Thirteen are due to the patient surge.

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Two hundred and forty two beds are open and in use at the Pasqua Hospital. Fourteen are due to the surge.

Between the two hospitals, there are 676 beds open between Pasqua Hospital and Regina General Hospital, plus 33 beds in each emergency room.

Perchie said the additional beds are helping but “sometimes our surge exceeds our capacity for a short period of time.”

“We get through it and it’s unpleasant, but we keep patients safe,” Perchie said.

However, back in November, RQHR said emergency room stays are up to an average of 13 hours, far past the target of just over seven hours.

READ MORE: RQHR admits that target wait times are not being met

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