Rhode Island Hospital shuts down portion of emergency department due to nursing shortage

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Staffing shortages are now hitting the state’s largest hospital– Rhode Island Hospital.

Officials with Lifespan say part of the emergency department at the Rhode Island Hospital called the C-pod was forced to close down due to a nursing shortage.

The C-pod has been used for different patient types including an inpatient holding unit, a unit for moderately acute patients, and a COVID isolation unit.

Kathleen Hart, a spokesperson for Lifespan, says the recent staffing shortages from leaves of absences, daily call-outs, and resignations for travel nurse opportunities make it difficult to staff the area consistently. It’s not clear when it’ll open back up, but officials say that’ll depend on staffing.

In a statement, Hart said in part, “These changes ensure we continue to provide high-quality care in a safe environment and have the appropriate resources to treat the sickest patients requiring emergency care.”

Not only is a portion of the emergency department shut down, but the hospital is also asking patients who don’t require emergency care to call their primary doctor or go to an urgent care.

Healthcare workers have been working long hours in full PPE since the start of the pandemic. On top of burnout, the staffing shortage comes as the state’s October 1st healthcare vaccine mandate nears.

Many workplaces, including nursing homes, police, and fire departments are set to lose hundreds of workers who are not vaccinated. According to the Department of Health, as of September 13th, 86.6% of staff at licensed healthcare facilities are vaccinated. 84.2% of staff in hospitals are vaccinated.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island