The Public Hospitals Authority is seeking alternative accommodations for 33 boarders who are staying at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) where they are occupying much-needed beds, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
Minnis said the 33 boarders, patients who were discharged but remain at the hospital, cost the hospital $491 per day or $6 million per year. Some boarders have resided at PMH for years.
He noted that the public healthcare system in The Bahamas is “severely limited in its ability to accommodate infected patients requiring inpatient care because of COVID-19”.
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, so do the number of hospitalized cases, which rose to 35.
The prime minister noted that there was a reduction in the overall bed complement at PMH due to the current pandemic and the need to practice social distancing at various health facilities.
“The regrettable practice of leaving of elderly family members in the Emergency Department at PMH after they no longer require hospitalization, has given rise to recurrent long-term boarders,” Minnis said during a national address.
“Many of these patients have comorbidities that make them particularly vulnerable to viral infections.
“They should not be in proximity to highly trafficked areas frequented by those with communicable diseases.
“As the Princess Margaret Hospital approaches capacity, with a limited number of hospital beds to treat those requiring inpatient care, the Public Hospitals Authority has sought alternate accommodations for the relocation of boarders.
“An assessment team comprised of representatives from nursing, case management and hospital administration is examining sites to determine their suitability as a care center for PMH’s 33 boarders.
“I want to repeat that 33 individuals are staying within the confines of the PMH as boarders. Each of these individuals costs our hospital $491 per day or approximately $6 million per year.
“The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Services will make the final necessary assessments and recommendations on accommodations to enable us to both further protect this vulnerable group, while making critical bed space available at PMH.”
Minnis did note that hospital capacity is expected to increase by 80 beds as a result of a number of new measures, including the use of the Breezes resort to treat non-COVID patients.
There were 898 cases of COVID-19 in the country, 15 deaths and 104 recovered cases.
On July 24, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said Grand Bahama, which is the COVID epicenter of The Bahamas, was fast approaching its bed capacity for COVID cases.
She noted that New Providence has 30 COVID-19 beds and Grand Bahama has 16.