Demand For Services Surges
February 2004 was one of the busiest months the John Dempsey Hospital has ever had, and Feb. 24 was the busiest day.
On that day, the inpatient census was 190. For the month, the census averaged 163.
By comparison, in 2003 the hospital's daily census averaged 152 inpatients; and in 1998, when the census was at its lowest since the hospital opened in 1975, the figure was 127.
Dempsey Hospital has a total of 204 authorized general acute care beds and 20 nursery beds.
"It's wonderful that the hospital is doing so well and the census has increased so dramatically," says Jeanne Lattanzio, associate vice president of operations and director of nursing. "It's exciting to see the hospital grow, and we're truly indebted to the nurses in particular but to all the staff, for doing such an exceptional job taking care of patients."
Dr. Steven Strongwater, director of clinical operations, says the challenge will be to keep the census at that level consistently.
The demand for the hospital's services during February was strong across all units: ICU, cardiac stepdown (post-operative cardiology care), ob/gyn, psychiatry, oncology, post-anesthesia care unit, and the neonatal intensive care unit. This is in contrast to the normal hospital environment, where some units may be in demand, while others are less busy, says Strongwater.
The high census places extra demands on the staff. "The nurses did an incredible job of caring for their patients," Lattanzio says. "They have been pulling together to ensure the highest quality patient care. It has been a challenging time, but they continue to demonstrate that they're up to the challenge."
Strongwater says the census growth reflects increasing recognition of the Health Center's clinical capabilities.
"Our hospital was once the best-kept secret in this region of the state," he says. "Now people are taking notice of the high quality care that the medical staff at Dempsey Hospital provide. This bodes well for the future of both the hospital and the Health Center."