Thinking Citizen Blog — Health Care Shortage — Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care, and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: Health Care Shortage — Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists….
The other day I went to my local pharmacy to refill a prescription. It was a Saturday. I was used to the pharmacy being open seven days a week. Not any more. Closed on weekends. Why? Staff shortage. And it’s not just pharmacists. The American Hospital Association is projecting a nursing shortage of 1.1 million by the end of the year! “In certain parts of the country, whole hospitals and medical departments have shuttered amid such shortfalls, leaving patients with less access to vital health care, including labor and delivery services and in patient care for children.” Today, a few more notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
BURNOUT RATES, ERROR RATES, DEPARTURES RISING (first link below)
1. “With fewer clinicians working in the field, practitioners are finding themselves responsible for a larger number of patients, fueling soaring burnout levels that experts say raise the risk of medical errors...”
2. “The number of central line-line associated bloodstream increased 28% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, while rates of falls rose by 17% and pressure injuries increased by nearly 42% at skilled nursing facilities during the same period.”
3. “Low morale has translated into departures. Results of a September 2021 poll of 1,000 health care workers revealed that, since February 2020, 18% had quit their jobs.”
ICU NURSES, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS, POORER OUTCOMES (second link below)
1. “Though the norm for a standard ICU nurse may be to manage two patients over the course of a shift, shortages may demand that the same nurse now take care of 3 or 4 patients — paving the way for less than ideal care.”
2. “This scenario has been especially true in emergency departments, medical admission wards, and ICUs around the country, leading to significant delays in care, difficulty getting hospital beds, and most importantly poorer healthcare outcomes.”
3. “This issue must become a top priority for policymakers, healthcare leaders, and patient safety advocates globally, and must be addressed as soon as possible.”
SUPPLY-CHAIN SNAGS — LIFE SAVING MEDICAL SUPPLIES (third link below)
1. “There are probably hundreds of outages of items that we order that do not come in.” (Lori Lee, Yale New Haven Health)
2. “The list of shortages includes basics such as IV tubing and catheters, which are used constantly in hospitals.”
3. Causes of the shortages include: “component scarcities, backlogged ports, transportation glitches. and lockdowns in China to combat the spread of Covid-19.”
NB: “Owens and Minor, a healthcare logistics firm with $8.5 billion in annual revenue, says that 45% of the items it handles are in some way supply-constrained.”
LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.