Wednesday 16 October 2019

Frail, elderly patients are caught up in trolley crisis

University Hospital Limerick again suffered winter levels of gridlock as A&Es across the country ran out of beds for 426 patients. Stock photo: Tim Ockenden/PA
University Hospital Limerick again suffered winter levels of gridlock as A&Es across the country ran out of beds for 426 patients. Stock photo: Tim Ockenden/PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The equivalent of three wards of patients were on trolleys in the most overcrowded hospital in the country yesterday as 81 mostly elderly people waited for a bed.

University Hospital Limerick again suffered winter levels of gridlock as A&Es across the country ran out of beds for 426 patients.

Some 42 patients endured trolley waits at Cork University Hospital and another 37 were without a bed at Waterford Hospital.

A spokesman for the Limerick hospital said there had been a surge in presentations nationally. It has many frail, elderly patients with complex medical conditions.

The hospital has "just over 450 inpatient beds. This is recognised as not being sufficient for the needs of the mid-west region", he added.

He said the hospital was taking measures to relieve pressure on A&E, including transfer of suitable patients to other hospitals within the group.

Efforts are also under way to step up home care and the use of teams to administer antibiotics in the homes of people requiring treatment.

Earlier, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation called on the hospital to "halt all activity at the hospital with the exception of emergency admissions" to help ease pressures.

Surgeons nationwide are trying to increase surgeries on patients on waiting lists.

Irish Independent

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