Officials at John Peter Smith Hospital have declared a Code Yellow “because of a higher than usual demand” in the hospital’s emergency department.
On Monday, 415 patients were seen by the emergency department, according to officials. On average, JPS staff members typically see 320 patients a day in the emergency department.
There is no single health concern that has caused the sudden increase in demand, although there is a higher than usual requirement for behavioral health care, Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Wanda Peebles said.
No end to the increased demand is in sight, she said.
The JPS Emergency Department has 56 patient care rooms. Typically, each day 80 to 100 people are admitted to the hospital and 65 Behavioral Health patients are seen by emergency department personnel, according to Jesse DeWaard, executive director of Emergency Services at JPS.
Patient volume has been about 25 percent higher than normal since Saturday.
Peebles has asked that people dealing with minor illnesses seek care with their primary care physician, an urgent care center or a JPS clinic for a walk-in appointment.
“That will not only free up space and personnel in (emergency department), it will reduce their wait time for assistance,” she said.
However, the hospital will not turn away anyone who is seeking care, officials said.
Additionally, to address the high demand for services, JPS has asked:
▪ Team members from other departments to help the emergency department in any way possible including assisting in rounding up beds and wheelchairs.
▪ Patient sitters to work extra shifts.
▪ Team members who usually perform other roles are to be trained to be used as patient sitters until the need for additional help has subsided.
▪ Environmental Services to be diligent in turning over rooms when patients are discharged to make room as soon as possible for patients waiting for a bed.
To help add much-needed staff, the referral bonus paid to employees who successfully recruit a new Emergency Department RN was temporarily increased from $6,000 to $10,000.
Experienced registered nurses and candidates for other high-demand positions including patient sitters can call JPS Human Resources at (817) 702-7389, according to a news release.