New Brunswick

Campbellton palliative care unit will remain closed until next week: Vitalité

A Vitalité Health Network official is confident the palliative care unit in Campbellton will reopen next week after closing last week.

Unit closed last week because of staff illness, leave of absences

The palliative care unit at the Campbellton Regional Hospital closed last week. (Google Maps)

Vitalité Health Network is confident the palliative care unit in Campbellton will reopen next week after closing last week, according to the vice-president of clinical services.

Johanne Roy said the closure was a result of a staffing shortage due to a mixture of illnesses and workers on leave of absence. 

Roy said the unit is small, with just seven beds, and the staff shortage meant patients had to be moved to other units in the Campbellton Regional Hospital.

"Most of the people [admitted] in this palliative care unit [weren't] patient[s] who need palliative care," said Roy.

"Because the hospital is very busy, very overcrowded … if we have patients who need beds for admissions and if there are some beds available on this unit, we accept the other kind of patient in this unit too."

Bathurst obstetrics to reopen

Roy said the obstetrics unit in Bathurst is scheduled to reopen the first week of February after closing in November.

The obstetrics unit in Bathurst is set to reopen in February. (Vitalité Health Network)

While the palliative care shutdown was the second hospital unit closed recently in northern New Brunswick, Roy said the reasons behind both are separate.

While the closure in Campbellton is due to a temporary staffing shortage, the Bathurst closure is a more long-term staffing problem, she said.

"The training for obstetrics is more acute and it's longer," said Roy.

"If we have some person absent for maternity leave or sick leave or other reasons … to recruit the new nurses and to do the all the training, it take a few weeks or a few months."

Nursing schools

Roy said recruiting nurses to work in Campbellton is difficult, partially because there is no nursing school in the area.

Johanne Roy, Vitalité Health Network's vice-president of clinical services, says the health authority is working on attracting more nurses to the region.

She said in places that have a nursing school, like Moncton or Edmundston, nursing students do their training in the local hospital. That allows the hospital to make connections with young nurses, something the Campbellton hospital can't do, she said.

Roy said Vitalité is looking at how it can attract more nurses to smaller hospitals in the province.

"We have to modify our strategies and maybe be more proactive or look at the international recruitment maybe," said Roy.

"There's many options on the table now."

With files from Shift New Brunswick

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