Bed shortage at Windsor Regional Hospital puts strain on nurses

Nurses at the hospital have been working overtime every day, according to the Ontario Nurses Association, which is raising concerns about burnout and quality of care.

For the past three weeks, the hospital has had - on average - 40 more patients than beds

(Windsor Regional Hospital)

The union representing Ontario nurses is raising concerns about staff burnout and quality of patient care as Windsor Regional Hospital enters a third straight week dealing with a bed shortage.

Several surgeries have been cancelled as the hospital grapples with overcrowding issues caused by an influx of patients throughout the hospital system.

The number of patients admitted over hospital capacity continued to climb Monday. Met campus was running at 109 per cent capacity while the Ouellette Campus was at 102 per cent, according to the latest figures. 

Staff have been working overtime every day, according to Vicki McKenna, vice-president with the Ontario Nurses' Association.

Vicki McKenna, vice-president of the Ontario Nursing Association. (CBC)

"At the front line, what the nurses are most worried about is their ability to continue to care for people properly," she said. "You have nurses working excessive overtime, trying to cover the bases."

Surgeries were cancelled due to the backlog of beds last week and McKenna said burnout has become a legitimate concern for staff.

"There comes a point when it's a risk situation, and that's what they're most worried about," she said. 

Admitting Desk at Windsor Regional Hospital Met Campus (Amy Dodge/CBC)

In a statement sent to CBC, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care highlighted investments the government has made to increase hospital funding and reduce wait times.

"We will continue to work with hospitals and communities to keep improving the level of care we provide to patients in Windsor and across this province," wrote David Jensen.