OAHHS Hospital Voice Fall/Winter 2021-22

15 Fall/Winter 2021-22 hit, “we were seeing deaths on a weekly basis which we just don’t see,” La Rochelle said. “Our staff is not used to that. We’re not a terminal-care facility. We’re a make-you-get-better-and-gohome facility.” In addition, the staff at Grande Ronde, midway between Portland and Boise, became more shorthanded as the spread of COVID in the surrounding community of 25,000 forced workers to stay home to quarantine, La Rochelle said. “So, we were pushing on staffing anyway, and now you add, all of a sudden, 20% of your staff is out because they’ve had a contact exposure somewhere out in the community”—there was only one known case of patient-to-staff infection—“and now those that are left have even more work, and more patients.” Having up to ten Guard members, while one of the smaller hospital mission contingents, made a huge difference at Grande Ronde, La Rochelle said. Prior to the surge, her hospital was seeing between eight and 20 people a day with COVID-related symptoms. Then those numbers more than doubled, to between 30 and 60, putting the rural hospital on the brink of having to care for COVID patients only—and possibly postpone surgeries and other non-COVID-related treatments. continues  “When I talk to my team about what’s the biggest impact—aside from, of course, the help with logistics and stuff like that—what’s been the biggest impact of the National Guard, I can tell you, it’s just that morale boost. The way they just came in and were willing to do anything to help out with a smile on their face.” Elva Sipin, VP of Operations, PeaceHealth Sacred Heart at Riverbend