Colorado is activating crisis standards for hospital staffing care

DENVER (KDVR) – Staff shortages at Colorado hospitals have officially reached a state of emergency.

The state on Tuesday activated its crisis standards for healthcare care, which it says will allow hospitals to treat more patients. The crisis standards for care are “guidelines for how the medical community should allocate scarce resources,” according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Activating Crisis Standards for Staff Care “enables hospitals to implement staffing solutions to best meet the growing medical needs of their communities.” CDPHE said in a statement. “By activation, these healthcare standards for staffing healthcare systems can be implemented to best manage the current influx of patients in need of care for COVID-19 or any other disease.”

What does activating the crisis standards for hospital care mean?

Though the crisis standards for care may apply to resources such as intensive beds or fans, this applies specifically in this case for staffing.

What this means is that hospitals suffering from capacity constraints can implement the standards to do things like can change the relationship between staff and patient, according to the state. Staff can be cross-trained for other positions and learn new skills.

It allows hospitals to take steps to alleviate staff burnout, such as reducing meetings, administrative responsibilities and documentation requirements for healthcare professionals. Hospitals can also adjust staffing plans to help minimize fatigue.

Hospitals could also choose to pause elective procedures – in addition to the existing ones nationwide stop to cosmetic procedures – due to relocated staff.

What affects staff at Colorado hospitals?

IN a note about the activation, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France that healthcare professionals have been affected by:

  • Covid-19 disease
  • increased workload due to hospitals working on capacity
  • staff burnout

Colorado hospitals had already reached a critical point on October 31, when Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order on patient transfers. The order enables the highest level available to manage patient transfers, enabling facilities to relocate patients, including non-COVID-19 patients, to address capacity issues.

Police too issued a nationwide halt to cosmetic procedures in six months.


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