Local health leaders address hospital wait times

Emergency room
Emergency room(WANF)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 5:19 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Across the U.S., Americans are waiting longer to get care at hospitals. Sometimes, the wait is at least two or three hours.

According to leadership at OSF HealthCare, there are multiple reasons for the increase in wait times. Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Croland says they’re seeing more COVID patients, people with respiratory illnesses, and trauma cases.

Croland says another reason for the influx of patients is the closure of nearby hospitals, such as Saint Margaret’s in Peru, which shut down earlier this year.

“We’re able to move resources around to be able to support those increases in volume,” she said. “So, we have shifted nursing resources to the Peoria-area more recently to account for the increased volume that we’re seeing here.”

At Carle Health, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Samer Sader says they’re experiencing some staffing challenges -- like most emergency rooms across the country -- but they’re doing better in recruitment efforts compared to a year ago. He calls their wait times “reasonable.”

25News asked how the hospital handles patients during a lockdown.

“Being in a lockdown does not mean we turn away patients whatsoever,” he said. “It does limit the access points to the hospital to protect patients and team members and we do a couple of things differently as a procedure to maintain the safety, but that’s it. We don’t turn away anyone.”

Leaders at both OSF and Carle say sicker patients and those experiencing an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, always get priority. That can create longer wait times for people who are not experiencing an emergency. They urge those patients to contact their primary care doctor, or take advantage of Carle’s Express Care or OSF’s on-call services.