ICUs in Critical Condition

Data and Metrics

/* This is NOT a drill : ICUs in critical condition */

🏥 1 in 4 U.S. hospitals report worrisome ICU bed occupancy levels, up from 1 in 10 from June

As AP reports, “a maxed-out ICU can become a staffing and logistical nightmare.” Staff shortages are particularly acute in many places. At one hospital in Georgia, for example, the CEO is working the patient floors, helping turn COVID patients from their backs to their stomachs to get more oxygen.

🏥 ICU capacity strain threatens access to and quality of critical care for ALL conditions, not just COVID-19…

…..think heart attacks, car accidents, broken bones and burst appendices (among many others!)

🏥 Hospitals delay “elective” surgeries when ICUs fill up, converting recovery beds to ICU beds.

Becker’s Hospital review keeps an updated list of hospitals postponing surgical procedures (link below). What counts as “elective?” A few examples: Hip and knee replacements; hernia and gall bladder removals; bariatric procedures.

A Nerdy Note:

ICU capacity is a precious public health resource. We must protect it as such. Deep gratitude to our frontline health care heroes, who continue to march on in the face of tragedy and burnout. And thanks to everyone in the Dear Pandemic community for continuing to use your #SMARTS.

With love,
Your Nerdy Girls

Note: This post is in memory of Alabama antiques dealer Ray DeMonia, who died earlier this month while his care providers searched for an open ICU bed without success. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

Want a deeper dive? Great references below…..

AP explainer: What happens when an ICU reaches capacity?

One in four hospitals at/past ICU capacity:

The New York Times

Becker’s Hospital Review

Optimal ICU occupancy literature review, including cites on high occupancy levels threatening care access + quality (clinical evidence review)

Becker’s list of hospitals delaying “elective” surgery

Types of surgeries being delayed

In memory of Ray DeMonia

Earlier DP post on (ICU and non-ICU) hospital strain, a related metric

Use your #SMARTS:
S pace. More is better.
M ask. Keep it on.
A irflow Outside or well-ventilated indoor spaces are best.
R estrict Keep your indoor socializing bubble small.
T ime Keep interactions short when able.
S hots Get vaccinated.

Link to Original FB Post