Windsor Regional Hospital’s CEO applauded frontline workers on Thursday while warning of further strain on the health-care system anticipated this fall.
During the hospital board’s annual general meeting, held virtually again this year, David Musyj said frontline staff “were the story” of the past fiscal year.
“Their dedication, focus, caring and professionalism is what resulted in a successful year considering all that faced them,” Musyj said.
“I keep trying to remind the public our frontline staff are human, meaning they have lives outside of this hospital. They share similar stresses of life that many have encountered these past two years.”
The hospital has close to 10 per cent more staff on the front lines now than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset. However, the hospital is not seeing the “typical summer reprieve” — demand for medical care historically drops during warm months.
“We are seeing greater than 100 per cent census with some 53 more beds open than pre-COVID,” Musyj said. “Our system is stressed. We’re concerned what is heading for us in the fall.
“We’re planning for the worst as best we can. The case care hospital cannot happen soon enough.”
Dr. Wassim Saad, the hospital’s chief of staff, said that while Windsor Regional has lost some staff to retirements “due to the stress of the pandemic,” it has also “recruited many professional staff members over the past year.”
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Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation Chair Beth Ann Prince said the foundation was able to raise $3.6 million in the last fiscal year “despite some significant challenges” from the pandemic.
“The funds have been used to purchase (for) virtually every program in the hospital,” Prince said. That includes “major investments” in the neonatal intensive care unit, operating rooms, the cardiac care unit, high-low beds for patient rooms, and more.