COLORADO SPRINGS — UCHealth Memorial Hospital has received a shipment of 30 rental ICU beds last week to prepare for a possible increase in patients who are admitted to the hospital and need critical care due to COVID-19. In all, the hospital rented 52 ICU beds in recent weeks for a potential surge of patients in the days to come.
In addition to the rental cost of more than $257,000, the hospital paid $410,000 to purchase an additional 51 traditional hospital beds, which arrived from Indiana via two semis early Tuesday morning (Dec. 8).
As of Tuesday morning, UCHealth hospitals in the Pikes Peak region were caring for more than 140 patients with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 infection. that's more than double the surge seen in April, when no more than 60 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized at one time.
“Our team prepares all day, every day for how we can best care for patients who need our help,” said Merle Taylor, chief operating officer of UCHealth Memorial and the hospital’s incident commander for COVID-19. “The numbers we are seeing are unprecedented, and our concern is to ensure we have the equipment and staff to meet the demand.”
ICU beds are different than regular hospital beds because they allow patients to be placed in different positions to help respiratory and circulatory functions. The beds are also electric and have specialized gel mattresses to reduce pressure wounds that can result when someone is in bed for long periods of time.
The hospital is also renting other equipment necessary to care for COVID-19 patients with critical needs, totaling over 800 individual devices including IV pumps and accessories, feeding pumps, and ventilators.
“When people talk about hospital capacity, the real issue is staffing and ensuring we have the caregivers necessary to care for patients,” Taylor said. “We can add beds and find space, but the critical key is our workforce – having enough nurses and respiratory therapists to care for the increase in patients. We ask everyone to wash your hands, wear a mask and avoid gatherings. This is the best way to safeguard the health of our employees and reduce risk of community-related exposure.’’