The emergency service of the Gesa Hospital in Hasselt is seeing a very large influx of patients. Compared to the same period in 2019, there is a 20 percent increase in the number of patients. Starting Monday, the emergency will call eight volunteers who can help the nurses with non-care tasks. It appears that it is “time for a booster vaccine among healthcare staff and physicians”.
The observed influx of patients is due in part to the fourth wave of unvaccinated people with Covid complaints and delayed care: critically ill patients who have not had an annual check-up with their doctor or specialist in recent months. In addition, there are a lot of people who suffer from alcohol intoxication, which increases the workload significantly, it seems.
“The pressure on the entire emergency team is exceptionally high, just as it is in the rest of the hospital. And after that, winter and flu season still have to start,” says Medical Director Jose Vandekerkoff. “There are two elements that cause additional frustration: the drunks who come in at night and cause a disturbance. Our nurses who have to help with a seriously ill can really miss that. Then there are more and more unvaccinated patients coming in with Covid complaints. I understand very well that the nurse who is exposed The pressure is facing great difficulty in this matter.”
Jessa Hospital is asking the government to make a quick decision to give healthcare staff and doctors the third (booster) vaccination. “Vaccinated health care workers who get sick after infection is a reality and we really need to prevent it,” Vandekerkhof says. “We have to monitor continuity of care carefully.”
Starting Monday, Jessa will be deploying eight emergency support volunteers. They will perform a number of tasks in the margins of care, such as receiving patients and their supervisor. Hospital East Limburg (ZOL) in Genk also reports that the emergency department is getting busier, but there is still enough staff available.
From the bakery to the emergency room
Packer Tom Smit (60) of Herentals will be the first volunteer to start on Monday. “Two years ago, I actually had the job of my life with Jessa.”
In addition to his full-time job as a pastry chef, Tom has been active as a volunteer in the Herentals fire brigade for thirty years. “Two years ago I started working as an ambulance driver at Jesa Hospital to expand transportation between hospitals,” he says. “This was my life’s work.” When he saw that volunteers were being sought, he did not hesitate for a second. “I will be half a day a week in the emergency department as a point of contact for patients and their families,” he says. Investigations can sometimes take a long time, and some people may become nervous. But then I’d be there to inquire with the doctors how long it would take or what exactly would happen. This way I can reassure people a little.” In addition, he will also be the first to take in a lot of people in emergency situations. “I realize that there will sometimes be difficult stories, but I have also been an ambulance driver in the fire service for ten years. I tested and saw everything there. I can handle that.”(b, village)