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UCHealth Memorial receives multiple shipments of beds in preparation for possible surge of patients needing to be hospitalized with COVID-19

Dec. 8, 2020

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 8, 2020) – UCHealth Memorial Hospital 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).

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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 – more than double the surge seen in April, when no more than 60 COVID 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 differ from regular hospital beds in that they allow patients to be placed in varying 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.

Taylor cautioned that hospital capacity – a topic he’s regularly asked about – is often mistakenly associated strictly with equipment, such as beds.

“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.’’

About UCHealth

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. UCHealth includes 25,000 employees, 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth is dedicated to providing unmatched patient care in the Rocky Mountain West. Offering more than 150 clinic locations, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.

Contact: Cary Vogrin
carolyn.vogrin@uchealth.org
719.365.2878