FARMINGTON – As the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and other acute illnesses increases in Franklin County, Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) is again adapting to best serve its patients and community.
The surge in acutely ill patients needing hospitalization is being driven by large pockets of unvaccinated people in our community as well as people who put off care earlier in the pandemic. At the same time, an unprecedented labor shortage across the health care industry is making the situation worse.
FMH officials do not expect the situation to improve in the coming weeks and ask for support and understanding as the hospital shifts its care team members to where they are needed most. This will ensure that staffing and resources required to safely care for patients will continue.
“At this time, we plan to close most operating rooms to reduce non-emergent procedures to ensure that care team members are available for our most critically ill patients,” said Trampas Hutches, FMH president. “Patient and care team safety is our top priority, and this decision will preserve hospital beds and supplies to ensure that all critically ill patients receive the care they need. We will reevaluate our scheduled surgical cases on an ongoing basis.”
The hospital and emergency department will remain open to care for those in our community with life-threatening and serious conditions. Unforeseen and urgent surgeries and outpatient surgeries not requiring a hospital bed will continue to be scheduled during this period.
“Our primary care practices and specialty services are also redeploying staff to other areas to help expand access to acute care in the hospital. So patients may experience longer-than-normal wait times for care, and in some cases, appointments and procedures will be rescheduled or moved to a telehealth platform when appropriate,” said Hutches. “Your provider will be in touch should this situation impact your upcoming appointment.”
“Our care team members across the Franklin Community Health Network are resilient, nimble and compassionate. They are all working unbelievably hard,” said Hutches. “Please thank them. Your kindness goes a long way and makes a difference.”
Franklin Memorial Hospital is unfortunately not alone in having to make these decisions. Services are being curtailed throughout the MaineHealth system and at other health care systems across the state.
Dr. Ross Isacke, chief medical officer for Franklin Community Health Network (FCHN), stated, “Please stay safe by following CDC guidance for protecting yourself and others. Wear a mask in public places, practice social distancing, wash your hands often, and get tested early if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. And help prevent the spread of COVID by staying home in quarantine if you test positive.”
In closing, Dr. Isacke added, “If you haven’t already, get vaccinated or boosted. Choosing to get vaccinated will not only benefit you and your family, but our whole community by helping preserve hospital capacity during this challenging time.”