Abbotsford Regional Hospital bursting at the seams: BC Nurses’ Union


“Nurses are crying … they are so fed up and tired”


Abbotsford Regional Hospital
Photo: Fraser Health

THE BC Nurses’ Union on Wednesday said that there were scenes of congestion chaos once again this weekend in Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s ER and demanded the Fraser Health Authority and provincial government do more to prepare for the flu season and acknowledge the impact the congestion is having on patients, nurses and health care staff.

Over the weekend, patients were faced with an eight-hour wait to see a doctor at ARH, while dozens of hallway patients lined the corridors and various medical units of the hospital. BCNU has also been told that a patient was placed in a shower room due to the congestion.

“Nurses are crying in the break room, they are so fed up and tired,” said BCNU Acting President Christine Sorensen. “On Friday, there were 57 patients admitted to the ER. Those are numbers that would be hard for any hospital to manage. This isn’t the first time Fraser Health has seen conditions like this, and yet, they don’t seem to be able to manage the problem.”

In fact, severe backups are occurring at hospitals in Langley, Surrey and Ridge Meadows as a result of the holidays and the flu season. BCNU is strongly opposed to hallway nursing and believes it poses a risk to both patients and nurses.

“The practice of keeping patients in hallways is a concern when it comes to infection control,” said Sorensen. “It almost always means a lack of privacy for patients and limited access to bathrooms and sinks. It’s unacceptable and unsafe.”

BCNU has made ongoing appeals and recommendations to Fraser Health to address concerns around baseline staffing, unsafe patient ratios and hallway patients. While Sorensen acknowledges some improvements have been made, she says it’s unacceptable for patients to receive care in this manner at any time of the year.

“We see spikes in admissions around every flu season,” said Sorensen. “It’s time Fraser Health manages this problem and takes a closer look at recruitment and retention issues in the entire health authority.”