Care and coordination: Inside a patient relocation

Wellness
An empty hospital bed

Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital sees numbers of patients admitted every day. But impacts from flooding in Georgetown have created a first – more than two dozen patients have been relocated to Tidelands Waccamaw from Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital 22 miles away.
It’s the first time Tidelands Health has moved all inpatients from one of its hospitals to the other.
Over the course of about 30 hours, a continuous stream of seven ambulances ferried 25 patients from Tidelands Georgetown to Tidelands Waccamaw, according to Ashley Capps, Tidelands Health associate vice president of nursing operations.
“We paced the move intentionally to distribute the patients safely for receiving clinicians and providers, to allocate appropriate resources to the emergency department and inpatient admissions and to also make sure discharge transportation needs were met,” Capps said.
Patients were moved because rising floodwaters in Georgetown will likely force the shutdown of the sewer station that serves Tidelands Georgetown. Hospital sewer lines cannot be used during a shutdown.
The Tidelands Georgetown emergency department remains open to serve the community.
Capps said the logistical plan of absorbing the additional inpatients at Tidelands Waccamaw has worked well.
“Some inpatients were integrated into our existing rooms and staffing mix, and we also opened and staffed two additional overflow units to accommodate Tidelands Georgetown patients,” she said.
Capps emphasized Tidelands Health facilities are prepared to serve the community throughout the flooding event and subsequent recovery. In addition to the ER at Tidelands Georgetown remaining open, Tidelands Waccamaw and the health system’s dozens of outpatient locations, including those in Georgetown, are continuing to see patients.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure the health needs of our community are met without interruption,” Capps said.

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