Hasbro Children's ED under capacity strain from COVID-19, mental health crisis

The emergency department at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., is experiencing overcrowding fueled by a rise in COVID-19 cases and treatment for mental health issues, The Boston Globe reported May 19. 

"We are seeing record volumes of children coming to [the hospital's] ED. Please call your pediatrician if possible before coming to the ER as they may be able to care for your child, even after hours or on the weekend," Jay Schuur, MD, the hospital's physician-in-chief of emergency medicine, said in a recent tweet

The National Emergency Department Overcrowding Scale estimates the severity of capacity strain in emergency units on a scale with a maximum of 200, which is labeled a "disaster." As of the morning on May 19, Hasbro Children's ED score was 200, a spokesperson with Lifespan, which operates the hospital, told the Boston Globe. 

Hasbro Children's ED is the only pediatric ED in the state, and children with non-urgent needs and their families can expect wait times up to seven hours, The Providence Journal reports. Hospital officials told the news outlet staffing shortages are also contributing to the overcrowding. 

Psychiatric facilities in Rhode Island have been short on inpatient beds for several months, leaving mental health patients stuck in emergency rooms as they await treatment. There have been an average of two dozen people waiting in the ER for inpatient behavioral health treatment daily since June 2020, according to state data cited by the Boston Globe. 


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