We keep hearing in the news that we have to be locked in our homes because the hospitals are all full. Someone leaked the hospitalization statistics. 

The secret here is this: In the ICU, there normally is a ratio of one nurse per patient. Therefore, for every empty bed, there is a nurse sitting there with nothing to do, and even if you assign that nurse to other duties, it is busy work. The same goes for all of the other professionals who would be providing services to that bed. To do otherwise would make the ICU into an overstaffed money pit filled with red ink. If the unit drops below 70% occupancy, the hospital loses money. So they do what any business does- they reduce capacity to match demand. Anyone who owns a restaurant knows what happens when it is slow- you send servers and kitchen staff home. Hospitals are no different- they try to keep the ICU at 75% or more of capacity so they can remain profitable by adding and subtracting beds from the ICU as needed. 

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Wayne · December 17, 2020 at 11:12 pm

ICU staffing where I work is normally 2:1 with some exceptions for the very sickest patients.

Divemedic · December 18, 2020 at 12:27 am

My point remains the same: they can constrict or expand the ICU as needed

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