Flu's Impact on Anderson Hospital and Community

This year’s severe strain of the influenza virus is shaping up to create one of the worst flu seasons in recent history.  To put this season’s flu epidemic into perspective locally, Anderson Hospital compared flu stats from the months of December in 2016 and 2017.  In 2016, there were 49 positive flu swabs out of 351 collected at Anderson Hospital.  In 2017, there were 1179 positive flu swabs out of 4848 collected.  “That’s a 96% increase in the number of positive flu swabs and a 93% increase in the number collected,” said Doris Driscoll, RN, Infection Control Nurse at Anderson.  “The other part of this story, besides the sheer numbers, is the acuity of the patients is much higher this season.”

Because of the widespread flu and other illnesses, we are currently experiencing limited bed capacity to accommodate patients.  The Emergency Department is also experiencing large surges of patients.   “While near peak census, available beds continue to fluctuate as patients are discharged and admitted,” said Lisa Klaustermeier, Chief Nursing Officer.  “We’ve taken proactive steps to manage this influx of patients by thinking outside the box.”

One of those measures includes instituting a Manpower Pool.  “We are requiring that all management staff report any available staff members that can be utilized in another department,” said Robin Steinmann, Administrative Director of Human Resources.  “Our employees, both clinical and nonclinical, may be asked to assist in patient care areas and/or other departments.” 

“Any employee who is deployed to another area to assist staff will receive an orientation/training from that department that will allow them to help in the most efficient and safe way possible within their skill set,” said Lisa Klaustermeier, Chief Nursing Officer.  “This is yet another example of how our hospital works as a team to provide the best patient care possible!”

Our community can help too!  Please respect the visitor restrictions we have in place.  The restrictions protect our patients and staff from outside germs, and they protect visitors from leaving the hospital with germs!    With the influx of patients in our ER, we have seen entire families coming in for one patient to be seen.  By doing this, you risk exposing well people to sick people.   By keeping the ER visit to just the patient and their designee, you can greatly reduce the spread of germs.

As with any non-life threatening illness or injury, please consider using one of our four ExpressCare locations.   Our Glen Carbon and Collinsville locations have an online scheduling option and information on all four locations can be found on our website @ andersonhospital.org