NSMC News Releases
SALEM–Salem Hospital has received approval from the Department of Public Health to add 24 private patient rooms, netting the hospital an additional 13 medical-surgical beds, and improving the patient experience.
The new rooms will be created from existing shell space above the Pingree floor and are expected to open in early 2024. The improvement will increase Salem Hospital’s licensed beds from 199 to 212.
“Offering more private rooms is a significant improvement in our patients’ experience,” said David J. Roberts, MD, President of Salem Hospital. “The additional space enables us to admit patients more quickly from the emergency or operating rooms and cut down on wait times. It also enables us to convert our few remaining four-bed rooms into double rooms and provide more privacy for our patients and their visitors.”
As many health care facilities across the country, Salem Hospital is facing steady, increased demand for medical and surgical admissions. Occupancy of Salem Hospital beds has increased from 79% in 2019, to regularly beyond 95% currently. The high occupancy rate has led to long wait times in the Emergency Department, due to a lack of available beds. These challenges have been fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic as well. Data from Salem Hospital shows the length of stay for admitted patients has increased since the onset of the pandemic, suggesting that those requiring inpatient care are sicker than they were previously.
“Patients who deferred care, particularly preventative care, are arriving at the hospital with more serious illnesses and therefore are occupying beds longer. That impacts the entire system. Add in the challenges we’ve had more recently with RSV and flu, we really see an adverse impact on wait times,” said Dr. Roberts. “The addition of even a small number of beds enables us to operate at a more reasonable occupancy rate and better meet the needs of the communities that rely on us.”
This latest expansion comes less than two months after Salem Hospital also opened a new 16-bed Acute Mental Health Unit for adult emergency behavioral health patients – an extension of the behavioral health service in the Emergency Department.
“We’re looking at every possible way to address capacity challenges and this is another example of that,” Dr. Roberts said.
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About Salem Hospital
Salem Hospital is a member of Mass General Brigham, an academic healthcare system founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital that is uniting great minds to make life-changing impact for patients in local communities and around the world. Serving the North Shore community for more than 100 years, Salem Hospital provides innovative medical, surgical and psychiatric care through an array of inpatient, outpatient and virtual settings including Salem Hospital, the Epstein Center for Behavioral Health, North Shore Physicians Group and a medical staff of nearly 700 physicians practicing in a wide range of specialties. For more information, please visit salem.massgeneralbrigham.org. For information about Mass General Brigham, visit massgeneralbrigham.org.