Evolution of intensive care unit capacity and human resources after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: a survey performed by the Trade Union of Intensive Care Physicians
Keywords:COVID-19, Intensive care unit, capability ressources
In the spring of 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed enormous strain on intensive care units (ICUs) in France. France experienced an unparalleled health and societal crisis due to pandemia. The surge of ICU patients peaked at 7000 patients in April 10. Operating rooms, post-operative care rooms, coronary care units, stroke units, intermediate care units were converted into ICUs.
After this first wave, proposals have been made to optimize the organization of critical care. In this context, we conducted a survey addressed to intensive care unit, to produce an overview of the situation. The main objective was to determine whether the measures claimed by the caregivers and displayed by the executive were effective.
We conducted a declarative survey to establish the evolution of numbers of beds and the health care workforce before and after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in France. We were able to demonstrate that none of the additional beds opened during the first outbreak wave were sustained. We observe in a disturbing way that 13% of the 114 responder units point out that the ratio of one nurse to 2.5 patients is not respected due to a lack of trained and available staff. These evidences confirm that no decisions have been taken to improve a historically and cyclically deficit capability. France should align ICU resources to those of other countries with recognizing the specific competencies of ICU, increasing medical and paramedical staff resources.