Des Moines, Iowa— Local emergency rooms are currently experiencing heavy volumes of patients and long wait times due to a large number of cases of influenza, resulting in increased admissions at metro hospitals. In order to ensure access for the seriously ill, and to protect patients and health care staff, Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines (Central, West Lakes and Franklin campuses), Iowa Health – Des Moines hospitals (Methodist, Lutheran, Blank Children’s and Methodist West) and Broadlawns Medical Center are asking community members to refrain from visiting emergency rooms for non-emergent medical care.
Individuals experiencing non-life-threatening illnesses who need to see a doctor today and are unable to get an appointment with their primary health care provider are encouraged to seek treatment from a local urgent care or walk-in clinic. Information regarding local clinics can be found online at www.broadlawns.org, www.iowahealth.org and www.mercydesmoines.org. A listing of free clinics is also available at www.idph.state.ia.us or the public can contact their County Health Department for additional information.
In an effort to protect patients, families and health care staff, visitors to Mercy Medical – Des Moines and Iowa Health – Des Moines facilities will be limited. These restrictions are temporary for the flu season and are subject to change as necessary. The visitor limitations include:
No more than two visitors at a time.
Visitors need to be 18 years of age and older.
Exceptions may be made for cases involving critically-ill patients or end-of-life situations.
The following guidelines should be used in order to help prevent the spread of illness:
Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizing gel frequently.
Remember to cough and/or sneeze into your arm or shoulder or use a tissue. The spread of germs can be reduced by coughing into your clothing. Avoid covering your mouth with your hands, as the germs can easily be passed through direct contact with surfaces or people.
If you are treated by a doctor, be sure to ask how long it will take until you no longer pose an infection risk to others.
If you have not already received the flu vaccination, contact your local health care provider or County Health Department to make arrangements to receive the vaccine.
The Des Moines area hospitals remain ready and available to answer any questions and provide medical services should you need them. Thank you in advance for your assistance during this busy time.
Amy Varcoe, Iowa Health - Des Moines
(515) 205-6090 cell
Gregg Lagan, Mercy Medical Center
(515) 229-1546 cell
Mikki Stier, Broadlawns Medical Center
(515) 988-6780 cell