The Altenburger Klinikum closes the Palliative Care Unit at Schmölln

Altenburg / Schmölln. The Schmölln clinic is losing its only inpatient facility: the on-site palliative care unit is closed, as is the sleep laboratory. The offers are now to be permanently integrated at the Altenburger Klinikum, the site announced on Tuesday. Reason for this turning point: lack of staff.

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“Unfortunately, we have to realize that we cannot continue to run the Palliative Care Unit in the Schmölln area due to the constantly tense workforce,” said clinic manager Gundula Werner. He regrets the decision that could not have been foreseen a few months ago.

Investments were made in summer 2021.

In fact, investments in the station in the button town were made in the summer of 2021. A large, barrier-free balcony has been added. Quality stay benefits for people with terminal illnesses who have spent one of the last stages of their lives in Schmölln with pain therapy, care and distraction. After all, that was the purpose of this facility on Robert-Koch-Strasse, which only opened in 2015. Patients should be cared for in an environment that, in spite of all the circumstances, ensures their quality of life and enjoyment.

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Location of the Schmölln clinic

However, with the outbreak of the crown pandemic, turbulent times began in the palliative care unit. It was closed several times because staff – including nurses – was needed at other stations in Altenburg. It was important to secure supplies. There have been re-openings in the meantime, reports hospital spokeswoman Christine Helbig. Most recently in September 2021. Just two months later, in November, it was over again. And although the management and staff were confident, there will be no further opening this time.

Schmöllner’s Palliative Care Unit becomes the Palliative Care Unit in Altenburg, Ward 31, instead of having eight places, there are five. Palliative team, consisting of the senior doctor Dr. Tina Große, a carer, therapist and psychologist, is reducing employment from 17 to 11 colleagues, although in recent years Schmöllner employees have already spent part of their working time in Altenburg.

Tina Große took over the management of the palliative care facility in Schmölln in the fall of 2021 and is currently leading the team in Altenburg.

Tina Große took over the management of the palliative care facility in Schmölln in the fall of 2021 and is currently leading the team in Altenburg.

The point is that palliative medicine should be spatially reintegrated into daily clinical practice at a prime location. Shorter distances, quick replacement in the event of staff shortages are advantages. Only under these conditions it is possible to provide services in this area. The isolated solution in the city of buttons can no longer be maintained. In fact, this has been the case since November. Because since the recent closure, palliative care patients in Altenburg have been cared for in Ward 31.

“They also have essential, quieter environments there,” says spokeswoman Helbig. “Palliative Medicine is in a separate area of ​​the ward that is otherwise handled with background noise adequately muted.” There would also be special equipment, such as a sofa bed for relatives. During the liquidation of the Schmöllner rooms, further changes should take place: some of the furniture will be replaced.

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The sleep lab is moving too

The sleep lab also needs to be moved completely. According to the hospital management, diagnostics will probably be offered from September 14 – both on an outpatient basis and for patients at the clinic.

And there will be more changes in the future. Like other hospitals, the Altenburger Klinikum faces the challenge of progressive outpatient inpatient care. More and more care services can and should be provided without hospitalization. Less bed occupancy means a reduction in the time-consuming shift system. This applies not only to palliative medicine.

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