FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – JPS Health Network has declared a Code Yellow situation because of a higher than usual demand for Emergency Department services.

According to Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Wanda Peebles, JPS has experienced an Emergency Department patient volume about 25 percent higher than typical since Saturday.

She said there is no single health concern that has caused the sudden increase in demand, although there is a higher than usual requirement for Behavioral Health care.

“Normally, we average about 320 patients a day in the Emergency Department,” Peebles said. “We had one day in the last week during which we saw 423 patients.”

The JPS Emergency Department has 56 patient care rooms. Typically, each day 80 to 100 people are admitted to the hospital and 65 Behavioral Health patients are seen by Emergency Department personnel, according to Jesse DeWaard, Executive Director of Emergency Services at JPS.

JPS Hospital (access.tarrantcounty.com)

In order to address the additional patient demand, more staff is needed.

According to Director of Talent Acquisition Charlotte Williams, JPS has temporarily increased its sign-on bonus paid to new Emergency Department registered nurses to $10,000 from the $6,000 sign-on bonus paid to new RNs across the health network.

To further help alleviate the stress on the Emergency Department, Peebles said people who are dealing with a minor illness should consider instead visiting their primary care physician, an urgent care center or a JPS clinic for a walk-in appointment. That will not only free up space and personnel in ED, it will reduce their wait time for assistance.

“We never say no to anything that comes to our doors,” DeWaard said. “There are sick patients in Tarrant County and right now we are overwhelmed with them. We are seeing patients that have a lot of health problems and many of them need to be hospitalized.”

Additionally, to address the high demand for services, JPS has asked:

Team members from other departments to help the ED in any way possible including assisting in rounding up beds and wheelchairs
Patient sitters to work extra shifts
Team members who usually perform other roles are to be trained to be used as patient sitters until the need for additional help has subsided
Environmental Services to be diligent in turning over rooms when patients are discharged to make room as soon as possible for patients waiting for a bed

JPS said in its Tuesday news release on the matter, experienced registered nurses and candidates for other high-demand positions including patient sitters can call Human Resources at (817) 702-7389.