Athalassa Mental Health Hospital is grappling with a range of problems affecting the quality of care for patients and the working conditions for staff.
These issues include overcrowding, ageing building facilities, and understaffing, which have all created a challenging environment for healthcare professionals and patients alike.
In an announcement today, the Pan-Cyprian Nurses Association (Pasyno) voiced concerns about the hospital’s overcrowding, reporting that some patients sleep on couches, underscoring the severity of the overcrowding issue.
Dometios Skouroupathis, a representative of mental health nurses, commented on the situation at Athalassa Hospital, noting that the hospital operates at 120% of its capacity.
“How can someone receive proper quality care when they are in a room with five other people?” he asked.
Necessary to hire social workers
Pasyno considers it essential to recruit social workers, to whom patients can be referred after their treatment. “Social workers will assist in the rehabilitation of patients who are in the hospital and who have finished their treatment at a medical level. Right now there are 20-30 patients inside the hospital who could be helped by social workers,” Skouroupathis said.
The absence of social workers puts more of a burden on the nurses, he explained, as they have to deal with various state services on behalf of the patient, such as for benefit applications and housing, among others.
Creating intermediate facilities
At the same time, Skouroupathis stressed the importance of creating intermediate state structures to aid in the decongestion of the Athalassa Hospital.
These facilities, he explained, could house patients who are not yet ready to leave on their own after treatment.
Construction of a new hospital
The construction of a new hospital, located next to the Athalassa Hospital, is expected to provide some solutions to the problems.
According to Skouroupathis, the first phase, which will include a men’s admission clinic, a women’s admission clinic, a treatment unit for addicts and outpatient clinics, will be ready in June 2024. Upon completion, the building will have a capacity of 150 beds, a number which Skouroupathis believes will not be enough to cover the needs of the hospital as admissions have been rising in the past years.
At the same time, Skouroupathis touched upon the importance of staffing the hospital with enough skilled professionals.
Concluding, he stressed the role played by nurses. “We have to cope with the issue of overcrowding, understaffing, and poor facilities. However, we are there, doing our best, aiming to be professional and cover the lack of other social services”.