Abstract for: The impact of shifting priorities during COVID-19 with aging population: exploring the importance of the PACU unit.

Postanesthetic care unit (PACU) employees have a key role in the surgery center of a hospital; they take care of patients directly after receiving surgical procedures. In this situation scheduling of both staff and patients is very dynamic and complex. The nature of the PACU employees skillset contributes strongly to upscaling the intensive care unit during the covid pandemic. Consequently, the short-term gain of the higher intensive care unit (ICU) capacity may have a long-term downside. Non-critical surgical procedures will be postponed and may cause deterioration of patient’s heath. Overtime non-critical becomes critical. According to our exploratory research, employee wellbeing and PACU capacity decisions may directly influence hospital performance. Although further research is needed, our research suggests that shifting priorities by upscaling the ICU capacity at the expense of the PACU capacity may have far reaching consequences.