Are more convalescent hospital beds on the way? Windsor's proposal.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor is proposing a special unit to handle the Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients. (These are patients no longer receiving acute or complex continuing care.)

The hospital is applying to the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network for an ALC unit as a short-term fix to its overcrowding problem. The unit would provide dedicated beds for ALC patients.

Pat Somers, senior vice-president of patient services and chief nursing executive says the backlog of ALC patients creates "significant pressure for our system." and the "gridlock" hasn't cleared with flu season on the horizon.  "Our concern is that we will not be able to respond in the nimble manner that we would like."

As elsewhere, this is leading to backlogs in the hospital, starting with long waits in the Emergency Room.

Like most Ontario hospitals, bed occupancy is dangerously high at the Grace -- 98%.  The hospital's plans call for 90 per cent of its beds to be filled.

Hospitals in Cornwall and Sudbury have had some success of late with the establishment of beds for convalescing patients.  With the Ministry of Health and LTC's lack of interest in creating more LTC beds, this may be an opportunity for hospitals.


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