The Lake of the Woods Hospital has lost its bid to extend its 1A bed crisis designation, which gave hospital in-patients priority for any long-term care beds that became available, the Miner & News reports. The crisis designation had already been extended once.
The hospital bed crisis began in February with 15 patients in hospital beds awaiting beds in long-term care homes. Hospital president Mark Balcaen said there are now13 such patients. A similar crisis in 2010 was lifted when eight such patients remained at the hospital.
"We have serious bed shortages within the hospital and we have a very large number of people awaiting a bed in town. The 1A status is about the only thing available to us to help alleviate the bed problems at the hospital," Balcaen said. "What we feel is appropriate here — and we thought the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) had agreed as well — is we were in crisis when we had eight or more patients."
Hospital chief of staff Dr. Kerry MacDonald says, "It seems the Ministry (of Health & LTC) and the Local Health Integration Network do not like A1 status because it is embarrassing and it ought to be embarrassing. If it does end, I have no understanding on what basis the LHIN is making this judgement. We are in a marginally better situation than when we went into A1 Crisis status but our acute beds remain at virtually 100 per cent occupancy... I can see us coming into gridlock with patients in the emergency room that we can not find beds for if this changes just a little bit."
It's good to see some hospital leaders still have enough guts to speak up for their local communities. Many don't.
OCHU Area 7 vice-president Judy Bain says, "This is devastating. We are operating at 100%, but we are only staffed for about 80%. We need to find a permanent resolution. We shouldn't have to keep going back and beg for favours. Now we even have to ship some angio patients to Hamilton. Is that good care? It's getting hard to go to work."
A LHIN spokesperson called the reduction of Alternate Level of Care patients in the hospital over the past eight weeks "substantial" and committed to working with "key stakeholders on local strategies."