Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay has received a $1,464,000 shot in the arm to maintain critical system capacity during the regular holiday surge and flu season.
The one-time funding comes from the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). The hospital says for the last 18 months it has been experiencing “higher than normal” patient volumes and they expect to open extra beds during the Christmas holidays next month.
“Back in July, we had an episode in our hospital, in-which, we were at 126 per cent capacity. We were operating 199 beds with only 158 funded,” said Dr. Bert Lauwers, hospital president and CEO.
“This funding will support the costs associated with opening 12 beds over our regular bed capacity,” added Lauwers. “Often when we need to open more beds to support high patient volumes, the costs to bring in the extra staff to care for those patients are over and above our regular funding.
“This new one-time funding allows us to open these extra beds with the confidence that funding is available. We’re very grateful for this support.”
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott says the surge in funding over the next eight months will help the hospital manage higher demand during the upcoming flu season.
“One of our government’s core commitments is to reduce hospital overcrowding and end hallway health care,” she said.
“The capacity issues that Ross Memorial Hospital is regularly experiencing are very concerning and we are working hard to ensure that they are receiving the resources needed to address this ongoing challenge. This surge funding is a first step in our ongoing commitment to end hallway health care at Ross Memorial and across the province.”
The Central East LHIN says the extra money allows for “proactive planning” and the ability to open beds and reduce so-called “hallway health care” with extended wait periods, especially for alternate level of care (ALC) patients in the hospital. They are patients who no longer require acute care but are waiting for a bed to open in another facility.
“During the holiday season and throughout the year, Central East LHIN front-line care co-ordinators are available seven days a week and along with their hospital and Community Support Service agency partners make every effort to ensure that resources are in place to support a patient to ultimately go home when discharged from hospital,” stated Amorell Saunders N’Daw, Central East LHIN acting board chair. “This includes providing information, access to qualified care providers and other comprehensive services.”
The hospital says the emergency department team is preparing for a patient surge beginning around Boxing Day and continuing into March.