Provincial funding will support the return of the dedicated offload nurse program at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, Ont.
On Monday, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay announced the province is providing up to $195,000 in one-time funding for the 2023-2024 funding year to help support offloading ambulance patients in emergency departments.
The funding is part of the $51-million, three-year commitment the Ministry of Health announced in August for 30 municipalities. It’s estimated to support 800,000 dedicated hours of offloading time to help paramedics to return to the community faster.
“The investment in this program will help reduce ambulance offload times at Ross Memorial Hospital, while increasing ambulance availability, and improving access to emergency health care services across Kawartha Lakes,” stated Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott.
Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service chief Sara Johnston says they are working with Ross Memorial to implement the program which will allow for a dedicated staff member to absorb patients that come in by ambulance when a hospital bed within the emergency department is not immediately available.
“Our paramedics have been very fortunate to work with the Ross,” she said. “They already do a great job of offloading patients as efficiently as possible but when demand exceeds availability, they need assistance.
“This funding will help alleviate some of the pressure on them and allow our paramedics to get back on the road to serve our residents faster.”
In May 2022, the paramedic service and hospital launched a Fit2Sit program that allows paramedics, in consultation with emergency department (ED) triage nurse, to transfer low-acuity patients directly to the ED waiting room.
Ross Memorial president and CEO Kelly Isfan says “championing system improvements” is a key strategy and the offload nurses program fits the mould.
“We are thrilled to work with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service. This Dedicated Offload Nurses Program funding provides more resources for patient care within our Emergency Department and will support quicker transfers of care from paramedics to our team,” said Kelly Isfan, president and CEO of Ross Memorial Hospital.