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Health: Ontario patients facing up to 45-hour wait times for hospital beds

Ontario Just Updated Its 'Plan To Stay Open' & These 5 Things Are Coming

  Ontario Just Updated Its 'Plan To Stay Open' & These 5 Things Are Coming Over-the-counter children's fever and pain medicine is in short supply across Canada, prompting some hospitals to recommend getting a prescription just in case. However, pharmacists are telling caregivers not to panic and to stop stockpiling.

Patients in Ontario hospitals endured the longest wait for beds and emergency room care since data began in 2008, according to a leaked Ontario Health report.

Paramedics transfer patients to the emergency room triage but have no choice but to leave them in the hallway due to an at capacity emergency room at the Humber River Hospital January 25, 2022. © Provided by National Post Paramedics transfer patients to the emergency room triage but have no choice but to leave them in the hallway due to an at capacity emergency room at the Humber River Hospital January 25, 2022.

The agency’s five-page “access to care” report presents historical data for hospital chiefs and other stakeholders to review.

The document, which runs up the month of September, shows that ER length of stay, wait for an inpatient bed and ambulance offload times were at its worst level since at least 2008.

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Nine out of ten patients in the province waited up to 45 hours for a hospital bed in September, the data shows. The increase was about one more hour than the month before and came despite a 5.1 per cent drop in the volume of patients compared to one year earlier.

The internal report was published by the Ontario Liberals, who have challenged the effectiveness of the Ford government’s interventions to manage the province’s ongoing healthcare crisis.

“What we’re seeing is that the health-care system isn’t just getting worse, it’s getting worse faster,” Dr. Adil Shamji, an emergency room physician and Liberal MPP (Don Valley East), told National Post. “The rate of deterioration, on so many different metrics, is actually accelerating.”

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  Seniors waiting in hospital beds for nursing home spots target of new law The Doug Ford government passed legislation Wednesday that will bring more pressure on seniors to vacate acute care beds if hospitals decide their needs can be better met in a nursing home. Under Bill 7, if a doctor determines a patient doesn’t require the “intensity of resources or services” provided in a hospital setting, a placement coordinator will search for the nearest available long-term care (LTC) bed deemed appropriate. “It’s about Under Bill 7, if a doctor determines a patient doesn’t require the “intensity of resources or services” provided in a hospital setting, a placement coordinator will search for the nearest available long-term care (LTC) bed deemed appropriate.

The report also says the length of stay for nine of ten patients in the ER was up to 12 hours, a 17 per cent increase from a year ago. The time to offload an ambulance was up to 90 minutes in September due to longer processing times, an increase of 52.5 per cent compared to a year earlier.

The number of emergency room patients waiting for hospital beds rose to 946 in September, up from 884 in August.

Shamji said the public deserves “transparency and accountability” on the state of the province’s health-care system and should not have to rely on leaked reports.

“They should be providing regular reports, and providing operational leadership explaining to us what is being done to address regional shortages or crisis as they appear in different parts of our province,” he said

Health Minister Sylvia Jones’ office issued a statement in which it blamed the Liberal government, saying Ontario’s health-care system was “mismanaged” for 15 years (The Liberals were last in power in 2018.)

Staffing and bed shortages are a source for concern in long term care: Riverside

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“Our government is not okay with the status quo,” spokesperson Hannah Jensen wrote.

“That’s why we have added over 12,000 health-care workers to the health-care system since the start of the pandemic. The second phase of our Plan to Stay Open will also add another 6,000 health-care workers to Ontario’s health workforce, free up over 2,500 hospital beds and expand models of care to avoid unnecessary visits to emergency departments.”

Shamji said while the Ford government touts the number of nurses coming into the profession, it must also address the ones who are leaving.

The report makes a “strong case” and describes the stark reality of what emergency room doctors and nurses are facing, said Atul Kapur, an emergency room physician in Ottawa and co-chair of the Public Affairs Committee for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians.

“There’s been issues with emergency overcrowding for years,” he said, adding that while “the pandemic didn’t cause these problems, it just really put a lot of stress on the fractures, and it led to open breaks in the system.”

Area ER warning: Already over capacity, under pressure, St. Thomas hospital expects things to get worse

  Area ER warning: Already over capacity, under pressure, St. Thomas hospital expects things to get worse With COVID-19 case counts rising and flu season looming, the shortage of beds and long wait times at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital could worsen this winter, officials warned Thursday. The hospital issued a statement asking the public to maintain health and safety measures and avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room as it grapples with the fallout of a staffing crunch, high occupancy rates and an increasing number of patients with COVID-19. “Currently, we’re over capacity,” said Karen Davies, the hospital’s president and chief executive. “This has been a long-standing issue with the pandemic for sure.

Often in his emergency department, which has 40 beds, there are more admitted patients than there are beds, Kapur said.

“I’m seeing patients in my urgent care side, who I should be examining in a stretcher. It’s not good care for them, and it also increases the wait time for everyone else,” he added. “There’s very little privacy. Confidentiality concerns occur and there are sometimes questions of ‘Am I able to fully and properly assess the patient?”

With the early arrival of the flu season this year, Kapur said the problem has already worsened since September.

Under this strain, nurses, who already have a “tough job,” also deal with verbal, and sometimes physical, abuse, Kapur said. Many are leaving the profession altogether, he added.

Both Shamji and Kapur say repealing Bill 124, which caps salary increases for public sector workers to one per cent for three years and incentives for retired workers to return are positive steps in the short term.

“Credentialing international graduates is going to take time. Your biggest immediate pool of potential workers are those who have recently left,” said Kapur. Dealing with issues of abuse, getting rid of mandatory overtime could improve working conditions and help retain staff.

Despite the challenges facing the health-care sector, Kapur said he hopes no patient feels discouraged from visiting the emergency room.

“If they’re concerned about their health or their loved ones’ health, it may take time, but we want to see them, we want to help them.”

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