Cornwall, Ontario, January 21, 2014 – With an increase in Emergency Department (ED) visits, physicians’ offices being closed over the holidays and strains of gastroenteritis, influenza and pneumonia circulating in the community, Cornwall Community Hospital is at its busiest with an occupancy rate of 126 per cent.
CCH is the largest community hospital within the Champlain LHIN, outside of Ottawa. As an integral partner in maintaining access to acute care across the region CCH not only provides acute care services to the community, but also accepts referrals from hospitals such as Glengarry Memorial Hospital (GMH) and Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH). As there are tertiary patient services that cannot be provided in Cornwall, the patients requiring tertiary care are transferred to another facility – typically The Ottawa Hospital – and CCH is expected to repatriate when the level of care can be appropriately managed in our facility. This becomes more difficult when our capacity is high, and transferring back to CCH may be delayed until an appropriate bed can be free.
Strategies to mitigate this overflow of patients include accommodating some in the hallway, transferring others, and cancelling some surgeries as a last resort, to free up the surgical beds. Once acute care services are no longer required, discharge plans are made to free up the bed as quickly as possible.
The acute care occupancy rate at CCH is well over 100%, with a daily average of 14 admitted patients in the Emergency Department, waiting for a bed. Since the beginning of January, there have been 18 unfunded beds opened. “The strain on our resources, both financial and human, is significant,” declares Jeanette Despatie Chief Executive Officer. “We are fortunate to have staff across the entire organization who work extra shifts and hours to ensure patient needs are met.”