Cornwall Ontario – 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 and in Long Term Care facilities, Cornwall Hospital is at its busiest with an occupancy rate of 138 per cent.
This pressure comes on the heels of the introduction of the Electronic Health Record which was launched on December 1st 2016. While the staff and physicians are adjusting well and have embraced this significant change to their work flows; the impact can create further delays. “We appreciate the community’s understanding as we work through this transition,” explains Jeanette Despatie, President and CEO of Cornwall hospital.
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.
To accommodate this overflow, patients are being admitted to the hallway, in off service units, others are being transferred and as a last resort, some surgeries may be postponed.
The acute care occupancy rate at CCH is well over 100%, and has been for the last six weeks. Since the beginning of January, the hospital has had a high number of additional beds opened daily. In fact, the hospital peaked just this week at 50 extra beds utilized. “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 hospital working extra shifts and hours to ensure patient needs are met.”