(BlackburnNews.com photo)

Local Hospitals Better Than Most Keeping Urgent Beds Open

The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network has made a big jump in keeping urgent care hospital beds open.

The LHIN was third last among 14 LHIN’s in alternate level of care (ALC) rates three years ago but is now tied for the lowest urgent care occupancy rate this year. ALC patients are seniors not sick enough to occupy hospital beds but not well enough to be home alone.

LHIN CEO Ralph Ganter says the local urgent care ALC rate is 7% below the 17% provincial rate but the LHIN still has to a better job discharging ALC patients in other areas.

“We certainly are moving in the right direction but it’s just outstanding that we’ve had that kind of change and there’s so many partners. Hospitals, staff, long term care homes. Everybody has been part of this,” says Ganter.

The LHIN has a post-acute care ALC rate of 16.5%, which is 2% higher than the provincial average.

The ALC rate at hospitals in Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex and Sarnia-Lambton increased by more than 2% during the flu outbreak over the past three months.

Ganter gives hospital staff credit for monitoring the situation so closely.

“There’s so many different factors. The fact that we have hospice beds that we added, programs like Intensive Hospital in the Home, the use of telehome care, telemedicine and just team efforts all the way through,” he says.

Ganter says it’s not just one thing and credits a bunch of initiatives for the success.

“We have to give credit to all the service providers because we have been on top of these patients much more than the past and the hospitals get a lot of credit as well because they’re helping us identify clients who can perhaps go home as opposed to long term care,” Ganter says.