Brantford, ON (January 4, 2017) – The Brantford General Hospital (BGH) is currently experiencing extremely high volumes of patients presenting at the Emergency Department (ED). Paired with the high number of admitted patients awaiting a bed on inpatient floors, wait times for care in the ED are being drastically affected.
“This situation is very similar to what is currently happening throughout other communities in Ontario. We are seeing a significant increase in the number of patients coming into our ED and being admitted – many with gastroenteritis and acute respiratory influenza symptoms,” says Lina Rinaldi, Chief Nurse Executive and Chief Operating Officer of the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS), which operates the BGH and the Willett, Paris. “Not only is our ED overwhelmed with volume, we are beyond capacity on our inpatient units, limiting access for patients to be admitted from the ED.”
The hospital has implemented a bed capacity management plan that helps to direct and manage the flow of patients. “We’ve opened additional beds to help alleviate some of the pressures and improve access from our ED,” adds Rinaldi. “We have cancelled some surgical procedures over the past 24 hours and will continue to assess surgical procedures booked for the remainder of the week that require admission to an inpatient bed on a case-by-case basis given the current situation.”
Other measures in place include collaboration with the Hamilton Norfolk Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre (HNHB CCAC), which assists to place patients in long-term care and retirement homes in the area, as well as provide options for patients requiring care at home.
“We are also experiencing a high volume of sick calls from our staff, which poses an additional challenge,” says Robert Davidson, Chief Human Resources Officer and leader of people development. “Our aim is to have all our units and ED fully staffed to address the added activity we are experiencing.”
“Emergency departments always treat the most critically and/or seriously ill patients first,” says Dr. Eric Irvine, chief of emergency medical services at the BCHS. “Knowing what care options are available in the community, starting with your family physician, primary healthcare provider or local walk-in clinics, is important.” Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (www.ontario.ca/healthcareoptions<http://www.ontario.ca/healthcareoptions>) also provide free health advice and information on available healthcare options.
“If visitors are unwell we recommend that they avoid visiting within the hospital,” says Rinaldi. “We will continue to work and plan for discharges, and will keep our community informed about our situation through our website, Twitter and Facebook.”
The Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) continues to face significant financial challenges as they provide care for the communities of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations. A number of immediate measures and longer-term process improvements are being implemented to address this.