Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) has announced it will be opening an additional 24 unfunded inpatient beds later this month, and they will remain open year round.
PRHC normally only opens and staffs the additional beds temporarily, between December and March, to deal with the traditional surge in respiratory illnesses like the flu.
However, over the spring and summer, patient numbers have continued to exceed the hospital’s funded bed capacity, and PRHC has decided to keep the beds open year round.
“We are facing similar challenges to what is being seen in hospitals across the province,” says Colleen Armstrong, Director of Emergency & Medicine at PRHC. “This year we have had record numbers of patients coming through the doors of our Emergency Department and being admitted to inpatient beds every month, and there is no indication that these volumes can be expected to decrease anytime soon.”
Part of the challenge the hospital faces in managing patient volumes is due to around 80 existing beds being used by patients — usually elderly — who no longer require hospitalization, but who remain in hospital care because there is no safe and suitable alternative available for them in the community.
To address this challenge, PRHC and Peterborough Housing Corporation (PHC) jointly announced earlier this year the opening of a new seniors’ supportive housing development in the community. These units will provide safe, comfortable, and affordable housing options for seniors in both the community and the hospital, allowing them to maintain their independence while receiving the necessary level of daily care.
The housing initiative, jointly funded by PHC and the Central East LHIN, is expected to be ready for residents in 2018/19.
Peter McLaughlin, PRHC President & CEO, says the availability of the housing will allow PRHC to free up beds and resouces for patients requiring acute, hospital level care.
“We continue to work with our many partners in the community and region to develop innovative ways of addressing the challenges we are seeing across the healthcare system in Ontario,” McLaughlin says. “The Seniors’ Supportive Housing project is just one way in which we are collaborating with these partners to ensure patients are receiving the appropriate level of care to meet their needs.”