Hospital Should See Improvements in Capacity Crunch Soon
Prince George, B.C. – The problem of too many patients and not enough space at the University Hospital of Northern B.C, should improve within the next few weeks.
Northern Health has been working on three projects aimed at addressing the capacity issue.
UHNBC’s Chief Operating Officer Michael McMillan says the first project will see 26 beds open up at the Gateway Lodge . That plan required renovations to the third floor at Gateway to provide space for 15 residential care beds and 11 convalescent/respite care beds.
“The people who move to the third floor of Gateway are a particular type of client and some may come from the hospital, but others may come from within the existing complex care system, a number may come from Gateway and move up there, and then their beds will be back filled by people who are in the hospital. We are on track to open the second week of March.”
The eleven convalescent/respite beds will be available for those patients who need a week or two more to get up to speed before they can go home. McMillan says it isn’t clear just how many patients from UHNB will be moved to those beds, “It’s harder to point to those people because when we get to that point, the second week of March, it will be who needs convalescent care at that point.”
McMillan figures that while the additional capacity at Gateway will see some Gateway clients moved to the newly renovated 3rd floor, overall, the changes should free up as many as 20 beds at UHNBC “That’s a significant impact on the hospital”.
The second project is aimed at preventing people from being admitted to hospital in the first place through improved levels of home support. “The concept is, we can put in place whole home support resources that can help those who show up at Emergency and can’t quite go home on their own and the alternative is to admit them ( to hospital).” The service will initially be available 8 hrs a day, everyday, and will be ramped up to 7am to 11 pm daily. That initiative is slated to start the first week of March.
The third initiative is one 250News has reported on before, it is the “Car 67” program aimed at patients who are severely addicted or mentally ill. “All the processes around staffing of those teams is well underway” says McMillan “We expect to see that ramping up the first week of March.” That program partners a psychiatric nurse with an RCMP officer to attend to calls where the real issue is one of mental health or addictions.
McMillan says while the number of patients in the hospital fluctuates on a daily basis, swinging from 235 one day to 255 the next, ( they have hit 260 at times) he believes the capacity crunch at UHNBC will be significantly reduced by the end of March.