Quesnel and P.G. Receiving Williams Lake Patients
Prince George, B.C. – Patients at the Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake and residential care facilities, have been arriving in Quesnel and Prince George over the past few days.
Although the City of Williams Lake remains on evacuation alert, the transfer of patients and those in residential care, has been done as a precautionary measure.
Northern Health’s Communications Officer Andrea Palmer says so far, about 150 patients needing acute care, residential or supported living, have been transferred from Williams Lake.”Quesnel is already at capacity, but Prince George is still accepting patients.” There are no clear numbers on how many patients may be transferred to Prince George.
She says a number of sites in Prince George are being utilized, including the residences at UNBC.
Patients have been coming to Prince George, by bus, handi- dart, the Northern Health Connections bus, whatever was needed and appropriate for a patient’s travel. “Because there are so many different levels of care involved, you’re looking at some patients who can’t sit up for the trip, so they need to be in a vehicle that can take a patient or resident, who is lying down, so there’s a number of different levels of support required and we have been able to accommodate all of those different levels of support in transit.”
In addition to mobilizing patients, there has been a convoy of transports heading up and down highway 97 transferring equipment to ensure sites receiving patients have the necessary equipment, such as beds, wheel chairs, and commodes.
Palmer says there is a toll free number for families to call if their loved one has been transferred, ” for families looking for loved ones who were patients in care and have been evacuated from Williams Lake Health care facilities. That number is the Interior Health call line, it’s 1-877- 442-2001. People can call that number if they have the name of a patient or resident and the folks at the other end of that line can tell them where their loved one has gone in Prince George or Quesnel. hey can also provide them with contact information at the facility.”
Northern Health staff have been incredible says Palmer “It’s all hands on deck, absolutely, we are actually trying to galvanize as many staff as possible who may be able to accept additional shifts. We are putting out a public request for any Northern Health staff member to please respond to their scheduling notification as soon as possible if they can pick up extra shifts to offer support.”
Palmer says although evacuees are not going through the emergency department, all staff are working hard to keep up with the heavier demand, “We are just hoping the public can assist by utilizing health care resources appropriately. Just be aware the emergency rooms are for patients who have had a sudden or unusual change in their health, including breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or pain, broken bones, chest pains, suspected overdoses and if you’re not sure if your condition warrants an emergency visit, please call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visit Healthlink.ca for non emergency health information.”