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Wednesday September 2 2015
2:57 PM EDT
2014-02-06 at 18:00

38 days of gridlock

Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre executive vice-president of patient services and chief nursing executive.
Jodi Lundmrak, tbnewswatch.com
Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre executive vice-president of patient services and chief nursing executive.
By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has been in a state of gridlock for a record-breaking 38 days.

The issue is alternative level of care patients blocking inpatient flow, said Rhonda Crocker Ellacott, executive vice-president of patient services and chief nursing executive.

The hospital is managing up to 60 patients more than its 375 beds and there are 77 ALC patients waiting for either long-term care, rehabilitative care or other community-based care within the hospital.

"Those patients' needs are not necessarily being met within our organization; they're waiting for other levels of care," said Crocker Ellacott.

With those beds blocked, patients in the emergency department are waiting up to 39 hours to be moved to another unit. Normally they will wait up to 29 hours and the hospital's target is eight hours.

But the issue isn't with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, but with a lack of capacity in the larger community.

"It's across organizations," said Crocker Ellacott, adding it's between organizations like St. Joseph's Care Group, Community Care Access Centre and the Local Health Integration Network.

Crocker Ellacott said they're working collaboratively on a solution.

MPP Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) said the province is working on improving long-term care capacity in the city.

"We know the hospital is doing the best they can. We know there are too many ALC patients taking up acute care beds. That's not good for the hospital and it's not good for the patients," he said.

"We know we have to do more."

Mauro said the city lost 60 long-term care beds that were closed by the LHINs and since then they've been working to build long-term care capacity.

"That's the answer to this," he said. "We're working to try to make that happen."


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