Tbnewswatch Local News
Thursday July 2 2015
10:37 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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thunder-bay-guy says:
Curious - St Joe's doesn't own the LPH location. TheLPH belongs to the province so it is their call on what it is used for. That is the reason st joes is moving the majority of their services to sites owned by the care group (ie hospital site on algoma, Lillie street campus).
2/10/2014 5:47:06 PM
tudor says:
for 30 years the city like many cities served their seniors. but a few years ago, this city said to heck with all of them and said we are closing them. the two mpp's that some say do nothing, got about 100 million together and are building a new facility to replace those beds. do people yell at the city. nope. do they yell that harris built the hospital too small. nope. they yell about the only group doing anything about it, the province.

this city should be embarrassed. they took money borrowed for seniors and spent it on the legacy, the mistake by the lake. 70 million and counting. when you want to know why there will be a bed shortage for seniors. go to donald st, city hall to be exact and thank the council.

they did this.

it is the province building the new facility. I say thank goodness for those guys otherwise it would be a far bigger disaster. they saved the seniors from an uncaring city council
2/9/2014 3:26:14 PM
Curious says:
Why is this in the news - this is a regular circumstance ever since the hospital was built. We can thank St. Josephs Care Group as well for refusing to use the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital - it is the perfect set up for people waiting for long term care. Tracy put so much money in remodeling the offices - and then refuse to take anymore patients. Our health care system has just become a money grab.
2/8/2014 11:15:32 PM
Watchful says:
The hospital is not the problem, it is the lack of long term beds for seniors. The one being built at Leila Greco will take the place of 3 existing ones, so nothing will change. Until we get funding for more long term buildings this problem will continue
2/8/2014 9:55:47 PM
william jogns says:
even kindergarten does not accept wikipedia as a valid source
2/8/2014 5:14:13 PM
RUSerious says:
Many things wrong with this hospital...
1. It's in gridlock all the time (since it opened)
2. Roof leaks when it starts raining as there are buckets all around the main entrance.
3. As for cleanliness.....should the Hospital/Cancer Centre not be swept and mopped every day???? (I KNOW it is not).
2/7/2014 9:04:14 PM
Curious says:
I have spent soooo much time there, months at a time and I will aggree whole hartedly with you! It is disgusting how lazy and sloppy some of the cleaning people are. I watched as a lady mopped a room in a few swipes and mopped around a comb that was on the floor and bandages that were dropped on the floor by the nurse whose remark was it is the sweepers job to pick it up; and when the janitor (overpaid to boot) came in said it wasn't her job - the nurse dropped them there then she can pick them up! I also watched a lady spend more time talking to people about running marathons than cleaning. Then, the janitors that actually decide to give the bathroom a 30 second cleaning - wipe the toilet seat, then the sink, then leave. I did more cleaning than the ones that were paid big bucks to "hang out".
2/9/2014 4:26:37 PM
william jogns says:
provincial liberals have been in power for 10 years. shouldn't they have undone " the damage done by Harris" by now? 40% of Ontario health budget, like most provinces, was paid for by the feds until Paul Martin slashed this to the bone. all provinces in Canada now have health care issues because of this. and by the way, Martin did what had to be done. but never took responsibilty for the damage done.
2/7/2014 8:59:16 PM
mystified says:
You can howl, whine and cry until the end of time.
It's done.
You can't undo it.
The only option is add to it and hopefully the addition would be an improvement.

End of story.
2/7/2014 8:09:37 PM
DustInTheWind says:
"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."

I find this statement ambiguous. Is the hospital operating at 60 patients over capacity plus 77 alternative level of care (ALC)? The statement does not make it clear to the general public.

There is a shortage of Long Term Care beds (LTC) in the community. You cannot have close the LPH, Interim, then Dawson and Grandview (the latter expected in 2015) and not expect this to have an impact on senior care. With no place else to go the hospital becomes the only place for them, and the needs are growing.

We also need to ask ourselves what quality of care are our seniors really getting in a hospital setting? My guess would be none at all. As the general public we all should be outraged. And always remember this will be the level of care for some us one day if we don`t fix this now.
2/7/2014 7:28:01 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
Seems as though someone likes to protect Ken Boscoff...more than once when his name has been mentioned (no matter how innocuous), the comments don't get posted...
2/7/2014 4:18:07 PM
William jogns says:
Under Mike HARRIS health care spending rose every year. From $17 billion in 95 to $27 billion in 2004. Yes he cut everything else but he never touched health care spending. It was Paul Martin who cut back on provincial health care transfer payments in balancing the federal budget thus squeezing all the provinces financially. The downloading of costs on to the backs of the provinces started with the federal liberals.
2/7/2014 3:47:48 PM
yqtyqt says:
And that's a fact. How soon we forget Martin and his attempts to save his own political skin. Thanks for your insight.

But then again, the liberal supporters will incorrectly blame Harris for the next 50 years.
2/7/2014 4:28:40 PM
fastball says:
From Wikipedia - Shortly after assuming office, the Harris government announced that several hundred nurses would be laid off to cut costs in the health sector. The government also implemented a series of hospital closures on the recommendations of a Health Services Restructuring Commission.

He laid off hundreds of nurses and closed hospitals...does that sound like "never touching health care spending"?
2/7/2014 10:59:22 PM
CM Punk says:
Where is the CEO in all of this?
Why doesn't she try to advocate more for this hospital and on behalf of the region?

Nobody wants to touch this hot potato.
Sorry to say but when the city embarked on building their own hospital, it was disaster from the get go.
This may tick some people off but its true.
The city got involved, got a local contractor and got screwed and paid 3x as much in costs.

Not even a few years old and it started to fall apart, not to mention its on muskeg like those precious river terrace homes.
Sorry, not my thing.
I got to Alberta and get an MRI done the same day for $1500.

If I have something wrong I have the luxury of going to the mayo clinic.
I know people who would not even get a hernia operation done here.

2/7/2014 12:01:57 PM
unknowncronik says:
keep paying $200k per staff member instead...

2/7/2014 9:31:45 AM
bttnk says:
The problem is specific to a shortage of long-term (chronic) care beds in Thunder Bay. The problem is not a shortage of acute care beds at Thunder Bay Regional. There are projects currently underway to deal with this issue, but like any government funded project, it will be some time before those "new" beds will be available for use. The immediate requirement from the Province/LHIN is to provide funding over and above what has been provided for TBRHSC operating at 386 beds.
2/7/2014 9:25:32 AM
thunder-bay-guy says:
Jakester, at present there are no NEW long term care beds under construction. The building being built at the St Josephs Lillie Street campus (Hogarth-Riverview Manor, Sister Leila Greco Apartments, sister Margaret Smith Centre) is going to have enough spots for the upcoming LTC home closures. Once Dawson court, Grandview Lodge (both City of Thunder Bay) and Bethammi Nursing Home (St Joseph's Care Group) all those residents will be transferred to the new building and the old sites will be decommissioned.
2/7/2014 9:11:50 AM
tbaylady says:
Do you not read the article?? The size of the hospital is not the issue, it is the lack of long term care beds that is the problem. The hospital is 60 patients over capacity, and there are 77 patients who would be much better served in long term care or a rehabilitation facility. If those 77 patients could go to somewhere more appropriate to have their care needs met, there would be 17 EMPTY beds!
2/7/2014 9:03:22 AM
Chaos says:
Gridlock, smidlock....we have much more important things to do so hurry up and build the multiplex and art gallery at the marina!
2/7/2014 8:35:22 AM
CLETE says:
Maybe just maybe the feds can step in and help out. I wonder if there is grid lock at the Ottawa hospital??
2/7/2014 7:34:00 AM
tudor says:
i love the experts how about the city closing 300 beds and the province building and funding 400 as for health care it is shocking what people dont know. i work there from time to time. there are way more nurses, doctors, services, equipment. my uncle had the heart procedure there. nurse practitioner clinics are all over town. this gridlock problem is country wide but we always need someone to blame. it is what t.bay does best it seems

lets start yelling at the city for throwing seniors to the curb if you really want to discuss health care, drive down lilly st and see what has been built by the province everyone always wants more
2/7/2014 7:21:03 AM
alrightythen says:
attention, gridlock remains in effect. please continue with department protocols.
2/6/2014 11:04:07 PM
thunderbaycouncel says:
THERE WERE 3 FULL UNITS WHICH WERE IN USE AT THE LPH. AS OF 2 WEEKS AGO 1 OF THOSE UNITS HAVE CLOSED. THERE ARE NOW 2 UNITS FUNCITIONING AT FULL CAPACITY. Tell me again why we cant use the unit that just closed to help clear up space at TBRHSC? People say "because of the asbestos in the building". First off, every building built before 1990 has asbestos. Also, the 2 units which are still fully functional are not closing until the "new LPH" is built and is scheduled to open in roughly 3 years. The LPH (at present time and has been for the past couple years) have all the St. Joes top managers and CEO offices in it. Now you tell me, why is it safe for these 2 units to operate and to accomadate managers, health records, HR, and such. hhhmmmmmm. Dont be stupid TBRHSC, open your eyes. Its very simple.
2/6/2014 10:46:21 PM
Icon O Clast says:
A sick older person I knew, refused to go to the hospital because she had had many years of bad treatment there. When she finally went unconscious due to her easily treatable infection, it was too late. She lingered in the hospital a few days then died.
2/6/2014 10:45:43 PM
crossword says:
The Liberals have done nothing to reduce the problem. Families are worse off that 8 years ago and it's time for a change of government. Bill Mauro is just a happy face with no results for health care - period
2/6/2014 10:27:33 PM
Jakester says:
So nobody actually has any facts regarding how many beds are currently in the construction phase and no one has a date for when they will be ready for occupancy? None of the answers so far have provided me with anything useful, just pretty poorly thought opinions. I am disappointed. I'll call someone who is likely to give me some useful information tomorrow. But thank you for your time.
2/6/2014 10:06:28 PM
Eastender says:
Unfortunately, you will probably see an Event Centre built before the gridlock problem is addressed. So sad.
2/7/2014 2:17:43 AM
SomeGuy says:
Healthcare is funded by the province not the city, so the Events Centre has nothing to do with this.
2/8/2014 11:37:26 AM
jimmyboy says:
The way in which everyone interviewed seems to be saying this this is news to all concerned...this problem is well over 10 years old...all parties concerned were so ill prepared in planning for the future way back when...its just as simple of the right hand not knowing or caring what the left hand as been doing...and so the saga will continue...our REGIONAL HOSPITAL as well our Long Term Health Care plans for the elderly have been floundering for years.
2/6/2014 9:50:29 PM
enos012 says:
I said it when it was first opened. You spent 10 of millions worrying about how pretty it looks instead of something being practical and serving it intended purpose.
2/6/2014 9:29:08 PM
REG says:
I couldn't care less who did what the bottom line is fix it. If we are in grid lock for 38 days I guess the hospital isn't big enough for the area. Libs, Cons, NDP do something if you have to spend money than do it!!!
2/6/2014 8:22:08 PM
jonthunder says:
Even though it was Mike Harris's government that approved the original Regional Hospital it was Mauro, Gravelle and the Ontario Liberals who claimed all the fame and Glory. Now, when the problems arise they are no where to be found - even while in Cabinet/Power. I an others have had family members die do to their incompetence. Can we please have an election!
2/6/2014 7:52:09 PM
unknowncronik says:
38 days and 38 nights...almost "biblical"...
2/6/2014 7:20:01 PM
CM Punk says:
As far as going from 3 hospitals to 1, that was a Mike Harris call so you can thank him for that.

And lets be honest, the hospital has been in gridlock since the day it opened its doors.
2/6/2014 6:52:12 PM
S Duncan says:
Mike Harris has been gone forever already.

What has been done to solve this problem since? You cant solve problems by ignoring them for over a decade like our liberal government has been doing.

If the liberals hadn't wasted so much of our money buying votes, we could have easily bought 10 hospitals.
2/6/2014 7:06:13 PM
fastball says:
And if Mike Harris hadn't slashed the health care system (and others) to the bone in a shortsighted - and ultimately failed - attempt to "balance the budget", we wouldn't have spent the last decade or so catching up to the deficiencies in the system.
Yeah, he "balanced" the budget all right...mainly by laying off staff and transferring the cost of services from the provincial coffers to other coffers - leading to drastically cut back services or downright closures. Everyone knew that you can't run a hospital floor with half the staff gone. Everyone knew that nurses making 40 bucks an hour are not going to be able to do all their regular duties...as well as emptying bedpans and moving patients - duties that the lesser-paid support staff used to do. Those support staff personnel were the among first casualty of Harris' slash-and-burn philosophy.
That's a lot of damage to undo....
2/7/2014 9:59:50 AM
livewire says:
From 3 hospitals down to 1 REGIONAL hospital is the whole problem. Thanks to the provincial government and amalgamation this is what you. The Fed's should dig deep and build the city another hospital.
2/6/2014 6:40:20 PM
Tbaylifer 1 says:
Jakester: The number of beds under construction are for the 3 existing LTC homes we have now. Dawson Court, Grandview and Bethamie. The aging at home strategy isn't working as well, these are people that would normally be in a LTC home, end up back at emerg. Not to mention that the cities population is aging. The problem will be with us until a government adds to the number of LTC beds. Pushing people through the system faster, to get them home, only creates a future problem. It appears these days that there are more healthcare workers trying to fix the problem without really fixing the problem, then there are caring for the person needing healthcare.
2/6/2014 6:26:27 PM
Jakester says:
Can someone please tell us how many long term and chronic care spaces are under construction in the community and when they will open? And of course will there be a date that we can see an end to the chronic gridlock?
2/6/2014 6:11:26 PM
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