THUNDER BAY -- The city's hospital is still in a state of gridlock despite the opening of a transitional care unit at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital.
By Friday's end, 26 long-term care patients will have moved to the unit at the LPH site run by St. Joseph's Care Group as one of the solutions Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews announced in March to deal with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre's overcapacity issue.
The regional hospital has been in gridlock for more than 100 days.
The hospital's executive vice-president of patient services Mark Henderson said the move has had a considerable impact on the hospital.
They were able to move 11 ALC to long-term care patients over to the new transitional care unit and another 15 to St. Joseph's Hospital after St. Joe's moved 15 patients to the LPH.
"We still have about 70 ALC patients in the hospital," said Henderson. "If we hadn't moved these patients out, we'd have over 90 ALC patients in the hospital today."
Another 17 beds will open in the city in August through the minister's $14-million announcement, which will mean 43 less patients waiting at the Health Sciences Centre.
However, the ALC population is growing about two per cent every year, said Henderson.
"We're not out of the woods by any means," he said.
The transitional care unit at the LPH will remain open until the Centre of Excellence for Integrated Seniors' Services, a 416-bed long-term care facility, opens in late 2015.
The CEISS should help the gridlock situation at the hospital, but Henderson said some of the long-term care facilities slated to close may have to remain open longer than originally planned.