Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) is reminding the community that they could experience a wait time when visiting the Emergency Department and is urging for more patience and kindness with its staff and physicians.
Patients in the Emergency Department are seen according to the urgency of their injuries or illness, rather than the order in which they arrive. This triage process is used at all Emergency Departments across Canada and allows hospitals to prioritize care for the sickest patients.
Like other hospitals, wait times for lower urgency cases in the Emergency Department at CCH have been slightly longer than usual as the hospital manages both staffing and capacity challenges. Unfortunately, staff and physicians have been experiencing increased verbal and physical abuse from frustrated patients and families.
“There is a lot happening behind the scenes that you may not see in a waiting room. For example, a trauma or patient experiencing an overdose may arrive by ambulance, or perhaps we need to prioritize a patient who is having a stroke or a heart attack. In those instances, it is a full team effort to care for the patient and others may have to wait, perhaps longer than usual, as we work through some challenges. This is not unique to CCH,” explains Dr. Anastasios Boubalos, Chief of Staff at Cornwall Hospital.
The Emergency Department at CCH sees approximately 135 patients every day. Despite the hospital working through some staffing and capacity challenges, according to provincial data for January 2023, the vast majority of high-urgency patients finished their emergency visit at CCH well under the provincial target of 8 hours, spending just 5.6 hours of total time in the Emergency Department. The average time for all emergency patients to be seen by a physician was just 2.8 hours in January. More importantly, the Emergency Department at CCH has also remained open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“Our emergency teams are working non-stop to provide uninterrupted care for our community and are doing the best that they can. We understand that you may be in discomfort or pain as you wait to be treated, but please remain kind with our staff and physicians who are committed to providing equitable and exceptional care,” urged Jeanette Despatie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cornwall Hospital.
Ontario Health 811 is also available for free for anyone who wishes to speak with a registered nurse, day or night, for secure and confidential health advice. Ontario Health 811 may also direct patients to virtual urgent care services and help with urgent care delivery that does not need to be in person. Ontario Health 811 is available at https://healthconnectontario.health.gov.on.ca or by calling 811. In the event of a medical emergency, do not hesitate to call 911 or present yourself to your nearest hospital Emergency Department.
As CCH prioritizes Enhancing Access to Care and focusing on People as part of its 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, the hospital hired 200 staff in 2022 and welcomed 8 new doctors to better meet the needs of our community. The hospital’s recruitment efforts remain ongoing.
For more information on the Emergency Department at CCH, please visit www.cornwallhospital.ca/en/emergency.