CORNWALL, Ontario – For the past two months, the Cornwall Community Hospital has been sitting at over 100 percent capacity, with the highest recorded occupancy at 136 percent.
At the start of 2017, the hospital announced that they were sitting at 138 percent capacity due to a spike in gastroenteritis, influenza and pneumonia, which caused an increase in Emergency Room visits during the holidays.
The average occupancy for the last month is 116 percent with the lowest being 107 percent, and the highest at 127 percent.
“Cornwall hospital is fortunate to have staff working extra hours and shifts to ensure the patient’s needs are met, but the strain on our financial and human resources is impactful,” said Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Heather Arthur.
Arthur says that high levels of ALC patients (Alternate level of care patients) are partially to blame for the hospital’s skyrocketing numbers.
“These patients required Acute care, and the hospital has provided it,” said Arthur. “Now they are waiting (at the hospital) to be discharged to either a long-term care facility or other level of care facility.”
The situation becomes further compromised when other hospitals are at capacity, and patients cannot be transferred to the hospital closest to the patient’s home.
Another key concern among healthcare workers is facility outbreak, which is common during this season. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit works with the hospital and other facilities that are in outbreak, and there are instances when a resident cannot be returned to a long term care facility due to the increased risk it may pose to the resident.
As usual, the hospital urges public to avoid visiting loved ones in the hospital if you are feeling unwell, and only visit the Emergency Room for true emergencies.