Report from Susan Fraser Chair, Board of Directors November, 2014
by Susan Fraser
The past month at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) has been especially busy and eventful. I find myself filled with respect and pride for the dedicated people whose commitment to providing quality patient family centred care is unwavering. In the face of Ebola virus precautions and unprecedented overcapacity challenges, our dedicated team responds with consistent professionalism.
The threat of Ebola Virus Disease appearing in a patient in this region is very unlikely. Nevertheless, we must be, and are, prepared to handle such a case, however remote the possibility, with a view to keeping our community safe. TBRHSC has put in place several safety precautions that will ensure any suspect cases will be treated appropriately and in a manner that will protect the health and safety of the patient, the hospital staff and the community.
We have also put measures in place to alleviate record levels of overcapacity. TBRHSC continues to be in “Gridlock”, which occurs when there are more patients than beds available. In collaboration with our partners in healthcare, we are working to reduce pressures and improve flow.
For example, with assistance from the North West Local Health Integration Network, the North West Community Care Access Centre and St. Joseph’s Care Group, patients waiting at TBRHSC to be placed in a Long-Term Care (LTC) facility may be moved sooner than anticipated, allowing them to receive the right care in the right place.
This initiative helps reduce wait times in the Emergency Department (ED). In Gridlock, new patients often have to wait in the ED for a bed to open up. Working with our partners is one way we can support patient comfort and reduce congestion in the ED.
Although we face these pressures and have one of the busiest EDs in the country, we continue to be leaders in the delivery of emergency care. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term care has recognized TBRHSC for “its commitment to reducing provincial wait times and improving emergency care for the people of Ontario”. Specifically, TBRHSC “maintained the lowest 90th percentile for ED Length of Stay within the Teaching Hospital-Community Hospital Group in 2013.”
Members of the community can also assist. As we head into flu season, I remind everyone to “Be Wise. Immunize.” The flu shot is an effective way to avoid illness and reduce strain on the ED. In addition, people with non-emergency healthcare concerns should visit their primary care physician or a walk-in clinic. For a list of clinic locations and hours of operation, please visit http://search.211north.ca/record/TBY0738
Thank you for your support and cooperation. We are Healthy Together.
TBRHSC Board Chair