The annual report spoke of wait times, the need to focus on chronic disease prevention and management, and bed utilization, transfers, length of stay and discharge planning impacts client flow and access.
In relation to access there was a presentation on the orthopedic intake and assessment clinic. Central Health is aiming to reduce the wait times for hip and knee replacement surgery. The wait times noted are not only the periods between the time a patient is referred to a surgeon and the actual appointment date, but the time between seeing the surgeon for assessment and the actual surgery date.
The goal for the orthopedic intake and assessment clinics, according to the report, is to improve the quality of care and to reduce the number of patients by assessing each individual patient based on their physical, emotional and mental abilities to determine whether or not they are ready to see a surgeon.
Under the healthy living component of the strategic directions, chronic disease prevention management (CDPM) was highlighted in a presentation. According to the report, 95 percent of residents over age 65 in the Central Health region are reported to have at least one chronic disease.
Initiatives of CDPM include a heart failure outreach program, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outreach program and a regional stroke program.
During the question/answer segment of the evening Dr. Robert Butler said he’s heard that 14 beds on one wing of the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor might be shut down as inpatient beds and used solely for long-term care, as a space for Carmelite House long-term care facility.
“Can we have reassurance from the administration that these 14 beds will be made up elsewhere in the hospital because our emergency department, despite all the good work that’s being done, our ER is always jammed with people who can’t get into inpatient beds. If we have to work with 14 less that’s a major problem in my point of view,” Dr. Butler told Central Health officials last night.
CEO Rosemarie Goodyear responded, saying there are no plans to reduce the number of inpatient beds.
“It’s not to my knowledge that we have any plans to reduce beds,” Goodyear said.
She said there is a lot of construction and reconfiguration going on right now and there will be a pooling of patients without changing the number of beds.
“At Central Newfoundland and Labrador Regional Health Centre we have a number of patients who all had been assessed for long-term placement and they were sort of scattered over a number of units at the hospital. So we brought all those patients together, in terms of in one place,” Goodyear said. “We didn’t change the number, we didn’t change the mix, it was really a pooling of those particular patients into that area.”
Goodyear also noted the 14 beds in question were always full with people waiting for placement in long-term care.
The patients “would have been in the system and [they] were in the system regardless of where they were (in the hospital). The 14 beds were always full and they would have been full with the same people, what we’ve done is moved them into the same unit,” she said.
The entire annual report is on the Central Health website at this link: http://centralhealth.nl.ca/assets/Uploads/Annual-Reports/Central-Health-Annual-Performance-Report-one-page-view-September-22-2015.pdf