‘This is not a COVID problem,’ says local hospital official about current overcrowding

As with hospitals across Ontario, overcrowding at Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie Coast Health Care is critical.

One Ontario health report leaked by Toronto Star It shows that hospitals across the province are facing multiple crises. Almost every healthcare industry is understaffed and the number of patients is increasing. Patients are sicker, and they stay longer.

Locally, cases of COVID-19, influenza and RSV have surged. Karen Riddell, chief nursing executive and chief operating officer at Windsor Regional Hospital, told WindsorNewsToday.ca that some paediatric patients have contracted all three viruses.

However, Riddell said COVID-19 was not to blame.

“What we’re going through right now is multiple pressures on the health care system,” she said. “Some of these challenges have not been overcome. Some of these problems have been around for a long time.”

She recalls the shortage of nurses when she graduated from nursing school in 1989.

Nine in 10 emergency room patients wait an average of 45 hours for an inpatient bed, the provincial agency reports. This is a 40% increase from last year.

In the Windsor area, Riedel counted 41 patients who had been admitted to the hospital but were still waiting in the emergency room for a bed on the floor. She said they could wait up to 20 hours.

Erie Shores Healthcare is in a similar situation. Thirteen patients were waiting for inpatient beds at the smaller hospital on Wednesday morning. They may also wait 20 hours.

Erie Shores Healthcare is placing acute care patients in recovery beds to ease congestion. It is running at 135% capacity, spokesman Kevin Black said.

Back at Windsor Regional Hospital, Riddell said the patient’s condition was worse than before.

“What we’re seeing in patients with acute illness is that they’re also staying in the hospital longer, so our patients are on average two more days in the hospital than they were before COVID,” she added.

The provincial report was leaked to the media by Liberal MPP and emergency room doctor Adil Shamji. He described a life support system.

“The state of the health care system is plummeting,” Shamji said.

Riddle was less dramatic. She applauded the Ontario government’s recent efforts to boost healthcare employment. Increase enrollment in nursing schools, speed up the registration process for foreign nurses, and help retirees get back to work, but it will take time to see an impact.

She did say the government needs to do more to keep nurses in Ontario.

“We can add more seats [in nursing schools], but we need to get them to work in the province,” she explained. “If we don’t have jobs for them, or the grass at the border is greener, our wages and salaries are not competitive and it’s hard to keep people. “

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