Saturday, November 26, 2022

Emergency, urgent care wait times in Winnipeg gradually improve but staff shortages are a burden. Nation World News

Wait times in Winnipeg emergency departments and urgent care centers are beginning to improve, but city health system officials say there’s a long road ahead.

Sean Young, CEO of the Center for Health Sciences, said, “These patient flow issues did not happen overnight and unfortunately they will not be resolved overnight either. These are long-standing issues that have existed for years and are rapidly worsened by the pandemic. went.” ,

Administrators continue to meet with staff, physicians and site leaders to share ideas on further improvements, including recruitment and retention efforts for health care workers.

“No stone is being spared,” Young said.

Young was not able to say how the wait times have improved, to say that it depends on the level of care required.

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“For patients who have life-threatening diseases that need to be treated within minutes to hours, we have not seen any delay in their arrival time,” he said.

Those critically ill patients are listed as 1–2 on a scoring scale of 1–5, known as the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS). On the scale 3-5s are where the wait is longest.

According to Mike Nader, CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the average wait time across all Winnipeg sites has averaged 2.55 hours over the past seven days.

This is a significant improvement over the past few weeks and it continues to improve, he said. The average time till Wednesday was 2.28 hours.

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Emergency department data obtained by Nation World News earlier this month showed that in April and May, there were times when the average wait for admission was more than 24 hours, with some patients taking three or four days for a hospital bed. I had to wait in case of emergency.

Nader attributed the improvements to “new and expanded” initiatives to improve patient flow, such as better defining the expected date of discharge and transferring patients from hospitals to long-term care facilities.

“These patients are often long-term patients who no longer require care in the hospital, but with appropriate support can be given appropriate care in other settings,” he said.

Concordia Urgent Care Centre
Officials say improving the flow of patients, some long-stayers have been redirected to long-term care facilities, creating more patient spaces in emergency and urgent care centers. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

WRHA staff are also working with other health areas in the province to move patients living outside Winnipeg, but needing special care in the city, back to their home areas.

“This both frees up space in Winnipeg, while allowing patients to continue their recovery at sites closer to home and their respective support networks,” Nader said.

Till May, 162 patients have returned to their home areas, which is an improvement from 139 in April.

More workers are also returning to normal duties following COVID-related re-employment, leading to increased home care support. This has allowed some patients to be discharged more quickly and opened up space in hospitals for others who need acute care.

Young said those moves have had a positive impact by creating more patient space at emergency departments and urgent care centers.

“We have also benefited from reduced sick time among employees, which is still quite high but is definitely headed in the right direction,” he said.

However, at the very end of the waiting-time list are patients, who have been sitting around 5-8 hours to see a nurse or doctor. This doesn’t sit well with Nadar.

“We are community residents, we need these health services. We are not happy with the time people have to wait, especially those who are CTAS fours and fives,” he said

The challenge, however, is not an issue that presents itself in the emergency room, but rather in the system’s ability to transition patients to different levels of care, Nader said.

“I don’t want to give you the impression that everyone is happy with what’s happening in our emergency rooms, but we’ve started to see improvements and we’ve replaced the ship, that’s what we should expect to see.” regarding emergency room wait times for those arriving.”

Aging Workforce and Aging Population

Despite improvements, changes in how processes are handled can only move things forward. The biggest block is staffing.

“We have a lot of vacancies. So until we really stabilize that workforce, it’s going to be hard to predict when we’ll actually get to our baseline. [wait times]Young said.

And those vacancies are increasing because the workforce is getting older, Nadar noted. In the Winnipeg area, the vacancy rate in the system is 14.5 percent “which is quite, quite high,” he said.

At the same time, the age of the general public is increasing. Those two factors can create a huge pressure on the system.

“What can we do to reduce this? We can look at working with our union partners and others around flexibility, opportunities for employees to work casually and to be able to fill those roles. For those who are able to meet their needs once elected to retire, do not work full time,” Nadar said.

“So there’s a lot of work that we still need to do on that, and it’s certainly an area we’re keeping a very close eye on.”

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