New Liskeard, Ont.: Temiskaming Hospital has received government approval through Ontario Health North for three additional patient beds as occupancy rates continue to climb. With one of the highest alternate level of care (ALC) patient rates in the province, Temiskaming Hospital continues to operate at over 100 per cent occupancy with rates of 109 per cent in September and 113 per cent to date in October. These three new beds are in addition to seven beds that were approved in December 2020 and are expected to help manage patient loads while improving overall operations at Temiskaming Hospital.

“We’ve been dealing with occupancy challenges for over 3 years now, well before COVID-19; however, the pandemic has only amplified the issue,” said Temiskaming Hospital President & CEO Mike Baker. He continued, “The south end of our district is lacking in long-term care beds, and with COVID-19, long-term care bed capacity was cut even further to comply with restriction limits. This left patients with nowhere to go, so they came to Temiskaming Hospital. Our intermediate bed expansion will help bridge the problem until long-term care capacity can be dealt with, but this is something that will take several years to fix.”

Of the 66 beds in operation, currently 34 are occupied with ALC patients.

As a result of surge capacity levels, patients coming to the Emergency Department are warned of increased wait times. Temiskaming Hospital will continue with its surgical program but with longer down time in between surgeries as a result of surgical recovery beds being used for patient overflow.

Temiskaming Hospital is currently working through its three bed expansion project checklist in order to open the new beds slated for the end of October, with some modifications required later in November. Checklist items include tasks such as construction in several patient rooms, upgrading flooring, installing appropriate lifts and nurse call system and closure of rooms for HVAC and medical gas installation.   

“We look forward to the completion of this project as it means we will have more room for our patients and allow us to continue to provide the quality, patient-centered care we pride ourselves on at Temiskaming Hospital,” concluded Baker.

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