Thunder Bay

Crowded Thunder Bay, Ont., regional hospital finds space for 14 more beds

Hospital facing 'tremendous' capacity issues, executive vice-president says

CBC News

September 28, 2017

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has re-purposed some areas of the facility to allow for more patient beds as it struggles with over-capacity. (Wendy Bird/CBC)

Capacity issues at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) have forced the regional facility in northwestern Ontario to find new beds, including turning some single rooms into doubles.

The measures have produced about 14 new beds, said Dr. Mark Henderson, an executive vice-president at the hospital.

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However, it is a temporary measure, he said.

"We've been facing tremendous capacity issues over the summer, and it certainly hasn't got any better in September," Henderson said.

Ambulatory care area re-purposed

In addition to turning some single rooms into double rooms, the hospital has also re-purposed an out-patient care area of the facility to allow it to house patient beds.

"Instead of using it as an ambulatory care unit, where it's open, let's say, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., we've cordoned off an area and made it available 24/7," Henderson said.

The 14 new beds, he said, "means 14 patients not staying in the emergency department, waiting for a bed," he said.

Sunrooms still used for in-patients

The hospital's sunrooms and treatment rooms are still used for in-patients, depending on how full the hospital is, Henderson said.

"Normally, we try and have the sunrooms as non-patient care areas, but when we're in over-capacity, we will use them," he said. "We've had [beds in the sunrooms] for some time now.

It's not clear how long the hospital's most-recent measures will remain in place.

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