Surgical wait list stressed by lack of beds
Ongoing lack of community supports for alternate level of care patients mean more end up staying in acute-care hospital
The surgical department at Health Sciences North in Sudbury has had to cut back on the number of non-emergency surgical procedures performed each day because there are not enough beds for patients.
This month, 30 procedures had to be postponed, and hospital officials say that number will continue to grow at a rate of four per day.
The medical director of the hospital's surgical program said alternate level of care patients — mostly seniors who can't access the care they need elsewhere in the community — continue to take up more and more beds in the hospital.
Dr. David Boyle said he's frustrated because his department has toiled away at reducing surgical wait lists.
"This is not a good news story, this is bad news," Boyle said.
"We've worked hard over the last two years to improve all of our wait lists. We still have quite a lot of stressors on our wait list compared to the other parts of the province."
Boyle said the problem lies in the absence of a home care strategy for seniors.
In the past couple of years, the number of ALC patients in the hospital has almost tripled.