PEI

Unit 9 at QEH reopens to P.E.I. psychiatric patients after COVID hiatus

The Unit 9 psychiatric ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown has reopened after patients were relocated in the spring to make room for potential COVID-19 cases.

Only 8 patients with dementia still being cared for on ward as of Monday

Unit 9 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital was emptied in the spring to make way for possible COVID-19 patients. (CBC News)

The Unit 9 psychiatric ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown has reopened after patients were relocated in the spring to make room for potential COVID-19 cases.

There have been 64 cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., but none have required hospitalization.

Last month, a CBC News investigation revealed that while the unit remained closed to psychiatric patients, seniors suffering from dementia, who were waiting for a spot in a nursing home, had been moved in. They filled 17 of the 20 beds in the unit.

Dr. Heather Keizer, chief of mental health and addictions on P.E.I., expressed concern about the lack of beds available for psychiatric patients at the QEH. Health Minister James Aylward said the province hoped to start making Unit 9's beds available to psychiatric patients by the end of October.

Marion Dowling, Health PEI's chief of nursing, said Tuesday that there are now eight dementia patients remaining in the ward, after Unit 9 began readmitting psychiatric patients on Monday.

"Renovations to the unit have been made to keep these two patient groups completely separate and visitors will notice separate entrances and exits for these care areas," she said.

Dowling said the the dementia patients still at Unit 9 require specialized care, and will be moved when Health PEI long-term care home beds become available. 

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