More health care options in the community would help overcrowding, hospital CEO says

The president and CEO of Health Sciences North in Sudbury says he agrees more long-term care beds are needed in the community.

Dominic Giroux says more beds needed in acute care settings, as well as in the community

The president and CEO of Health Sciences North in Sudbury says he agrees more long-term care beds are needed in the community.

On Thursday, the premier's Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallways Medicine released its report. The council's mandate is to advise the Ontario premier and health minister on reducing hospital wait times, helping to ease hospital overcrowding and making changes to the long-term care system.

The report makes several suggestions, including stating that increasing the number of beds in Ontario hospitals won't solve the problem of hospital overcrowding.

Dominic Giroux, the president and CEO of Health Sciences North, says there's no doubt there is a need for more long-term care spaces across the province.

"This being said though, today at Health Sciences North we have over 70 patients who are either waiting in the emergency department, who have been admitted and are waiting for a bed, or patients who are currently in what we call unconventional bed spaces," he said.

"In light of the aging population over the coming years, we expect that we will need more beds in acute care settings and at the same time, need more spaces in the community as well, especially in light of the aging population."

Dominic Giroux is the president and CEO of Health Sciences North in Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Giroux says having more options for care outside of the hospital would be beneficial.

"Right now, we have over 80 patients who are what we call alternative level of care patients who could be safely discharged, but unfortunately do not have the ability to have alternative placements in the community," he said.

"Having more capacity in the community, whether in long-term care, palliative care, home and community care definitely helps with patient flow in the hospital."

With files from Martha Dillman

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