De Montfort hospital installs an off-site patient unit in a retirement home, part of a trend in Ottawa

CEO Bernard Leduc said the changes will help free up hospital beds for people who need to be admitted.

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Montfort Hospital is the latest hospital in Ottawa to open a unit within a nursing home to help alleviate overcrowding.

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The hospital said Tuesday it had begun transferring some of its patients to a new 20-bed unit located at the Beacon Heights Retirement Residence in Gloucester, about 2.8 miles away.

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Those who are being relocated off-site are considered “alternate level of care” or ALC patients, a designation that refers to patients who no longer require acute hospital care.

Many LAC patients are elderly and waiting for an available long-term care room or help returning home, while others wait for services like rehabilitation and complex continuing care.

In a statement, Montfort hospital said the decision to relocate patients was made with “careful consideration” and focused on those whose acute care needs have been resolved, so they can be safely cared for elsewhere. .

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“The transfer to the residence will allow these patients to benefit from a living environment that is better suited to their current needs,” the hospital said in a news release.

The transferred patients will be on the sixth floor of the retirement residence, the hospital said, and will remain Montfort patients, “ensuring they will have access to the appropriate level of care.” They will be cared for by doctors from Montfort, but the nursing and care staff will be from the residence.

Chief Executive Bernard Leduc said the changes will help free up hospital beds for people who need to be admitted. Montfort Hospital, like others in Ottawa and across the province, has faced increasing wait times in the emergency department.

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LAC patients have been a growing focus of Ontario hospitals and government.

Last fall, the provincial government passed a controversial law called the More Beds, Better Care Act, aimed at freeing up hospital beds by speeding up the transfer of patients from hospital to long-term care. At the time, the province’s long-term care minister said the change could make up to 1,500 hospital beds available across the province.

The law, which makes it possible for ALC patients to be moved to a long-term care home of their choice or face a fee of $400 a day, has been widely criticized and is the subject of a constitutional challenge by advocates. of medical care.

Meanwhile, other hospitals in Ottawa, with provincial funding, have opened off-site units in privately owned long-term care or nursing homes in recent years as part of an effort to reduce overcrowding. It’s a trend that worries the Toronto-based Advocacy Center for the Aging.

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Jane Meadus, an attorney and advocate for the center, argued that transitional units in nursing homes can fall into a gray area when it comes to standards regarding the care that will be provided. “It largely depends on how the unit is set up and staffed, and we are concerned that the hospital is not fully staffed,” she said.

Mélanie Dubé, the hospital’s vice president of finance, said the unit has been designated part of the hospital by the province, meaning Montfort is required to provide the same level of care and services as at the main site. She Such creation of the unit helps take some of the pressure off the understaffed hospital.

In 2021, Ottawa Hospital opened a 55-bed outpatient unit at Extendicare West End Villa for LAC patients, one of the first collaborations of its kind in the province. He has since expanded that unit.

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At the time, the hospital’s president and CEO, Cameron Love, called it a partnership “that we can build on into the future, creating more opportunities for collaborative care models in the future.”

Queensway Carleton Hospital, which moved some patients to a modernized hotel early in the pandemic, closed that unit off-site and opened one in a retirement home. The unit at the Park Place retirement home in Ottawa’s Central Park neighborhood contains beds for 56 patients, the same number of patients previously seen at a renovated Kanata hotel.

Bruyère also opened a transitional unit off-site, at the Greystone Village retirement home.

Anna Greenberg, regional director for Toronto and Eastern Ontario Health, said the transitional care beds will provide “the right care in the right place at the right time. They will also provide a greater number of beds to allow better patient flow throughout the system, at a time when more capacity is needed.”

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