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NBRHC encourages use of Telehealth Ontario and walk-in clinics to combat ‘bed crisis’

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The public is being encouraged to familiarize themselves with options besides visiting the emergency department for health care needs.

The North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) is warning the community about the patient flow crisis they are currently experiencing. Also known as a ‘bed crisis’, this is a situation in which an increase of patients coming in through the emergency department is occurring and there are no available beds to admit them, despite utilization of all current acute care space.

Options for non-urgent health care are available in the form of Telehealth Ontario or walk-in clinic availability says Tiz Silveri, Vice President Clinical and Chief Nursing Executive. Silveri adds that patients who require care will never be turned away, but accessing alternative forms of health care can save an unnecessary visit to the emergency department and wait.

NBRHC officials say a bed crisis impacts flow across the entire organization, meaning some patients may be moved or discharged; some may be placed in an unconventional bed; and some elective surgeries may be delayed or cancelled.

Silveri points to a number of contributing factors to the current bed crisis, including the recent closure of the 66-bed Lady Isabelle Nursing home. “This closure, combined with ongoing pressures like patients not being able to access the care they need in the community; inability of some to afford retirement living; increase in patients with complex needs and the upcoming flu season, means the NBRHC has to look for ways to care for these additional patients.”

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