Almonte, Carleton Place emergency departments close consecutive nights

Special to WC Online

LANARK COUNTY – After a week of talking about emergency department closures, two Lanark County hospitals will close their departments on consecutive nights this weekend.

The emergency department at Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) will close on Friday, July 14, at 3 p.m. and will re-open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 15. The emergency department at Almonte General Hospital (AGH) will close on Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. and will re-open at 7 a.m. on Sunday, July 16. 

“These temporary closures are due to a shortage of nursing staff,” Mississippi River Health Alliance (MRHA) communications lead Jane Adams released in a statement today (July 14). “The rest of the hospitals are still open and caring for patients, including the obstetrical unit at AGH.”

Like many rural hospitals in Ontario and across the country, CPDMH and AGH have had to close the emergency department for short periods due to staffing challenges.

“These decisions are not made lightly and not without every alternative being exhausted,” Adams said. “Each emergency department has a very small staff with one physician and two nurses working on each shift. If one of them is sick, there is a big impact as there is not a large pool of people with Emergency Department training to draw from.”

“We know these closures are concerning for our community,” president and CEO of both hospitals Mary Wilson Trider said. “Unfortunately, we are dealing with multiple sick leaves. We are in contact with Ontario Health East Ministry staff to discuss potential solutions. Patient and staff safety is our main priority. The hospital applauds all the staff who have worked countless hours of overtime in their efforts to ensure the best care for our community. They have provided outstanding care throughout the pandemic and continue to work extremely hard.”

Trider spoke about the issue at the recent MRHA annual general meeting.

The MRHA, which includes Almonte General Hospital, Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital, Fairview Manor and the Lanark County Paramedic Service, has provided many collaborative benefits including joint recruitment initiatives and taking advantage of government-funded programs such as the Clinical Externs program which bring nursing students to the hospital for in-depth training. 

Anyone requiring immediate medical attention should call 911.  Paramedics will take you to the nearest emergency department for care.

Patients can also call 811 for health advice or to chat with a Registered Nurse. This provincial Health Connect Ontario program replaced Telehealth Ontario last year. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The closest emergency departments are:

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