Lanark hospitals president seeking solution to emergency room closures

Special to WC Online

ALMONTE – A Lanark County hospital is once again closing its emergency department overnight while the president says she is seeking a solution.

Just yesterday (July 6) the Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital (CPMDH) closed its emergency department (the notice came to late for West Carleton Online to publish a s tory), and tonight (July 7) the Almonte General Hospital (AGH) will close its emergency department.

Since COVID-19, there have been repeated closures of emergency room departments across the Valley.

“The Emergency Department at AGH will close on Friday, July 7, at 3 p.m. and will re-open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, July 8,” hospital communications lead Jane Adams released in a statement today (July 7).

This temporary closure is due to a shortage of nursing staff. The rest of the hospital is still open and caring for patients.

“Like many rural hospitals in Ontario and across the country, AGH has had to close the emergency department for short periods due to staffing challenges,” Adams said. “These decisions are not made lightly and not without every alternative being exhausted. The 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,” AGH and CPDMH President 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.”

The Mississippi River Health Alliance (which includes AGH, CPDMH, 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, seven days a week.

The closest emergency departments are:


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