Ottawa, Valley hospitals slowly, safely increasing scheduled activity

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Hospitals in the Champlain Region are taking a safe, coordinated and gradual approach to increasing scheduled services, postponed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While hospitals and their clinicians are eager to care for as many patients as safely possible, this measured approach is in line with direction from the provincial government, which acknowledges this process will take weeks and months.

Care teams are reviewing each case individually based on medical need and urgency, ensuring that risks and benefits are properly evaluated before rescheduling the surgery, procedure, diagnostic imaging or clinic appointment that cannot be done virtually. Patients will be contacted as their care can be rescheduled. This increase in service is separate from the ongoing urgent care provided by hospitals throughout the pandemic. Hospitals have also been offering, and will continue to offer, many supports and services virtually throughout the pandemic, such as mental health care and follow-up appointments.

The work of increasing surgeries, procedures and services is being carefully considered and balanced with the potential need to respond quickly in the event of a surge in COVID-19 patients. Hospitals in the region are collaborating to meet the provincial requirements prior to increasing services. Provincial criteria include: a lower-than-average number of patients in hospitals across the region, known as occupancy; appropriate staffing levels and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply; among other conditions.

“We will carefully monitor our care volumes and adjust our plans as needed; decreasing some services again might be necessary if the region’s ability to meet the criteria changes, or COVID-19 activity increases in hospitals,” communications lead Jane Adams released in a statement today (June 10). “And while some aspects of the patient experience will be different, such as fewer patients in waiting rooms, our teams will continue to deliver safe, high-quality, compassionate care.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts in Ontario may last many months to years. As the region enters this new phase of the pandemic, the ability of hospitals to continue their increase of scheduled services is directly linked to the community’s ongoing efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. As a community, we must continue to be vigilant — following instructions from public health, including proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and masking protocols. This will allow us to avoid future peaks in transmissions, which would lead to decreased levels of service once again.

“If anyone is in need of urgent care, we urge them to go to the nearest emergency department or contact their family doctor,” Adams said. “Hospitals in the region are taking every possible measure to ensure patient and staff safety and are here to care for everyone in need. Regardless of where care takes place in the region, patient safety is a top priority. We would like to thank our community for their support and for their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we would like to thank all hospital staff, health-care workers, and essential workers throughout the region for their continued hard work and dedication. We will continue to navigate this exceptional time by working together.”

Hospitals in the Champlain Region involved in this regional plan:

  • Almonte General Hospital
  • Arnprior Regional Health
  • Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital
  • CHEO
  • Cornwall Community Hospital
  • Deep River and District Hospital
  • Glengarry Memorial Hospital
  • Hawkesbury and District General
  • Kemptville District Hospital
  • Hôpital Montfort
  • Pembroke Regional Hospital
  • Queensway Carleton Hospital
  • Renfrew Victoria Hospital
  • The Royal
  • St. Francis Memorial Hospital
  • The Ottawa Hospital
  • University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  • Winchester District Memorial Hospital
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