Here are my thoughts regarding the news article, "HOSPITAL OVERCROWDING: 'A recipe for really bad outcomes,' Horwath says".
I wonder if it’s time we creatively approach care for our elders by investigating current building resources, that could be transitioned into interim Long-Term care beds. I reflect back on places like the old St. Catharine’s General hospital site, which was purchased for development into over 200 apartments, and other amenities.
Imagine if governments started to rethink the purpose of these empty beds.
What if there had been funding to create a center of excellence for individuals waiting for LTC? Patients from local hospitals would be moved into an environment, specially prepared to meet their unique needs.
Think about what might have been: Brock University nursing program students being taught the fundamentals of Geriatric nursing, in a true model of care. Personal Support Workers from Niagara College and other schools, being given a home base to facilitate their care practicum for the elderly. Students of social work, assisting with the transitioning for families and elders alike, in preparation for LTC. A hub created for medical residents to develop their expertise in geriatric care. Recreation students having the perfect locale to develop the skill set, to assist in the provision of therapeutic recreation.
Of course there would be costs involved...
Remodeling, updating, and reducing the overall institutional feel of a building. There would be staffing costs incurred for resident care. But, if hospital patients are already paying their portion of LTC rates, this could be included in their stay, (alike the eventual costs incurred when a LTC bed becomes available). The MOHLTC would assume their portion of the funding, as they do in any existing Long-Term Care home.
Of course there would need to be feasibility studies, to determine appropriate sites available, versus renovation costs, and projected client numbers requiring services. Families may need to drive a little further while waiting for their LTC beds of choice, a small trade off for peace of mind. But, it seems if we can mitigate the costs, this could be a plausible solution. Beds would be released in hospitals, as elders would have a place to go that provided the level of care needed, if their own home was not manageable.
Potentially, a more complex unit could be added for the care of patients who have limited opportunities to leave the hospital, because of challenging health concerns.
Reinvesting now in the aging population seems like a timely, and prudent idea.
This type of creative thinking provides an alternate in care, for a population with a heavy percentage of aging individuals. The St. Catharine’s General Hospital was a missed opportunity. Let’s start looking at government properties that may do well with repurposing, and seize opportunities to improve the quality of care for our elders.
Tip: Download Free Elder Pilot mobile apps for iPhone and Android when touring homes.
Photo Credit: Life Site News