Between ALC and seasonal surge, Northumberland Hills Hospital president and chief executive officer Linda Davis predicts a tough winter for the hospital.
ALC is the term for alternative level of care, describing vulnerable patients who would be well enough for a discharge if the appropriate supports could be arranged – but until this situation is addressed, these patients continue to occupy a hospital bed and draw on hospital resources such as staff time.
Surge is a phenomenon of in-patient admissions for whatever reason (including flu season), increasing to the point of overriding capacity.
At the NHH board's December meeting, Davis shared the latest data for the Central East Local Health Integration Network, which had an ALC rate of 21.3%. And of the hospitals within the Central East LHIN, NHH had the sixth-highest rate at 20.5%.
As for surge, Davis said it was something that could normally be expected from time to time, but it seems to be growing for now,
“This morning we were at 117% occupancy with 10 in emerg,” she said.
“It's difficult in ER when everything gets backed up and we can't get new patients into beds.
“It's going to be a tough winter, I think, for us. I have asked for a session with the LHIN about this.”
NHH shares seven steps for a healthy holiday season
The flu-vaccination campaign Northumberland Hills Hospital launches each fall for staff and physicians is doing well, president and chief executive officer Linda Davis announced at the December board meeting,
“I'm very pleased in terms of the flu vaccination rate. It's higher already than last year,” Davis said.
“It's 53% right now and we're still working on it. Last year, I don't think we made the 50% mark – closer to 45%.”
The hospital encourages flu vaccination for its own physicians and staff, as well as for members of the community. In fact, the first step of the Seven Steps for a Healthy Holiday Season is, “Get your flu shot, not the flu.”
The seven steps have been included in the hospital's In Touch newsletter, and were also part of Davis's senior management report at the board meeting. The other steps are:
Wash your hands (and wash them often) to reduce your risk of picking up unwanted germs.
Eat well and get a good balance of rest and exercise to strengthen your immune system.
Sneeze and cough into your sleeve (not your hand) to minimize the risk of spreading germs to surfaces you touch.
Stay home from work, school and public events if you are sick – not only to get the rest you need to get better, but also to minimize the spread of germs you may be carrying.
Plan ahead for the holidays (for example, by making note of your doctor's or nurse practitioner's holiday hours and ensuring in advance that your prescriptions are up to date).
Consider alternatives to an emergency-room visit. This might include the Telehealth Ontario service (1-866-797-0000), visiting the Central East Local Health Integration Network HealthLine website for a list of health and community services across the region (http://www.centraleasthealthline.ca/), or visiting the Port Hope walk-in clinic on the second floor at 99 Toronto Rd. (905-885-0611). It will be closed Dec. 25 and 26 and on Jan. 1 but, otherwise, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays (at the discretion of the physician on duty).
“We just wanted to make sure everyone does try to stay healthy through the holidays,” Davis said.
NHH Foundation announces successful 2018 gala
Northumberland Hills Hospital president and chief executive officer Linda Davis took a moment at the December hospital-board meeting to express thanks to foundation chair Tyler Hathway and executive director Rhonda Cunningham for the work they did to make to make the big 2018 gala such a success.
Hathway said the proceeds were “a record-breaking $270,000.”
Records were also broken on the Dec. 1 Reindeer Run, with 185 participants (up from 140 last year), Proceeds are split between the foundation and YMCA Northumberland, he said, and the foundation's share was almost $1,500.
The annual Light Up A Life campaign has been launched, and stands at $100,000 of its $150,000 goal.
And overall, Hathway said, the foundation is making good progress on its goal of raising $2.4-million for the hospital. As of Nov. 30, their unaudited figures show they have raised $2.194-million to date in a fiscal year that ends March 31.
Register now for December PACE session
Spaces are still open for the Dec. 19 PACE presentation on chronic pain and the symptom cycle.
At the December Northumberland Hills Hospital board meeting, president and chief executive officer Linda Davis said the monthly sessions that chief of staff Dr. Mukash Bhargava began organizing three years ago continue to draw a sizeable audience.
The November session presented by emergency-department chief Dr. Peter Barnett – How To Prepare For Your Trip to the Emergency Department – was attended by more than 50 people, and has been recorded and uploaded to www.pacetalks.com.
It was a subject appropriate for any time of year, Davis's report said, but even more so as we head into the busy flu and holiday season,
The hour-long sessions consist of a 30-minute talk, a 20-minute question-and-answer time, and a 10-minute moderator summary. Locations alternate between Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg and Port Hope's Community Health Centre Northumberland. On Dec. 19, Dr. Francesco Mule's presentation will take place in Port Hope.
Davis's report included a list of sessions through May,
Science of Happiness in Cobourg on Jan. 16 with Dr. Bhargava.
Ancient Wisdom With Today's Food in Port Hope on Feb. 20 with Dr. Deepa Bhargava.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Finding Quality Health Information On-line in Cobourg on March 20 with Amanda Ross-White.
Science of Mindfulness in Port Hope on April 17 with Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix.
Caring For Your Skin in Cobourg on May 22 with Dr. Anuja Sharma.
Sessions are free, but registration is required. You can sign up by visiting www,pacetalks.com.