Hospitals in the Fraser Health region continue to struggle with high levels of  congestion. It's hoped that a shift of elderly patients out to new residential care beds will help.

Hospitals in the Fraser Health region continue to struggle with high levels of congestion. It's hoped that a shift of elderly patients out to new residential care beds will help.

Fraser cuts hospital beds as care homes open

Health region to shift patients out of hospitals to community care facilities

Fraser Health will close 80 hospital beds across the region this spring as it simultaneously opens up hundreds of new residential care beds and embarks on a long-awaited shift of aging patients out of hospitals and back into local communities.

The strategy has been years in the works and is culminating now as 400 residential beds are set to come on stream across the region.

“This will happen over the next six months,” Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said. “As those residential care beds come available, we’ll be able to move people into them and slowly the reductions will happen.”

Beds will be cut at 10 hospitals – all of them except Delta and Fraser Canyon.

The reductions work out to less than three per cent of Fraser’s 3,000 total hospital acute care beds.

Fraser officials hope the shift into the community will ultimately mean better, more appropriate care for those patients, as well as fewer people clogging hospital beds and less ER congestion.

“What we’re hearing is people want to go home and they want to go back into their communities,” Juma said.

Juma maintained the region will see a net increase in combined residential and acute care beds and a net increase in jobs as more support staff are being deployed for community care.

Ten new hospice beds are also being opened.

The 400 new residential complex care beds opening are split between four projects in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Surrey and White Rock at a cost of $34.5 million to Fraser.

Fraser has long pursued a “home is best” long-range strategy to decongest hospitals but that took on renewed urgency in 2013 when Health Minister Terry Lake ordered a review after the health region repeatedly failed to stay within its budget.

“Care in the community is certainly less expensive than hospital care,” Juma acknowledged. “The long-term benefit is we will see those gains in the future.”

B.C. Nurses Union president Gayle Duteil opposes the plan to close beds, saying hospitals are already heavily congested before the planned shift in resources.

“Last week we saw a record high number of patients waiting for beds in wards,” Duteil said. “Some patients were waiting in the ER for upwards of four hours just to be triaged. That is not safe patient care.”

She questioned whether enough nurses are working in community care to handle the new patients.

Juma agreed hospital emergency departments are busy right now, partly because of higher winter volumes.

“We are going to ensure the support in the community is there before we start reducing those bed numbers.”

Fraser Health’s latest report card shows the region continues to far underperform its targets on how long patients stay in hospital as well as key measures of ER congestion.

Just Posted

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Nominate your neighbors for a 2021 Communities in Bloom/Miracle-Gro Best Garden Selection Award. (Facebook photo)
Hope Communities in Bloom puts out call for nominations

Twelve gardens will win a 2021 Communities in Bloom/Miracle-Gro Best Garden Selection Award

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read