Hospitals jammed but Fraser Health predicts progress

Board chair Karen Matty says winter flu surge a blip as FHA reforms kick in (with interactive charts by hospital)

Fraser Health board chair Karen Matty.

Fraser Health board chair Karen Matty.

Hospitals in Fraser Health remain severely congested despite the launch of a new strategy last year to improve patient flow, according to the authority’s latest statistics.

Less than 39 per cent of the region’s emergency patients last year were admitted to hospital within 10 hours – far below a provincial target of 55 per cent – suggesting hallway medicine remains rampant in ERs.

The numbers were worst at Langley and Delta hospitals (both at 29 per cent), Peace Arch (31 per cent), Mission Memorial (32 per cent), and Surrey Memorial and Chilliwack General (both at 32 per cent.) That means more than two-thirds of ER patients in all those hospitals typically waited longer than 10 hours for a bed.

Other key capacity indicators in the health region’s newly released monthly report card show hospitals across the region are also struggling to meet targets to limit the average length of patient stay, the number of patients staying more than 30 days and the proportion of patients who could instead be treated at home or in other settings instead of hospital.

Fraser Health board chair Karen Matty said ERs are jammed right now from the annual winter surge, mainly due to large numbers of patients arriving sick from the flu.

“You don’t build an airport for the Christmas rush and you don’t build a hospital for the flu season,” Matty said in an interview. “The airlines get to say ‘We’re sold out.’ But we can’t turn patients away.”

Matty said she’s confident Fraser will soon see good results from its new strategic and operational plan, which was completed last year after a review ordered by Health Minister Terry Lake.

“We’ve turned the ship in my view,” she said. “We’re on a very positive road to try to shift services to the community.”

The plan aims to find new ways to decongest hospitals by providing more services at home or in community settings, and also by preventative medicine to limit chronic disease rates as the population ages.

As more capacity comes on line outside hospitals, it’s hoped there will be fewer people in hospital who don’t need to be occupying a bed, clogging the flow of incoming patients.

Matty said there’s a “huge” effort underway to work to ensure more residents across the region have a family doctor where they can get much treatment.

“If people don’t have a family physician, they end up in the ER.”

More residential care beds, home care services and working with families of patients are all parts of the region’s interlinked approach, she said.

The very fact congestion statistics and various other performance measures are now being made public in monthly report cards for the entire region and each hospital is also a significant improvement, she added.

“We’ve become far more transparent and accountable,” Matty said. “The report cards help us focus. We’ve never had a reporting mechanism like this.”

Several indicators show significant improvement, including rates of infection by resistant bacteria like C. difficile and MRSA that are now much better than the region’s targets.

Fraser Health is also on track to end the year almost right on its $3.3-billion budget at the end of March, perhaps with a very thin surplus.

Cost control allowed the region to increase the number of surgeries and MRI scans it performs until the fiscal year finishes at the end of March.

HOSPITAL STATISTICS | Crear infográficos

View more details and complete report cards as of January 2015:Fraser Health full report cardAbbotsford Regional HospitalBurnaby HospitalChilliwack General HospitalDelta HospitalEagle Ridge HospitalFraser Canyon HospitalLangley Memorial HospitalPeace Arch HospitalMission Memorial HospitalRidge Meadows HospitalRoyal Columbian HospitalSurrey Memorial Hospital

 

Just Posted

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

(Unsplash.com)
Protecting our elders: It’s up to all of us to look out for them

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada. (ADOBE STOCK IMAGE)
Shining a light on brain injury in Canada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read