Queensway Carleton opens new off-site patient unit and closes hotel unit


“We never thought we would have patients in a hotel for more than two years.”

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When Queensway Carleton Hospital moved some patients to a renovated hotel in Kanata in March 2020, officials believed it would be a temporary pandemic measure.

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This was not the case, and the need for additional beds with specialist supports will likely continue for the foreseeable future, but in a new location.

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Two and a half years later, the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Kanata is now resuming its main hotel operation and Queensway Carleton has moved its patients from the hotel to a newly renovated offsite patient unit in an Ottawa retirement home .

This is not what hospital officials expected at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Falconer, President and CEO of Queensway Carleton Hospital.
Andrew Falconer, President and CEO of Queensway Carleton Hospital. Photo by Julie Olivier /Postmedia

“When we opened the hotel-turned-hospital, we thought it would be temporary. Over the past two and a half years, it has become an essential part of our operations, allowing us to safely care for more patients than ever before. said Dr. Andrew Falconer, president and CEO of the hospital.

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The new offsite unit at Park Place Retirement Home in Ottawa’s Central Park neighborhood allows the hospital to continue caring for these patients “while we plan for the future,” Falconer said.

The hospital has treated 56 patients at the Fairfield Inn and has the same number of beds – occupied by hospital employees – at Park Place. Queensway Carleton has a total of 355 beds.

“We never thought we would have patients in a hotel for more than two years,” said Sylvia Pearce, director of geriatrics, rehabilitation, ALC, patient flow, discharge services and other health professions at Queensway Carleton. But the hospital does not have the capacity to reabsorb those 56 patients at its main campus, she added.

The Queensway Carleton Hospital was completing the final transfer of patients from the Fairfield Inn & Suites to the Park Place nursing home on Wednesday.
The Queensway Carleton Hospital was completing the final transfer of patients from the Fairfield Inn & Suites to the Park Place nursing home on Wednesday. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

As the final transfer of patients from Fairfield to Park Place was underway on Wednesday, Queensway Carleton Hospital reached 113 per cent capacity and warned people to expect longer wait times than usual. usual in the emergency room.

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But the hospital’s new offsite unit does more than help it deal with overcrowding, Pearce said. It also helps more patients to leave the hospital.

About half of the patients currently hospitalized at Park Place are receiving transitional and rehabilitative care, intended for a return home or community living form. The other half are so-called ALC (alternate level of care) patients, a group that is the focus of provincial efforts to free up hospital beds.

Ontario’s controversial Bill 7 aims to move some patients more quickly from hospital beds to long-term care homes by moving them to homes they don’t want to go, in some cases, and charging $400 a day to stay in the hospital if they refuse.

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But Pearce said there remained a significant number of ALC patients who could not be transferred to long-term care homes because their needs – often behavioral – exceeded the care the long-term care home could provide. These are the patients most likely to stay longer in hospital beds, sometimes restrained, even with the introduction of Bill 7.

Pearce said the Park Place unit would include special behavioral supports that, in a more family-like setting, would help prepare some of these patients to eventually move into long-term care homes or retirement homes and out of the hospital. The environment and supports will play an important role in this process, she said.

“There really is something to be said for access to an outdoor courtyard, recreational and behavioral therapies, and a residential environment with a different focus of care,” she said.

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Pearce said the hospital is likely to continue to need offsite space, such as the two floors in Park Place, for some time to come. She said using this space to help more patients leave the hospital was the right thing to do.

“I think it’s our responsibility, instead of saying the hospital is the wrong place, to figure out what the right care is and how do we help them move.”

Fairfield Inn general manager Dave Fowler said working with the hospital and caring for members of the community has been “a wonderfully rewarding experience” for the hotel.

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