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Home care could combat hospital overcrowding, says advocacy group 'People don’t want to live in an institution. They want to stay at home'

by Home Care Ontario | Mar 19, 2018

CBC News Posted: Mar 19, 2018 10:27 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018 10:27 AM ET

Home care could combat hospital overcrowding, says advocacy group 'People don’t want to live in an institution. They want to stay at home'

Staff at Windsor Regional Hospital struggled to keep up with a surge of flu patients and shortage of beds this winter. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

People lying in hospital beds across Ontario who don't need surgery or acute care could instead be resting at home and freeing up room in the province's overcrowded hospitals, according to Sue VanderBent.

The CEO of Home Care Ontario said the province's aging population, coupled with increasingly complex diseases, is creating a burden the health care system is not equipped to handle.

Hospitals in Windsor were at or over capacity for much of the winter, causing dozens of surgeries to be cancelled.

VanderBent said one solution to those problems is investing more in helping "alternative level of care" patients at home.

"Alternate level of care means a person who is in the hospital right now, but does not have any acute care needs. So they don't need any diagnostics. We know what's wrong with them. They don't need any surgery. They're simply waiting, either to go home or possibly to long-term care," she explained. "The reality is, they don't need acute care, so someone else is sitting in the ER who does need acute care and can't go up to that bed."

Patients want to stay home

Home Care Ontario has asked the government for $600 million in additional annual funding. VanderBent said she's hopeful officials recognize the importance of protecting "precious acute care beds."

"People don't want to live in an institution. They want to stay at home. They want to receive care at home and actually … a lot more people are saying 'if possible, I'd like to end my days here.'"

 

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