Sudbury residents may be a little mystified by Health Minister Deb Matthews recent comments on their emergency room problem.
Health Sciences North recently closed 30 transitional beds in March. These beds were occupied by individuals described as alternate level of care (ALC) – patients who have completed their acute care treatment, but are not well enough to go home.
Now the hospital has among the highest waits in the province for access to its ER.
According to the Sudbury Star, a 17-hour wait in February expanded to a 19.7 hour wait in March. The hospital is fingering the rising number of ALC patients as the culprit.
Some would look at this and see some dots connecting.
Remarkably, in an interview with the Sudbury Star, Matthews said “I’ve been enormously impressed with the way the community has come together to find solutions.”
“In Denmark, they started planning for folks getting older in 1986 and they developed a wonderful system of caring in the community. We kind of started three years ago.” – Dr. Peter Zalan, president of the medical staff at Health Sciences North (Sudbury), in response overcrowding and long waits in the ER. (CBC News)
In 1987 Denmark decided to build no new nursing homes, and since then, the number of beds has dropped dramatically.
However, that does not mean there are no residential facilities for seniors that provide around the clock care in the country of 5.5 million. In 2007 about 41,000 Danes received permanent help in either a nursing home or a “nursing dwelling.” By comparison, Ontario with a population of more than 13 million people has about 76,000 people in long-term care homes.
What Denmark does do is provide a lot more home care.