Hospitals in Hamilton, Burlington, Niagara promise to put patients first in light of Bill 7

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Published September 27, 2022 at 10:14 am

A group of nine hospitals, including those in Hamilton, Niagara and Burlington, have issued a statement promising to provide patients and families the utmost care and support in light of the recent Bill 7 passed by the province.

In response to province-wide health system capacity constraints, the Government of Ontario has passed Bill 7 (More Beds, Better Care Act), which impacts patients who are clinically determined as ready for discharge and are awaiting placement in their preferred long-term care home.

A patient who is waiting in hospital for an alternate level of care (ALC) no longer requires the specialized treatment/services of the bed type that they are in, but needs on-going care in another type of bed or community setting.

If services or beds such as those in long-term care are not immediately available, patients remain in hospital. This impacts the availability of beds for new patients who require hospital care, and results in patients being cared for in unconventional spaces, such as hallways.

“Unfortunately, we see this reality in our hospitals every day and we know the challenges this presents for our patients, as well as our teams wanting to provide necessary care,” said the joint letter.

The letter, published on the Niagara Health website, was signed by:

  • Brant Community Healthcare
  • Haldimand War Memorial Hospital
  • Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Hotel Dieu Shaver
  • Joseph Brant Hospital
  • Niagara Health
  • Norfold General Hospital
  • St. Joseph’s Healthcare
  • West Haldimand General Hospital

Under Bill 7, Ontario’s Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS) staff will be able to temporarily place patients who no longer require hospital care in an available bed at a long-term care home within 70 kms, while they await an available bed in their preferred home.

“We want to assure our patients and their families we are working closely with HCCSS staff, our regional hospital partners, and our community partners to facilitate this new process, and to make sure it’s implemented in a way that offers the utmost support and care to the impacted patients and families.”

There are well-established processes in place to assist patients and families with identifying long-term care options. For any patients who might be impacted by the new legislation, HCCSS staff will provide ample communication and support in advance of any placement decisions.

“We are committed to compassion and support for everyone impacted as this legislation proceeds. Our organizations work tirelessly to assure the health and safety of everyone we care for, including those in hospital today, as well as those urgently awaiting hospital care. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

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