Cranbrook’s East Kootenay Regional Hospital is no exception when it comes to over capacity issues plaguing British Columbia’s hospital system.
Figures released last week by the AbbotsfordNews show the province’s hospitals have operated between 102 and 104 per cent capacity since 2012.
IH’s Erica Phillips says EKRH’s average occupancy was 106 per cent last year.
Phillips says that doesn’t mean the facility is full every day of the year, as there’s peaks and drops and seasonal trending.
She suggests there are numerous contributing factors, for example, this past year was a severe flu season that lead to more people checking into hospitals.
Phillips adds there are times throughout the year where they face challenges but they have strategies in place to help them deal with them.
She explains they review their patients on a daily basis to see if they can be discharged and sent home with additional care.
Part of the stats acquired through a Freedom of information request show one of every seven hospital beds in BC are occupied by people who could be discharged but are waiting for those support services.
Phillips points to 30 additional residential care beds expected to become available in Cranbrook by Fall 2018 as something that will help mitigate volume issues.
She says they also have the ability to open up additional spaces at EKRH, such as their surgical daycare unit, to accommodate patient admissions when they have capacity challenges.
Phillips says they expect spikes of occupancy to continue over the short and medium term but she could not say if these issues are expected to last for the foreseeable future.
– Josh Hoffman
– Interior Health’s East Kootenay Acute Health Services Manager Erica Phillips