VIDEO: Busy Time for Erie Shores HealthCare

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More and more people are using the emergency department at Erie Shores Healthcare in Leamington.

Vice President of Patient Services Kristin Kennedy says the department is on track to see a 15 percent increase in emergency room visits in 2019-2020.

That works out to roughly 37,000 additional visits.

Kennedy tells AM800 News the hospital has invested about $1-million to additional front line resources.

"The hospital has noted the increase workload for both physicians and the frontline staff," says Kennedy.  "We welcome the increase and are excited to be apart of it.  We have invested some of our own funding dollars into some increased staffing support to offset the increase."    

Kennedy adds the increase has not impacted wait times.

"We have actually been able to maintain our wait times and we've had great success with our ambulance off load times as well," says Kennedy.  "We have one of the lowest outcomes and performance indicators in the region.  We sit about 24 minutes for our EMS to be off loaded then back on the road to be able to service other patients in need."    

Kennedy says the increases began last October.

"We knew it was coming," says Kennedy.  "We were able to prepare somewhat for it however maybe didn't anticipate some of the extenuating circumstances or impact it would have on the front line staff but we were easily able to remedy that with some support for the physicians and front line staff."     

Kennedy says the increase is partly due to a 45 percent increase in EMS volumes and a new catchment area that includes majority of the county.

The hospital has also seen its occupancy rates climb above 100 percent and as high as 120 percent since October.