Ontario's Bill 7 helping to open more beds at Windsor Regional Hospital

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Legislation designed to get more patients out of a hospital bed and into a long-term care setting is helping to open up bed space at Windsor Regional Hospital.

The Ontario government's Bill 7, which went into effect Sept. 21, allows alternative level of care (ALC) patients to be moved out of the hospital bed they're occupying and into an available to a long-term care bed, while they wait for a bed in their preferred setting.

As of 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, Windsor Regional Hospital had 21 alternative level of care patients designated for long-term care, who have been in the hospital for a combined 281 days or an average of 13 days per patient.

In September, the hospital was providing care for 33 alternative level of care patients for long-term care, who had been in the hospital for a combined 913 days or an average of 28 days per patient.

David Musyj, President and CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital points out the reason they're at 102-to-103% occupancy and not at 120% occupancy is that they've been able to reduce the number of days ALC for long-term care patients are actually in the hospital.

Musyj says Bill 7 has opened up the conversation between the family, home and community care, and front line staff on what the options are for long-term care.

"Instead of being pigeon-holed into, we're going to pick one, three or five, it's here's what's available in the system," he says. "At the same time, have a more fulsome discussion regarding, however if you want to go home, these are the home and community care services we can provide for you."

Musyj points out that they are saving at least 12 beds per day on a given day under the current system, but the occupancy would be much higher if they were occupied by an ALC for long-term care patient.

"The number of ALC for long-term care directly impact our census and how many beds we have available to take acute care patients," he says. "Especially when you drop down to a combined 281 days, that means they're flowing, that means they're moving. That means once they're designated ALC for long-term care, they're going to the appropriate place."

As of Thursday, Dec. 8, Windsor Regional Hospital reported the Met Campus had six admit no bed patients while the Ouellette Campus had 2 admit no bed patients in the emergency department, those are patients who are in the hospital but waiting for an acute care bed to open.

Musyj says this has freed up capacity for acute care patients to come up from the emergency department.

"That's why the admit no beds number drops as well, it's all tied together," he says. "The proof is in the pudding right there with respect how this has helped us not have a crisis."

When the province announced the plans for the Bill 7 back on Sept. 14, Windsor Regional Hospital had close to 30 admit no bed patients in the emergency department waiting for an acute care bed to open up. 

Under the legislation, patients can not be moved more than 70 kilometres away from their long-term bed of choice but if a patient refuses to leave their hospital bed, they will be charged $400 a day for staying in the hospital.

Musyj adds their goal is never to have issue a letter charging a patient.