A News Commentary posted November 3rd, 2017 on Niagara At Large
“It is irrefutable that overcrowded emergency departments lead to higher rates of patient mortality,” reads an excerpt from a news release circulated this November 1st by the citizens-based health care advocacy group called the Ontario Health Coalition and posted this November 2nd on Niagara At Large. “Yet the majority of Ontario’s hospitals are routinely running at more than 85 percent capacity almost all the time and many are running at 100 – 120 percent or even higher.”
This is a news release that was responded to with commentary sent Niagara At Large’s way from Linda McKellar – a Niagara, Ontario resident and retired nurse who has also been a vocal advocate for quality, public health care services in Niagara – and as much as it is already featured below the Ontario Health Coalition post on our site, Niagara At Large believes it has things to say that are important enough to post it again here.
The over-riding point in McKellar’s commentary is that the overcrowding problem in hospitals here in Niagara and across Ontario is hardly new.
It is a problem that has been there and has been building to crisis proportions – all the while waiting for some government in the province to exercise the will and effort to fix – for far too long now.
Here now is the Commentary by Linda McKellar –
This is not a new situation. I have been retired for almost eight years and it went on for at least a decade prior to that.
There is no privacy… so cool trying to move your bowels on a bedpan in a hallway. Not really too pleasant for your neighbours either, especially when they are already sick.
A great way to get infections from nearby patients. Oops, they now must be called “clients” for some bizarre reason, perhaps because health care is now a business – I hated and refused to use the term.
It is noisy. How can anyone rest and recuperate in a maelstrom? The lights are often left on 24/7. Very restful! Every time another patient has to go to Xray or elsewhere, everyone else gets shuffled and jostled around. So what if they’re in pain or trying to rest. If they have to be assisted to the bathroom, of course the lovely hospital gowns leave little to the imagination of those around you. Add that to visitors trying to see their loved ones and the scene is like a shopping mall at Christmas minus the festive atmosphere.
What if someone has a crisis like a cardiac arrest? No call bells. No oxygen or suction available in a hall. Resuscitation has to be done on the spot or somehow moved to an appropriate place, to the dismay of onlookers. How awful! Dying in a hallway! That doesn’t even consider the stress on the patients nearby. Even when a patient does die, you have to try to find some semi secluded spot for the family to visit and grieve. DISGUSTING AND DEGRADING!
It is a fire hazard and against fire regulations. I suggest staff call the fire department every time the halls are clogged and the proverbial sh*t will hit the fan. The fire departments have better things to do than answer repetitive calls and eventually someone will act. How could anyone evacuate in such conditions? With oxygen and other flammables plentiful, it is a tragedy waiting to happen.
There is very little confidentiality. You can’t help but overhear what is going on three feet away.
Some patients have even been “stored”, for lack of a better term, in closets or anterooms which also have no facilities.
The staff can’t do their job when not provided with the necessities for doing so. I know for a fact that many staff go home exhausted and in despair because they are overburdened and can’t give the care and attention they want to give.
They are stressed and exhausted and it shows. That is certainly no good for public relations. Then they get sick, either emotionally or physically or both.
They call in sick and that requires already tired staff to work overtime, both costly and hard on the staff and on the patients. Exhausted and disheartened staff are not good care givers. How can they be?
That’s like a truck driver driving 24 hours. Would you want that trucker on the road with you? The cost of overtime for calling in off duty staff in such cases far exceeds hiring the extra staff necessary on a full time basis, even with paying their benefits.
It’s mind boggling that the powers that be cannot comprehend that such behaviour is skyrocketing the very costs they wish to cut. The readmission rates, infection rates and poor recovery outcomes are detrimental to both the system and the patients. A lose/lose situation.
If these people are economists and administrators, they aren’t very good ones. In fact, they are terrible and should be fired. Ask the staff for the solutions. They have the answers because they are front line. They don’t sit in an office or wander around with a clip board.
Sending people to out of town facilities for cancer treatments, dialysis and palliative care, usually involving the elderly for whom travel is a hardship, if not an impossibility, is vile and heartless. The solution, close local hospitals. Bah, humbug!
This is not totally the fault of the local hospitals or the staff. The fault lies squarely with the GOVERNMENT. I recall going to the Royal York to protest with a Fort Erie group where we were joined by others from Guelph, Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, Kingston, Windsor, Cambridge….all over the province. The Minister of Health at the time was Deb Matthews. The coward went out the back door. She couldn’t even face the people who pay her and whose lives she was endangering.
I could go on and on but to what point? Whew, at least that’s off my chest. SOOO glad I left my profession before it destroyed me completely. As the “illustrious” Donald J Trump would say….the only time I could possibly agree with him…”SAD!”
Linda McKellar is a Niagara, Ontario resident and retired nurse who remains a strong advocate for quality, universal health care. She is also an avid follower of public affairs who frequently shares here views on Niagara At Large.
To read the news release circulated by the Ontario Health Coalition and posted on Niagara At Large this November 2nd that the above commentary by Linda McKellar is responding to, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2017/11/02/ontario-health-coalition-calls-for-long-term-plan-to-reinvest-rebuild-hospital-bed-capacity-across-province/#more-27975 .