RE: “Surgical wait times remain a problem” Gazette April 11 2014.
When it comes to health-care, perhaps the biggest problem we are facing is the fact that many of us are still waiting at least six months for surgeries that we need performed right away. It would seem that our government’s current way of dealing with this problem has been a glorious failure. With a new Liberal government ready to tackle this challenge, here are some suggestions from someone who works on the front-lines of health-care and has seen the effects of cancelled surgeries; a nurse.
What physicians fail to realize time and time again is that hospital beds are extremely precious and that every available resource should be made in order to free them up. While premier Couillard’s idea to create 50 super clinics is a good one that should send less patients to hospital emergency rooms for care, it will not decrease wait times for surgeries because it will not free up beds. The best way to free up a bed is to discharge patients that simply do not need to be in a hospital. How do we do that? Take all the money and resources we were going to put towards the 50 super clinics and put it towards home-care instead. There are literally hundreds of patients across the island who could be getting treated at home instead of a hospital if only we had the resources and the nurses to give them. For instance, I once successfully treated a patient who needed two intravenous antibiotics every 12 hours, vital signs and blood-tests and dressing changes everyday, entirely from the comfort of his den. This is more care than most “stable” patients in a hospital require so why are these “stable” patients still in hospital? Because of poor management of beds. It must be reinforced to physicians that they must plan their discharges early and efficiently during the course of their patients’ admissions. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve seen patients languishing in hospital beds because of poor planning from their physicians and poor communication from the entire team treating that particular patient.
I truly believe that if could simply change our way of thinking by maximizing spending on home-care and being more efficient in how we manage beds, we could drastically cut wait times for surgeries as the primary reason why these times are so long is that there are no beds available when we need them most.
Nathan Friedland RN