Extendicare Preston

Long-term care is in a safe position to step up and help

Extendicare’s partnership with The Ottawa Hospital will provide transitional care to patients in need

BY DR. MATTHEW MORGAN

A cursory glance at the news over the last couple of weeks will tell you there is a serious situation in Ontario’s hospitals.

The third wave of COVID-19 has put considerable strain on Ontario’s health system. For the long-term care community in Canada, it feels all too familiar – with staff overstretched, burnt out and getting sick themselves, and a shortage of staff to replace them.

When long-term care homes were battling outbreaks in wave 1 and wave 2, hospital systems around the province stepped in to help. Today, with high rates of vaccination among both our residents and team members, combined with ongoing testing of all staff and visitors to a home, our residents are more protected from this virus than at any other point in the pandemic.

Today, in a position of relative calm, we are ready and here for our hospital partners in their time of need, just as they supported us in earlier waves of this pandemic that so acutely and tragically impacted our sector.

Extendicare and The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) have a strong history of collaboration to support the health care needs of the Ottawa community, both before and during the pandemic.

Our organizations have partnered to deliver high-quality care outside of hospital through a new transitional care unit (TCU) that will accept patients on the top floor of Extendicare’s West End Villa by early May. The goal of the TCU is to help patients with complex care needs while they transition from hospital into community-based care setting, with 55 beds for patients receiving alternate levels of care.

And of course, we continue to be vigilant, with heightened infection prevention and control measures, including regular testing, to keep everyone in our home safe as the pandemic subsides.

TOH clinical staff will be on site to provide care for these patients’ complex needs, , and all residents at West End Villa will have access to the TOH academic family health team. This partnership, and partnerships like it, increase the capacity of care in both the long-term care home and the hospital, to the benefit of residents and patients in both.

By working together, Extendicare and TOH are better able to meet the diverse health care needs of the Ottawa community, while also alleviating the pressure in hospital and freeing up resources for the ICU at TOH. This partnership is a clear example of how long-term care can evolve to deepen relationships with health system partners, and will demonstrate how increased collaboration will better meet the health care needs of the Ottawa community for months to come.

We are all in an extremely challenging moment for our health system, and that challenge impacts every person who needs, or will need, to access health care in the weeks ahead. Extendicare is pleased to have this opportunity, and to do our part to assist our partners, just like they did for us.

  • Dr. Matthew Morgan, Chief Medical Officer, Extendicare