Hospitals in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg will hang on to some of the complex continuing care beds previously slated to be axed by the South West LHIN.
During a presentation to Oxford County council on Wednesday afternoon, members of the South West LHIN, which administers health-care spending in the region, said they plan to keep five CCC beds at Ingersoll’s Alexandra Hospital and 10 CCC beds at Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital.
Previously, regional municipalities were told that all 16 CCC beds in Tillsonburg and 14 CCC beds in Ingersoll would be eliminated with five CCC beds being added in Woodstock, bringing the total in Oxford County to 38.
“We are now finalizing the recommendations and the input that we received, particularly from the Alexandra Hospital in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, and we’ve modified the recommendations,” said Michael Barrett, CEO of South West LHIN.”
“Some of our recommendations, talking about the removal of our complex continuing care beds, it has raised concerns in some of those municipalities.”
A South West LHIN report indicates that in Oxford County, 62 % of people accessing CCC beds, which are intended for patients requiring specialized chronic care for long-term illnesses or disabilities, do not actually meet the provincial eligibility.
Barrett emphasized that all medical and surgerical beds will be maintained at both sites.
The purpose of eliminating CCC beds in Oxford, Barrett said, was to shift those resources to Grey-Bruce, which currently does not have any complex continuing care beds.
Barrett said that the decision to keep some CCC beds in Ingersoll and Tillsonburg will have an impact on other areas represented by the South West LHIN.
“[An earlier recommendation was that] some of those resources would be going to London as well for rehab beds at Parkwood Hospital. But that is not in the plan now,” Barrett said.
“There won’t be enough money to fund those rehab beds.”
Barrett said that Oxford is not the only area with a significant reduction in CCC beds. St. Thomas- Elgin will also be losing 15 CCC beds, as the current recommendations stand.
“I think the most important piece to understand is that care is shifting from being provided at the hospital setting to being provided in a community setting,” Barrett said.
“So the South West LHIN has provided a considerable amount of additional funding to allow people to be cared for at home.”
Barrett said that the current recommendations have been supported by both the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Alexandra Hospital, however, some council members still expressed concerns.
Tillsonburg Mayor John Lessif mentioned problems with home care and with public transportation.
“In rural Ontario… you are relying on friends and family,” Lessif said.
“One of the things that needs to be considered is it’s nice to be at home, but I have also heard four not so nice stories this week from people in my community who have concerns about being at home.”
Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey inquired about the differences in distribution of CCC beds in Oxford County.
“I do not like to see Ingersoll’s hospital in any way, shape, or form see a reduction in beds,” he said.
“What does it cost to have a CCC bed in Woodstock versus Ingersoll,” Comiskey asked.
Barrett explained that initially, the plan was to centralize all CCC beds in Woodstock, which would create efficiencies in care. CCC beds at Woodstock Hospital will now remain at 33.
The South West LHIN intends for the cuts to take effect immediately but councillors and staff at TDMH have requested that the timeframe be extended.
The final decision on the distribution of CCC bed will be determined when the recommendations are presented to the South West LHIN board on June 26.