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Supporting a healthcare system under stress

Two staff members working at a Runnymede nursing station

With the launch of the Active Rehab Program, together with its plans for building a new 200-bed long-term care home, Runnymede is improving patients' access to care and services that are in increasing demand.

Overcrowding in Ontario hospitals is worsening as the population ages. By launching its new Active Rehab Program and moving ahead with plans to build a long-term care home, Runnymede Healthcare Centre addresses this challenge by improving access to forms of care that are in high demand, which increases the healthcare system’s capacity.

According to a recent report from the Government of Ontario, an average of 1,000 Ontarians received hallway medicine every day in 2018. A contributing factor is patients occupying hospital beds when they no longer need the level of care that the healthcare organization provides. Referred to as alternate level of care (ALC), these patients are usually unable to move to a more suitable location due to long wait lists for inpatient rehab, long-term care or community supports. Ultimately, serious backlogs and capacity issues result.

Key to Runnymede's response to this challenge has been the launch of its new Active Rehab Program, which provides intensive, short-term therapy after illness, injury or surgery. The program reduces wait times for treatment and makes it possible for the hospital to support more patients than before. "Our new Active Rehab Program improves flow and access for patients within the healthcare system," says Raj Sewda, Runnymede’s VP, Clinical Operations & Quality, Chief Nursing Executive & Chief Privacy Officer.

The hospital is also increasing system capacity by building a 200-bed long-term care home on its premises. Currently, many seniors stay in acute care for extended periods in ALC status as they wait for long-term care beds. Runnymede’s new long-term care home will increase seniors’ access to care in their community and reduce capacity pressures, while supporting the hospital's position as a Centre of Excellence for Aging and Wellness.

By providing Active Rehab and long-term care beds, Runnymede is helping patients to transition out of acute care sooner, which frees up much-needed capacity and lowers ALC rates in the healthcare system. According to Sewda, "Our new facility, paired with our enhanced focus on rehabilitation, helps to eliminate hallway medicine while ensuring our patients get the right care in the right place at the right time."