Occupancy rates remain above capacity in Greater Victoria hospitals

Region’s hospitals have more patients than acute care beds

Hospitals across the province are operating over capacity and Victoria is no exception.

Data obtained by Black Press Media reveals that in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Victoria General Hospital’s occupancy rate was at 106.1 per cent and the Royal Jubilee Hospital at 105.2 per cent – putting both in the red. The Saanich Peninsula Hospital was the most strained in the region at 110.2 per cent occupancy.

But the numbers also show that the overloaded Victoria facilities are far from isolated. The region’s hospitals are among the vast majority – 49 in total – of B.C. hospitals over capacity.

READ ALSO: B.C. hospital system has been operating over capacity for five years

Occupancy rates were defined by the number of inpatient days per the number of acute care beds. Inpatient days are defined as the days a patient stays in hospital while undergoing treatment – while acute care beds are for patients receiving active but short-term treatment for a severe injury, illness, urgent medical condition or recovery from surgery.

Island Health provided a statement to Black Press Media, saying like other health authorities across the province, the region’s hospitals are becoming busier – due mainly to population growth and aging, as well as the “increasing number of medical interventions available.”

“Despite these challenges, all Island Health facilities continue to have capacity to respond to critical and emergency cases,” said Cheryl Bloxham, Island Health spokesperson. “We never turn patients away and our goal is always to deliver high-quality care in an environment of continuous improvement.”

READ ALSO: Hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Notably, occupancy rates in Greater Victoria hospitals dip – in most cases below 100 per cent – when the alternate level of care (ALC) patients are excluded. ALC patients are those who are not acutely ill but are occupying acute care hospital beds. In many cases, they’re patients that could be discharged if there was more adequate long-term care available.

Bloxham said the health authority is working on strategies to reduce the length of stay within the hospitals and improve access to community-based care – efforts that include “moving patients who don’t require acute care out of hospitals and into community settings.”

READ ALSO: Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

In November, home support care delivered by Beacon Community Services transitioned to Island Health, transferring 2,600 home support clients to the health authority. Island Health also pointed to the Ministry of Health’s investments in team-based urgent and primary care centres across the province – with the newest set to open in James Bay in 2020.

When asked about the diversion of ambulances – when emergency vehicles are re-routed to other facilities – Bloxham said there are a lot of factors taken into account when deciding which hospital a patient is taken to. Those factors include staffing levels and having the right staff onsite to treat a specific injury or illness, as well as the hospital’s area of expertise.

READ ALSO: Victoria’s first urgent primary health clinic coming to James Bay

With files from Tyler Olsen.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria woman to sell masks on wheels after garage stand shut down

Mama’s Masks stand accompanied Moss Street Market

Greater Victoria non-profit advocates for the use of psilocybin for terminal patients

North Saanich psychotherapist pushes for alternative treatment

Gathering marks 10 years since nearly 500 asylum-seekers landed off Victoria shore

The 492 people fleeing violence, war crimes and genocide in Sri Lanka were detained for months

One person in custody after hours-long Cook Street standoff with barricaded robbery suspects

Victoria police say 2300-block of Cook Street has reopened to drivers

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read