‘Hospital to Home’ program coming to Kitchener to free up hospital beds

A new program to help patients receive treatment at home and free up hospital beds is on the way for Waterloo Region.

The St. Joseph’s Home Care’s ‘Hospital to Home’ program was announced on Friday (March 1), helping to bridge the gap for patients at St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener who still require care, but no longer need to be in the hospital.

Before the introduction of the program, the process of transitioning patients from a hospital bed to receiving care at home could take up to seven days. Brandon Douglas, vice president of clinical services at St. Mary’s General Hospital, hopes that with the help of the program and their partners, they can cut that time in half, or even reduce it to within 24 hours.

“We’ve been gracious enough to receive funding from the ministry specific to this program,” said Douglas. “These programs are popping up across the province to help this backlog that we’re seeing through the emergency departments mainly.”

Part of the need for the program is to free up hospital beds for patients who require immediate, complex care.

“All hospitals in the province are at over-capacity on a regular basis,” said Douglas. “Through this winter particularly we’ve been operating, at times, at well over 115 per cent capacity. This puts a backlog on the emergency departments.”

Douglas added that at-home care can be a boost for patients, and says people tend to heal better at home.

The program was developed and operated in partnership with Home and Community Care Support Services and the members of the KW4 Ontario health team.

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