Queensway Carleton Hospital
As the only hospital located in western Ottawa, QCH’s more than 2,000 health care professionals and its 264 beds serve a population of over 400,000 in Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. With the ever-changing healthcare environment, Queensway Carleton Hospital is a vibrant and growing hospital that has just finalized an impressive redevelopment.
QCH had been chosen to consolidate the childbirth services from another hospital that was phased out during the Ontario Health Services restructuring process. Since 1998, QCH has been regenerating and expanding its services with the addition of Maternal/Newborn Program, expansion of the Emergency Department, ICU, Rehabilitation Program, Surgical Program and Operating Suites, acute geriatrics, and more. With this redevelopment, QCH effectively became the central hospital for the community and for many regional healthcare needs.
“The past 15 years of development have changed our position in the community. We were known as the local community hospital, but with the growth, physical and program wise, we now have a regional reach, and we go far beyond our immediate catchment area. Our latest Phase III. Capital Redevelopment Project recently added about 140,000 square feet of space, at a total cost of about $100 million,” says Tom Schonberg, President and CEO.
QCH’s catchment area is one of the fastest growing and aging populations in Canada. According to 2011 Census data for Ottawa, 14 per cent of the population in QCH’s immediate catchment area is over the age of 65 (slightly higher than other Ottawa areas with approximately 13 per cent), and 3 out of 5 communities in QCH’s catchment area rank among the highest in concentration of elderly persons across the City of Ottawa. Among this population, 77 per cent have at least one chronic health condition such as arthritis, hypertension, asthma, depression, etc., and 40 per cent have two or more. This population is expected to grow by 3.5 per cent per year, doubling in the next 20 years.
The hospital recognized and embraced the vision to improve the management of geriatric patients with innovative, best practice programs and approaches.
“The future of hospital care is in the care for the elderly. We recognize that acute care patients are treated and cared for in a matter of days, however, we see frail elderly the most often and they typically require longer lengths of stay due to the complexity of their condition. They are more sensitive to illnesses and can experience various complications while they are in the hospital,” explains Dr. Fraser Miller, Chief of Geriatrics & Rehabilitation, and continues, “Our geriatrics program is a collaborative program. It’s a shared vision.”
QCH’s Geriatric Day Hospital provides an inter-professional, specialized geriatric outpatient service. The Geriatric Day Hospital serves as a treatment centre that helps seniors gain and maintain a healthy and independent lifestyle. The centre serves seniors above 60 years of age who require assessment, rehabilitation, and treatment in order to remain independent.The service also includes a liaison to the community support networks needed by the patients.
QCH partnered with the Champlain LHIN to create a 24 bed Transition to Home Unit, taking frail seniors from other areas of the hospital with a focus to transition these patients to home. QCH was also chosen by the Champlain LHIN to pilot the “Home First” philosophy in partnership with the Champlain Community Care Access Centre.
“Our latest leading practice proposal, the Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE) unit received strong support as a priority from the Champlain LHIN, our regional health authority,” says Schonberg. “If approved, the ACE unit will be only the second such unit in Ontario following the lead of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.”
The proposal for the ACE unit has been approved by the Champlain LHIN and is currently under review with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
“We have recently earned the designation for care of the elderly best practice as a NICHE hospital. We have very collaborative relationships not just within the hospital but also with our community partners. We are the only hospital with the NICHE designation in the province east of Toronto,” says Cathie Gray, Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Geriatric Program.
“This focus gives us the opportunity to apply latest research findings in care for the elderly, putting research into practice. We are also a teaching partner with the University of Ottawa, so there will be a teaching component to our efforts, and that will certainly be part of the program going forward,” says Anne MacDonald, Clinical Director.
With the growing aging population, the hospital professionals expect further strategic focus on research in geriatric care, medicine and enhanced education for healthcare professionals involved in the care for the elderly. “We expect ongoing growth in education, creating new attitudes and a culture shift in the care for the elderly, because that is and will remain the main demographic that we serve as a hospital,” concluded Dr. Miller.
QHC has undergone a massive shift since 1998, and the hospital plans to continue to deliver exemplary patient care for the western Ottawa region, taking on the challenges in the fast changing healthcare environment.