Acute Care Wing first anniversary – shorter hospital stays

Good afternoon, I am Dr Michael Weitekamp, Chief of Staff. On behalf of our CEO Venetta Symonds and the Bermuda Hospitals Board, I welcome you.

Today is the first anniversary of our move to the Acute Care Wing and I am pleased to report that in keeping with our goal, we are caring for our patients in these 90 beautiful, private rooms – significantly fewer beds than we have had in the past – and have been able to decrease the average time that each patient spends in the hospital.

Why is this good news? Hospital stays need to be as brief as appropriate for the clinical situation being addressed. Prolonged hospital stays are not in the best interest of patients. They can become de-conditioned from prolonged bed rest, depressed and profoundly sleep deprived from medication side-effects, frequent interruptions and unfamiliar surroundings. The longer patients remain hospitalized the greater their risk of acquiring infections, bed sores and of falling. Patients face these risks despite precautions we have in place to avoid each of them. Recent evidence also suggests that prolonged hospitalization can result in weakening of immune systems, the body’s natural defenses, and may actually increase the chances of another illness following discharge and result in repeat hospitalization.

We had made it clear before moving into this building, that in order to best serve the public, patients would no longer be allowed to remain hospitalized beyond the time clinically necessary for their unique condition. Our statistician Cyrlene Wilson has run the reports which show a decrease in average length of stay for patients since the move last September. Most months patient stays were on average, a day shorter when compared with the corresponding month of the previous year. This is good news as we are moving in the right direction.

In addition to the individualized care and attention afforded by single patient rooms, we have instituted more focused discharge planning from the time of admission, using daily multidisciplinary rounds for patients and proactively assessing daily progress and potential barriers to discharge either to home, home with additional services or to a different venue for skilled nursing, rehabilitative or palliative care.

It’s worth noting that shorter stays also reduce overall health care costs.

Our move to this new facility was needed and staff agree it has facilitated improvements in service delivery.

While you will appreciate that no one can predict how many people will need to use the facility and while we did not build expecting to see significant increases over last year, we thought the public would be interested in some usage stats and have provided a list for you of services that moved to this wing last September.

Figures up to last night show there have been 3,832 admissions to the new wing since opening. Figures to the end of August indicate that we’ve seen 31,830 patients in the Emergency Department, administered 7,408 chemotherapy treatments, performed 11,548 surgeries, given 22,340 dialysis treatments, 3,236 MRIs, 6,340 ultrasound scans, 9,902 CT scans and 28,271 X-rays.

For reference:
3,832 admissions to ACW from 14 September 2014 – 13 September 2015
3,444 admissions to acute wards from 14 September 2013 -13 September 2014

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