Moosomin area health needs assessment: No recommendation for more beds

July 2, 2013 7:52 am
Kevin Weedmark

Acute care
28 per cent increase in inpatients at SEICC over five years, to 1,700 in 2012/13
50 per cent increase in outpatients at the Moosomin facility, to 22,227 in 2012/13
Physician care
23 per cent increase in patients served by local physicians over four years, to 11,163 in 2011/12
33 per cent increase in patient visits to local physicians over five years, to 53,038 in 2012
Long term care
Broadview has 211 beds per 1,000 population over 75, ratio will increase to 220/1,000
Whitewood has 123 beds per 1,000 population over 75, ratio will increase to 175/1,000
Moosomin has 100 beds per 1,000 population over 75, ratio will decrease as population rises
Provincial standard is 115 long term care beds per 1,000 population over 75

A needs assessment study for the Moosomin area commissioned by the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region found increasing numbers of inpatients at the Southeast Integrated Care Centre, increasing numbers of outpatients, and increasing patient loads for local doctors, but makes no recommendations for additional beds at the Southeast Integrated Care Centre.

Bill MacPherson, chair of the Moosomin and District Health Care Foundation, says the report reiterates the problem of high and increasing demand for health care services in the Moosomin area, but doesn't propose any solutions.

"It's not telling me anything I didn't know-we've seen all this before," said MacPherson.

"I think she's laid the groundwork. I hope the board sees this and realizes the need. It shows there's a problem-hopefully the board wants to solve the problem.

"The beds aren't going to come overnight. We want it done yesterday, and the doctors want it done, but it's going to take some time. At least this report shows how big the need is. I think this is a stepping stone to where we want to get."

While the report notes that use of the SEICC has increased, it recommends that more use be made of empty beds at Broadview.

One recommendation: "Improve the utilization of the current beds in Moosomin, Whitewood and Broadview to alleviate the pressures . . . (with) the expanded use of the beds, especially at Broadview Union Hospital (current occupancy of 23 per cent.)"

On the waiting list for nursing home beds, while the report suggests that, while other communities are "overbedded" and Moosomin has a waiting list, there is no recommendation for additional long term care beds in Moosomin.

The report recommends RQHR "initiate dialogue in the Moosomin and surrounding communities to explore the best options to support senior housing and aging in place. There may be an expanded role for the local foundations to assist with the development of a model adapted from best practices to optimally service community needs."

The report further recommends RQHR "support the community to explore options for the development of personal care homes to enhance the aging in place options," as well as enhancing home care and working to prevent falls among seniors.

While the report was commissioned at the urging of the Moosomin and District Health Care Foundation, and the foundation was hoping to determine if the SEICC needs to be expanded, RQHR Interim Executive Director of Rural Facilities Fran Neuls says the focus is more on primary and preventative health care.

"We need to look at how do we focus on the prevention side of things and prevent people from being sick in the first place," she said.

The report acknowledges the local physicians' request for 24/7 physician coverage at SEICC.

One of the recommendations is that the RQHR "engage in dialogue with the Moosomin Family Practice Clinic (their error-it's Family Practice Centre) to truly understand and appreciate their concerns and to participate in joint problem solving efforts related to the findings and recommendations outlined in this report."

However, the report doesn't suggest doing anything about the physicians' longstanding request for greater physician coverage at SEICC.

Neuls said Thursday that there's nothing the health region could do to provide 24/7 physician coverage at SEICC as the provincial government designates regional hospitals, which require 24/7 on-site coverage.

"The health region doesn't provide the designation for hospitals," she said.

However, health minister Dustin Duncan has said that, while 24/7 coverage is required at a regional hospital, there is nothing to stop health regions from providing the same coverage at a community hospital such as the SEICC.

"The Southeast Integrated Care Centre is currently designated as a Community Hospital," the health minister recently wrote to Moosomin town council. "The Facility Designation Regulations describe the range of services to be provided at hospitals in Saskatchewan. The Regulations do not prevent hospitals from providing additional services as planned by the regional health authority. Regional health authorities may deliver additional services if they can show that they are being delivered safely and reliably, and can be sustained over the long term."

Asked about the health minister's comments, Neuls replied "that's not my understanding."

Neuls said there is no feedback from the regional health authority on the report yet, as it has just been presented.

"We just presented it to the board last night. They have to come back with their suggestions," she said Thursday.

"The study was conducted to determine whether the health needs of the Moosomin area are being met. We did community consultations, surveys, meeting with staff and physicians.

"We would like to set up a meeting with the foundation fairly quickly and explain our findings to them.

"There are four main recommendations:

"One about utilization of the beds along Highway 1;

"One about looking for ways to enhance primary health care, access to providers, seeing the right provider in the right time in the right location;

"The third is looking at long term care options that are accessible and affordable;

"And the fourth is looking at health provider recruitment and retention."