Hospitals in the Champlain Region slowly and safely increasing scheduled hospital activity

This is a joint message from chiefs-of-staff at hospitals in the Champlain Region

OTTAWA – June 10, 2020 – Hospitals in the Champlain Region are taking a safe, coordinated and gradual approach to increasing scheduled services, which were postponed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While hospitals and their clinicians are eager to care for as many patients as safely possible, this measured approach is in line with direction from the provincial government, which acknowledges this process will take weeks and months.

Care teams are reviewing each case individually based on medical need and urgency, ensuring that risks and benefits are properly evaluated before rescheduling the surgery, procedure, diagnostic imaging or clinic appointment that cannot be done virtually. Patients will be contacted as their care can be rescheduled. This increase in service is separate from the ongoing urgent care provided by hospitals throughout the pandemic. Hospitals have also been offering, and will continue to offer, many supports and services virtually throughout the pandemic, such as mental health care and follow-up appointments.

The work of increasing surgeries, procedures and services is being carefully considered and balanced with the potential need to respond quickly in the event of a surge in COVID-19 patients. Hospitals in the region are collaborating to meet the provincial requirements prior to increasing services. Provincial criteria include: a lower-than-average number of patients in hospitals across the region, known as occupancy; appropriate staffing levels and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply; among other conditions.

We will carefully monitor our care volumes and adjust our plans as needed; decreasing some services again might be necessary if the region’s ability to meet the criteria changes, or COVID-19 activity increases in hospitals. And while some aspects of the patient experience will be different, such as fewer patients in waiting rooms, our teams will continue to deliver safe, high-quality, compassionate care.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts in Ontario may last many months to years. As the region enters this new phase of the pandemic, the ability of hospitals to continue their increase of scheduled services is directly linked to the community’s ongoing efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. As a community, we must continue to be vigilant — following instructions from public health, including proper hand hygiene, physical distancing and masking protocols. This will allow us to avoid future peaks in transmissions, which would lead to decreased levels of service once again.

If anyone is in need of urgent care, we urge them to go to the nearest Emergency Department or contact their family doctor. Hospitals in the region are taking every possible measure to ensure patient and staff safety, and are here to care for everyone in need. Regardless of where care takes place in the region, patient safety is a top priority.

We would like to thank our community for their support and for their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we would like to thank all hospital staff, health-care workers, and essential workers throughout the region for their continued hard work and dedication. We will continue to navigate this exceptional time by working together. 

Hospitals in the Champlain Region involved in this regional plan:

  • Almonte General Hospital
  • Arnprior Regional Health
  • Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital
  • CHEO
  • Cornwall Community Hospital
  • Deep River and District Hospital
  • Hawkesbury and District General
  • Kemptville District Hospital
  • Hôpital Montfort
  • Pembroke Regional Hospital
  • Queensway Carleton Hospital
  • Renfrew Victoria Hospital
  • The Royal
  • St. Francis Memorial Hospital
  • The Ottawa Hospital
  • University of Ottawa Heart Institute
  • Winchester District Memorial Hospital

 

Questions and answers

When will my procedure, surgery or clinic appointment be rescheduled? 

Montfort is working with other hospitals in the region to gradually increase scheduled surgeries and procedures. Work is going on in every department, in every hospital across the region, to increase services as safely, fairly and quickly as the situation allows for as many people as possible. Your procedure will be rescheduled according to the priority framework established regionally. Cases that are urgent will continue to be prioritized. Your care team will contact you as soon as they are able to reschedule your appointment. 

 

Who should I call if my condition is worse? 

If you have questions about your condition while you are waiting for your appointment to be rescheduled, or your condition changes, please contact your doctor or health-care provider.

If you need emergency care, please go to your nearest Emergency Department. 

 

Can I go to another hospital for my appointment? 

Hospitals work together to ensure higher priority procedures get done first and that all hospitals move together to ensure equity of access for all patient in the region. There is no need for you to go yourself to another facility.  The provincial government has advised hospitals to take a gradual approach to resuming services, giving priority to patients with urgent needs. Hospitals in eastern Ontario are working together on a regional approach to resuming scheduled surgeries and procedures. 

Sometimes there may be circumstances that make surgery at one hospital possible, but not another. We are working together to make sure that all patients across the region are treated equitably.

 

Why aren’t all services restarting at the same time?

The provincial government has instructed hospitals to protect a certain level of capacity and resources to be able to care for patients with COVID-19, meaning we cannot fully resume all services at once.

Work is going on in every department, in every hospital across the region, to increase services as safely, fairly and quickly as the situation allows for as many people as possible.

 

Is it safe to be coming to the hospital for care right now?

Yes! Hospitals in the region are taking every possible measure to ensure your safety.  As the region enters this new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic with less community transmission, we understand that coming into the hospital may also cause stress for some patients. We are here to care for you. Regardless of where your care takes place in the region, patient safety is a top priority. 

 

What can I expect when I come to hospital? 

You will be screened when you come into the hospital. Please plan to arrive early and be prepared to answer screening questions about symptoms of COVID-19 and your contact and travel history. Please wear a mask and physically distance from others wherever possible.

 

Will I be tested or asked to quarantine ahead of my procedure?

We will be following public health’s guidelines on testing and isolation. This means that we will continue to screen patients ahead of appointments and at the door, and we will ask patients and staff members to wear masks and practice physical distancing where possible. 

Patients and staff members will continue to be tested if they show any symptoms or relevant contact history, which means that you may be tested depending on your risk factors. 

 

Can patients with COVID-19 still come to hospital for a procedure?

We will be screening for COVID-19, and we are able to test patients who have active symptoms to help us plan the safest course of action. If you test positive for COVID-19, your care team will carefully consider the risks and benefits of moving forward with the procedure to determine the safest course of action for you.

 

What criteria does the hospital need to meet to increase scheduled surgeries, procedures and outpatient clinics? 

The provincial criteria include: a lower-than-average number of patients in hospitals across the region, known as occupancy; and sufficient staff, personal protective equipment supply, among others. 

Hospitals in the region are collaborating to meet the provincial requirements prior to increasing services. As with anything in the pandemic, the situation is constantly evolving, and we will need to monitor criteria throughout this process to ensure that they are being met.  If at any time the region’s hospitals find themselves no longer able to meet some of the criteria above, they may have to pull back the re-opening of their procedures and surgeries. If this impacts you, you will be notified.  

Information and interview requests:
Communications Department
Hôpital Montfort
613-746-4621, ext. 2049
communications@montfort.on.ca