Hospitals over-crowded, under-staffed
by Linda Silas
The premiers health care innovation working group released its first report last week to polite applause. Baby steps, low-hanging fruit, motherhood and apple pie are all words that have been used to describe the initial efforts of premiers to collaborate on health care without Ottawa herding the cats.
Those of us clapping loudly are trying to blow some air on this spark of pan-Canadian collaboration so that health care improvements do catch fire across the country.
Nurses know changes are needed. Hospitals across the country are at overcapacity. A generally accepted standard of safe hospital occupancy is 85 per cent yet most hospitals are working at a 100 per cent or more. The results of overcrowding include compromised care, high rates of hospital acquired infections and unnecessary rates of hospital readmission. Another result is dangerous levels of workload, and the resulting vicious circle of working short.