Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Some good news for older adults with specialized needs who are hospitalized at Health Sciences North with the opening of the 52-bed Acute and Reactivation Care Centre (ARCC). The goal of this Centre is to reverse or stabilize a decline in health status, and help older patients regain their independence.
The new Centre has been designed so that older adults get the right care in the right place with a clinical team that has expertise in how to best treat their health needs.
“With the number of older adults living with frailty in Northeastern Ontario expected to increase by 35% by 2030, and by another 20% between 2030 and 2038, there is an urgent need to enhance care for this population,” says Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, Medical Director for the North East Specialized Geriatric Centre (NESGC), a regional program of HSN specializing in geriatric clinical services. “The ARCC directly addresses this by ensuring patients have the appropriate care and support they need in order to get better, get out of hospital and get back home which is so important to their recovery path.”
Ontario’s Minister of Health and Deputy Premier, Sylvia Jones, attended the event to congratulate everyone involved with launching the ARCC, while also officially announcing a one-time capital planning grant of $5,000,000 to support early planning of HSN’s future capital expansion project to support patient care for the next 30 years.
“Through our government’s Your Health plan, we are continuing to make record investments in Ontario’s hospitals and health care infrastructure, getting shovels in the ground for over 50 hospital development projects and renewing existing health care facilities across the province. With this investment, our government is helping HSN to plan for their future, to expand capacity, reduce wait times and provide patients with more convenient access to care, closer to home, for years to come,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones.
The Minister of Health also announced an additional $1.1 million in funding for pediatric care for HSN as part of her visit.
Patients at the ARCC are provided with recreational and rehabilitative care activities and have access to a full team of nurses and allied health with specialized training throughout their stay. There’s a gym, a common eating area, and a courtyard all intended to help get people back on their feet and maintaining their independence and quality of life.
“Our staff and inter-professional teams are providing an enhanced experience for patients and families with better patient outcomes, decreased length of stay and increased likelihood of being discharged back home. This comprehensive care pathway for hospitalized older adults is focused on reducing hospital-acquired disability while treating the acute needs of the patient,” says Melanie Briscoe, Administrative Director for HSN’s North East Specialized Geriatric Centre. “We’re also so grateful for the community support on this project, given that proceeds from the HSN 50/50 Cash Lottery helped secure equipment for the ARCC.”
Total Capital costs for the project are $11.9 million, with $9.6 million coming from the provincial government and $2.3 coming from HSN’s Volunteer Association through the successful HSN 50/50 Cash Lottery for the North. The Ministry supports 90% of construction costs for capital projects, while 10% of construction costs and all equipment is funded through the support of the community.
“Our community has stepped up to the plate by supporting the HSN 50/50 Cash Lottery which has a direct impact on helping ensure fair and equitable access to high quality care for patients and families of Northeastern Ontario. The community and our donors have played an important role in making this project a reality. This is philanthropy in action and we can’t thank our donors and supports enough for their generosity. We need the support to continue to keep having an impact on our patients,” said Anthony Keating, President and Chief Development Officer for HSN’s Foundations and Volunteer Association.
As part of providing an improved care experience, this unit was designed with patients and families in mind and with input from Ann Matte, a retired HSN nurse who served as a Patient and Family Advisor on the creation of the ARCC.
“As the number of older adults living with frailty increases, the timing on this new amazing ARCC couldn’t be better,” says Matte. “It’s going to allow HSN staff to better serve these patients in helping them regain their independence as we know it will lead to shorter stays in hospital and a higher likelihood of returning home.”
The ARCC offers a model of care that adopts geriatric best practices with a rehabilitative care philosophy in a collaborative model with health care providers trained in geriatrics, and coordinated supports to help seniors return home. This innovative approach has been featured as part of the 2022 GTA Rehab Network Best Practice Day conference as a way to reimagine transitional care.
By focusing on providing the best care possible to patients in the ARC Centre, patients spend on average 8 days less in hospital and transition to home or the community for further care, optimizing recovery and helping to avoid long-term care.
“We are excited to be growing and advancing our capital master plan in order to address the current and future health care needs of patients across Northeastern Ontario,” says Dr. David McNeil, President and CEO, HSN and HSNRI. “We sincerely appreciate the support of the provincial government, and the support of our community to make this happen. The ARCC is an important measure to support immediate needs of our patients and families, while helping to address the overcrowding at HSN.”
Patients started to be admitted to the centre as of October 30.
Additional Background on the ARCC
- Inclusion criteria for Acute Care of the Elderly Unit:
- Age 70 years or older
- Have an acute medical diagnosis
- Live in the community
- Have at least one geriatric syndrome (i.e. falls, incontinence, delirium, recent decline in functional abilities)
- Have more than one disease or condition
- Requires a specialized interdisciplinary team
- For Reactivation Care Unit:
- Age 70 years or older
- Be medically stable and completed their primary acute care portion (i.e. surgery complete, no longer needed CTU/BIPAP etc…)
- Have had a recent loss of functional ability following the medical event or decline in health and have restorative potential
- Have functional goals and be able to participate in active therapy
- Have a discharge plan in progress.
Additional Background on HSN’s Capital Planning
- Northerners know that HSN needs to grow in order to meet the needs of patients and families. That’s why the first outcome in our Strategic Plan is to begin implementation of a capital plan: creating new bed spaces, meeting future space demand in particular for mental health and addictions care, clustering programs for kids and youth and reducing where we can their need to travel outside the region for care.
- This Capital Master Plan was created to meet the needs of our communities and better serve our patients including the most vulnerable patient populations such as seniors, children and those struggling with mental health and addictions challenges.
- On November 7th, 2023, Ontario’s Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones, announced at HSN a one-time capital planning grant of $5,000,000 to support early planning of HSN’s future capital expansion project to support patient care for the next 30 years.
- This grant supports planning for the redevelopment of the existing hospital site in Sudbury to expand and enhance inpatient beds for children, adult inpatient mental health beds, acute inpatient beds.
- This work aligns with provincial government health priorities to improve access to quality inpatient and mental health services in the region.
- Part of this planning will also include strengthening partnerships with Indigenous communities, community partners and hospitals to build a continuum of health throughout the Northeast that supports patients from prenatal care to adulthood.
- HSN was meant to be a one-site hospital. Instead we still have 14 sites across Greater Sudbury. We were built for 441 beds, but in March of 2023 we peaked at 612 admitted patients. Being over 100% occupancy is our daily reality and we have some of the worst overcrowding and highest occupancy rates in Ontario.
- HSN greatly appreciates the continued support from provincial government as we continue to provide high quality health services to the people of this vast region.