Pilot program succeeds in reducing stressful emergency department visits

Care Research

“Every year in Ontario, thousands of long-term care home residents are taken by ambulance to emergency departments of acute-care hospitals. In addition to the costs, clients often face delays for many hours before receiving attention. The hospital visits can also add to clients’ anxiety and discomfort, and puts them at risk for further illness through exposure to other sick patients in waiting rooms. For these reasons, this past year Baycrest piloted a program to reduce unnecessary emergency department transfers and we’ve been thrilled with the response from our staff and clients.”

– Sue Calabrese, Director of Care and Resident Experience for the Apotex Centre, Jewish Home for the Aged

Thanks to a very generous five-year pledge from the Menkes Family, Baycrest launched the Reducing Unnecessary Emergency Department Transfers pilot project. The results have been impressive: emergency department transfers decreased from 21.5 visits/100 residents a year ago to 18.8 visits/100 residents over the past year. This is considerably better than the Toronto Central average for long-term care homes, which is 26.3 visits/100 residents.

On average, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says that 30 per cent of visits to the emergency department from long-term care facilities are potentially avoidable. Baycrest is determined give focused attention to initiatives aimed at reducing this statistic.