The Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre (KMHC) announced it’ll be increasing the number of beds in its short-term care department. At a press conference Tuesday, administration for the hospital stated the expansion of services will give more Kahnawa’kehró:non in the community access to palliative care.
Five new beds were added to the department, bringing the total number to 15. It’s thanks to the recruiting of two new nurses, said Samantha Cross, the manager of short-term care at the hospital. They are for patients requiring stays for no more than 45 days.
“Our palliative care patients, they want to be closer to the community,” Cross said. “We also do notice, when we bring a lot of our patients back here, just the change in their overall health, their overall mentality – they’re just happy to be home.”
According to hospital policy, patients must get a referral from a doctor to be admitted for short-term care at Kateri. That could be from a family doctor, or a physician at another hospital. The patient could be someone recovering from a hip surgery, for example, who would otherwise have to stay outside the community at a hospital like Anna Laberge for their recovery.
“The beds are for people that have an acute illness and who need some rehabilitation before they go home,” said Valerie Diabo, executive director at KMHC.
“As soon as Anna Laberge feels that a community member is stable enough, and they feel that they could be transferred here, then it’s a discussion between the doctors,” she explained. “As long as they’re medically stable, they could come to KMHC. That’s our whole goal.”
Short-team patients at the hospital can now also access physiotherapy, occupational therapy, a social worker, a speech-and-language pathologist, as well as a nutritionist, the hospital announced this week. Traditional medicines are now available, too.
“For the community, it’s going to be a big change,” Diabo said about the expansion in services.
In the event a patient’s condition worsens while in short-term care, they may need to be transferred to a hospital outside the community. That’s because Kateri currently does not have an intensive care unit, Diabo said.
Dr. Rachael Eniojukan, director of professional services, said KMHC will also continue to work in collaboration with surrounding hospitals like Anna Laberge to ensure more patients get the chance to recover at Kateri. The hope is to make the transfer of patients smoother and more efficient, she said.
The next goal for the hospital is to add more beds for long-term patients. Currently there are 51 beds in long-term care, but the hope is to add seven more, Diabo shared Tuesday. “Again, it is a staffing issue,” she said. “We’re crossing our fingers, we’re almost there.”
The hospital also soon hopes to open a bed for detox patients in the near future, Diabo added. Their nurses and physicians are currently undergoing training at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, also known as the CHUM.
“We’re really trying to meet the needs of the community, so we could take care of our community members,” Diabo said.
This article was originally published in print on Friday, November 10, in issue 32.45 of The Eastern Door.