Occupancy rates remain above capacity in Greater Victoria hospitals

Region’s hospitals have more patients than acute care beds

Hospitals across the province are operating over capacity and Victoria is no exception.

Data obtained by Black Press Media reveals that in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Victoria General Hospital’s occupancy rate was at 106.1 per cent and the Royal Jubilee Hospital at 105.2 per cent – putting both in the red. The Saanich Peninsula Hospital was the most strained in the region at 110.2 per cent occupancy.

But the numbers also show that the overloaded Victoria facilities are far from isolated. The region’s hospitals are among the vast majority – 49 in total – of B.C. hospitals over capacity.

READ ALSO: B.C. hospital system has been operating over capacity for five years

Occupancy rates were defined by the number of inpatient days per the number of acute care beds. Inpatient days are defined as the days a patient stays in hospital while undergoing treatment – while acute care beds are for patients receiving active but short-term treatment for a severe injury, illness, urgent medical condition or recovery from surgery.

Island Health provided a statement to Black Press Media, saying like other health authorities across the province, the region’s hospitals are becoming busier – due mainly to population growth and aging, as well as the “increasing number of medical interventions available.”

“Despite these challenges, all Island Health facilities continue to have capacity to respond to critical and emergency cases,” said Cheryl Bloxham, Island Health spokesperson. “We never turn patients away and our goal is always to deliver high-quality care in an environment of continuous improvement.”

READ ALSO: Hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Notably, occupancy rates in Greater Victoria hospitals dip – in most cases below 100 per cent – when the alternate level of care (ALC) patients are excluded. ALC patients are those who are not acutely ill but are occupying acute care hospital beds. In many cases, they’re patients that could be discharged if there was more adequate long-term care available.

Bloxham said the health authority is working on strategies to reduce the length of stay within the hospitals and improve access to community-based care – efforts that include “moving patients who don’t require acute care out of hospitals and into community settings.”

READ ALSO: Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

In November, home support care delivered by Beacon Community Services transitioned to Island Health, transferring 2,600 home support clients to the health authority. Island Health also pointed to the Ministry of Health’s investments in team-based urgent and primary care centres across the province – with the newest set to open in James Bay in 2020.

When asked about the diversion of ambulances – when emergency vehicles are re-routed to other facilities – Bloxham said there are a lot of factors taken into account when deciding which hospital a patient is taken to. Those factors include staffing levels and having the right staff onsite to treat a specific injury or illness, as well as the hospital’s area of expertise.

READ ALSO: Victoria’s first urgent primary health clinic coming to James Bay

With files from Tyler Olsen.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Leap year babies from 1964: Where are they now?

Two kids featured in March 1st edition of Juan de Fuca News Review

Former Belmont principal turns 15 in leap years

Ray Miller among the 0.07% of the population to have Feb. 29 as a birthday

A fare fight: Passenger arrested after refusing to pay Victoria cab driver

Woman taken into police custody after arguing with cab driver

Teachers wear red Friday for National Day of Public Education

The day ends with a rally at Minister of Education’s office

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Lawyer gets house arrest for possessing child porn

Maple Ridge resident gets nine-month term

Notorious B.C. fugitive to be extradited from California on murder charge

Brandon Nathan Teixeira submitted to extradition during court proceedings Thursday in Sacramento

Canada prepared to monitor for community spread of COVID-19: Tam

The U.S. confirmed one case of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, in California Thursday

Decade-long health care battle draws to a close today in B.C.

Dr. Brian Day began his battle a decade ago against the B.C. government

Conservative MP questions whether rail blockades constitute terrorism

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett travelled to B.C. to meet Indigenous leaders

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read