HSN’s approach to geriatric care celebrated at national conference

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Members of HSN’s North East Specialized Geriatric Centre, a regional program specializing in care for older adults, presented their approach at the 2024 Canadian Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Calgary in April.

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The conference is a key gathering of more than 400 healthcare professionals across Canada, HSN said in a media release.

NESGC’s presentation, titled Discharge outcomes from a combined acute and reactivation unit for older adults with frailty: Does early admittance make a difference?, showcased the Reactivation Care Unit’s success in providing specialized and tailored care for older adults with frailty.

“By admitting patients directly from the emergency department to the RCU, the team achieved remarkable outcomes, including a reduced length of stay, decreased need for inpatient rehabilitation after their hospitalization, and a trend toward fewer patients being designated ALC (who occupy a hospital bed but do not require the intensity of services provided in that care setting),” HSN said in its release.

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“The 20-bed unit at Daffodil Terrace, operational from 2021 to 2023, was our testing ground for this care model,” explained Melanie Briscoe, administrative director for HSN’s NESGC. “With its success, we’ve expanded into the new 52-bed Acute and Reactivation Care Centre, enhancing our capacity to provide specialized care to older adults to reduce their length of stay in hospital and get them back home.”

The ARCC, which opened in November 2023, is designed to reverse or stabilize health decline and to help older adults regain independence through specialized care.

“The population of older adults in Northeastern Ontario is expected to grow in the coming years,” said Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, medical director for NESGC. “The ARCC is crucial in helping to provide the best care to older adults while making sure they can get back on their feet and back into the community instead of remaining in hospital.

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“It was important to share our positive results to inspire continuous improvement and contribute to the drive for excellence in patient care for older adults.”

HSN said the ARCC not only provides expert medical care, but also offers recreational and rehabilitative activities, with access to a gym, a common eating area for groups and social engagement, and a courtyard. Those facilities aim to foster independence and improve the quality of life for patients. The community has played a pivotal role in supporting the ARCC, with funds from the HSN 50-50 Cash Lottery for the North contributing to the centre’s equipment.

Total capital costs for the project stand at $11.9 million, with $9.6 million coming from the provincial government and $2.3 coming from HSN’s Volunteer Association through the successful 50-50.

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The collaborative effort underscores the community’s commitment to ensuring high-quality care for Northeastern Ontario’s aging population, HSN said.

“The generosity of our community and donors has been instrumental in providing equitable, high-quality healthcare to Northeastern Ontario’s patients and their families,” added Anthony Keating, president and chief development officer for HSN’s foundations and volunteer association. “Their contributions are a true testament to the spirit of giving. We are immensely grateful for their support, which is vital in sustaining our efforts to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients.”

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