Early results suggest that protocols aimed at reducing peak pressures in emergency departments are working. The protocols were
launched in December and have mainly been used in
Calgary and Edmonton. At certain points, the protocols are triggered, making it easier to move admitted patients out of emergency departments and into
hospital beds. The protocols for each hospital and
zone in the province are similar, but vary to meet the
needs of local communities.
“The preliminary results are encouraging,” said
Dr. Chris Eagle, acting president and CEO of Alberta
Health Services, in January.
One of those results is a decline in the number of
patients waiting in emergency departments each
morning for a hospital bed. In September, the average in major Edmonton hospitals was 80. On Jan. 14,
it was 44. Similarly, in Calgary, the average was 68
patients in September; on Jan. 14, it was 17.
Clinical staff launches the protocols when certain
triggers are met, including when 35 percent or more
of emergency department care spaces are blocked
due to patients waiting for admission, diagnostics or
consults; when emergency department occupancy
exceeds 110 percent; or more than five patients are
waiting eight hours or longer for a hospital bed.
Meanwhile, physicians, nurses and other health
care professionals and administrators continue to
look for ways to reduce pressure points in Alberta’s
health-care system, such as increasing the number
of continuing-care beds and expanding supportive
“What we are hearing consistently is that there is
still room for improvement throughout the system,”
said Dr. Cheri Nijssen-Jordan, AHS senior medical
lead and an emergency physician.
Reported by KERRY WiLLiAMSoN, AHS
For the latest news on improvements to Alberta’s health-care system, visit albertahealthservices.ca/newsreleases.asp.
AHS is looking for ways to reduce pressure points throughout
Alberta’s health-care system.
“The preliminary results are
Dr. Chris Eagle, AHS