Three days in the ER, not uncommon in Abbotsford: report

Three days in the ER, not uncommon in Abbotsford: report

One in 10 admitted patients spends more than 69 hours in emergency

It’s not unusual for patients to spend nearly three days in the Abbotsford Regional Hospital emergency room, according to a new report that shows long-standing congestion problems have yet to be solved and may, in fact, be getting worse.

One in every 10 admitted patients to the ARH ER last year spent more than 69 hours in the department before being moved elsewhere. The figure is a key indicator of hospital congestion, an issue that has plagued ARH for years and which experts say can be dangerous and lead to higher patient mortality.

And while a range of programs and procedures have been implemented to try to move people out of the ER after admittance, the new stats compiled by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) suggests things have not yet significantly improved and may be getting worse.

The time spent by the slowest 10 per cent of patients to move out of the Abbotsford ER in 2016/17 was the highest in five years, and higher than the Fraser Health, British Columbia and Canadian averages.

Although better than ARH specifically, Fraser Health as a whole has a markedly worse record than the B.C. average, which is worse than the Canadian number.

That nationwide average is just half of the ARH figure, meaning patients who spend the very longest in a typical Canadian hospital ER are moved along twice as fast as those in Abbotsford.

Fraser Health has been working for several years to address congestion, said spokesperson Jacqueline Blackwell.

That includes setting up a committee to look at ways to improve the situation and working with family practice doctors.

Blackwell also noted that ARH ER patients see physicians sooner than the national, provincial and Fraser Health average, according to the CIHI report.

Ninety per cent of patients are seen by a doctor within 2.8 hours. But that figure – while still below average – rose considerably from 2015/16, when most patients were seen in 2.4 hours.

That increase is consistent with trends across both Fraser Health and British Columbia.

In Fraser Health, ER wait times have increased by more than 20 per cent over the last five years.

Patients also continue to die in ARH more than in other Canadian, B.C. and Fraser Health hospitals.

While slowly improving, ARH’s hospital standardized mortality ratio, which measures patient safety and controls for population factors, continued to be higher than regional and national averages.

Prior to 2014, the hospital had performed better than the Canadian average. But in 2014/15, hospital deaths in ARH jumped and remain well above average.

Blackwell noted the figure has been improving in recent years.

“For us, the important thing to know is that it is trending downwards,” she said. “We’re continuing to work towards lowering that number even further.”

ARH isn’t a laggard in all areas.

Patients at the hospital get access to hip fracture surgery quicker than elsewhere, fewer surgical and obstetrics patients need to be re-admitted, and in-hospital sepsis rates have significantly improved over the last two years and are now well below provincial, regional and national averages.

Major surgery is also safer, with ARH outperforming averages in Fraser Health and across B.C. and Canada.


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

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

Mark Chandler, outside of his extradition hearing at the Vancouver Supreme Court. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley condo builder’s fraud sentencing in U.S. delayed due to COVID-19

Mark Chandler’s own lawyer contracted COVID-19 in December

People have noticed pine siskins dying in the area, part of a trend of larger numbers of the finch flocking to the area about every five years. The larger numbers result in crowding and increased spread of salmonella. (Wikipedia photo)
Langley birdwatchers seeing dead finch species in higher numbers

Pine siskins are in the area in larger numbers. They are prone to salmonella which is fatal for them

Electric charging stations, like this one outside the new North Delta Centre for the Arts, might be seeing more commercial delivery vehicles using them soon, if a provincial rebate program takes off. (James Smith photo/Special to Black Press Media)
Restaurants to get big rebates for electric delivery vehicles

The project boosts the rebates for electric commercial and industrial vehicles in B.C.

Langley Thunder (Black Press Media files)
Langley Thunder trades for Maple Ridge’s Cody Malawsky

BC Junior A Lacrosse League draft was held remotely on Thursday, Jan. 14

A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Township of Langley says coding matters

Registration open for virtual codathon hosted in conjunction with the Intelligent Community Forum

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read