Connected Communities demands action

Long wait times in the Kootenay Lake Hospital Emergency Department are the subject of a recent report.

Long wait times in the Kootenay Lake Hospital Emergency Department are the subject of a recent report prepared by Connected Communities Coalition.

Founded in 2002, the coalition meets with Interior Health Authority (IHA) twice yearly, raising issues of concern from the communities of Trail, Nelson, Castlegar, Kaslo, Nakusp and the Slocan Valley.

However, when it comes to acting upon those raised concerns, IHA gives

excuses instead of results. We believe the public deserves to know how IHA responds to local issues.

In October 2012 our coalition started raising the issues of long wait times in the KLH emergency department. The problems were illustrated in April 2013 with a serious situation that could have resulted in the death of a patient.

The front desk receptionist has been moved into ER and information services have been merged with emergency patient registration. As a result, ER patients wait in longer line-ups before they are triaged. This delay could be critical.

Despite assurances that Cindy Crane, Kootenay Lake Hospital Administrator would

contact us to investigate our issue, she did not respond. We finally set up a meeting with her three months later, on January 23, 2013. At that meeting, the only commitment Ms. Crane made was to have signage created so the triage nurse could easily distinguish emergency patients from other people waiting.

She also contemplated installing a phone to assist visitors looking for patient room numbers, thereby alleviating some of the line up.

However, in June 2013, neither the signs nor the phone have been put in place. Ms. Crane told us that she was holding the “17th version of the signs from the Kelowna contractor”, in her hands. We believe they may have better success had they used local printers.

On June 11 2013, Ingrid Hampf, Acute Area Director of Kootenay Boundary from IHA , informed us that the new $13.8 million KLH emergency room had a “bad design”, more appropriate for a larger facility with more nursing staff. She suggested they would initiate a Toyota-based “ lean study” to streamline the work process in the ER and would review the decision to integrate the emergency patients with those scheduling tests and visitors, but gave no assurance this would happen any time soon. We noted one improvement in the coordination between the ward clerk and the triage nurse, but it does not resolve our concerns.

As for the critical incident that took place in April; the patient and his family are still waiting for an investigative report that might identify the factors that need to be changed to prevent an unnecessary tragedy in Nelson’s emergency room. Instead, they receive new deadlines and excuses, showing little accountability and leaving the impression that there was no issue because there was no death; this time.

The coalition will continue to press for improvements and welcomes your input.

For more information please contact the representative from your area. They are:

Trail/Rossland: Candy Parrilla 250-368-6246; Castlegar: Margaret Nickle 250-365-6187; Nelson: Pegasis McGauley 250-229-4223; Kaslo: Mary Ballon 250-353-2317.


Pegasis McGauley

Connected Communities