I’m writing this post from my son’s bedside at McMaster Hospital. He’s been here four days now, and the hope has been that he can return home ‘tomorrow’. That was the plan on Sunday when we arrived, and has continued each day since, as he isn’t progressing as quickly as they hoped. He is suffering from a secondary infection from Covid 19 last month, which caused pericarditis. He started in the Dunnville ER, with an incredible team of compassionate caregivers that assessed his needs, and recommended a transfer to Mac. The big shock came when we arrived at their ER and saw over seventy children, from babies to teens, all waiting to see a doctor. The wait for some would be over seven hours! The staff were doing their best, but there weren’t enough of them or enough rooms to accommodate the needs of the community. Everyone would eventually be triaged, and then many would wait on stretchers in the hall near the exam rooms. Here, doctors and nurses would provide care, and in most cases, send them home. The wards were full, and it was only when the ER was gridlocked with no room for anyone to move forward that they managed to discharge young patients and open up beds. The staff at Mac are awesome, and are providing the most patient centred care that you can imagine.
We can discuss all day how we, as a province, go to this point. We can point fingers and throw accusations until the cows come home (or more beds open in the paediatric ward). The fact remains that this is another crisis for the citizens of Ontario. How can we get out of it? Here are a few ideas. We definitely need more proactive healthcare, such as access to dental care under OHIP. Dental health is directly related to general physical health. We need more access to support for mental wellness. We definitely need more funding for those living with autism. There were several non-verbal children in the ER, with no specialised care (that I was aware of.) We need to adequately pay our medical care givers, from doctors to NPs, RNs, and RNAs. We need to standardise training and remuneration for PSWs. None of these people should have to work two or more jobs to make ends meet. Lets get more funding for CHCs (Community Health Centres.) According to staff, there are a lot of people without family doctors that end up at the ER with problems that could have been addressed with a GP. CHCs would provide a point of access for many of the initiatives mentioned above.
At the end of the day, we all need to develop a healthier lifestyle, with more work to prevent disease. Health equity comes with social equity. It’s much easier to accomplish for people with a higher income and more access to resources. Take care of yourself, so that you will be able to take care of your loved ones, and those who aren’t as fortunate.