The 30-bed unit, which houses alternate level of care (ALC) patients, is being wound down because it's too expensive for the hospital to operate, and because officials want the space the unit occupies to set up a day program for elderly patients at risk of hospital readmission.
But the North East Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) is having trouble finding placement for the patients in the FAO unit because of flu outbreaks in the city's long-term care facilities.
“As of today, we have 13 patients remaining in the FAO unit,” hospital spokesperson Dan Lessard said in an email statement Jan. 24.
“CCAC continues to work with patients and families on their individual placement plans. At this time, we estimate there may be six to 10 patients remaining in the FAO unit on Jan. 27.
“If their placement is not finalized, the patient will be transferred to the Ramsey Lake Health Centre to await their long-term care placement.”
The flu outbreak has also wreaked havoc with some of the hospital's other operations.
There's currently 80 ALC patients at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre, 11 surgeries have been cancelled at the hospital this week due to ALC volumes and there's currently 32 patients waiting for beds in the emergency room.
These numbers are all significantly higher than they've been in recent weeks.
“We're at a time of year when we typically have higher admissions (flu season) and high surgical volumes,” Lessard said, in the email. “That could explain that spike in the numbers. It changes daily around this time of year.”