Supporting patient accommodation requests

News / General
By John Pereira

New form and process make it easier for patients to request the type of room they want

The patient’s room is an important part of their experience here at Kingston General Hospital. That’s why the hospital is making improvements to its preferred accommodation process, to help make sure patients are placed in the type of room they ask for.

Like all hospitals, KGH has a number of room options available to patients. They include a standard room with three to four beds in it, a semi-private room with two beds and a private room with one bed.

“We found there was some confusion around our process for preferred accommodations,” says Rachael Smith-Tryon, Manager of Admitting, Registration and Switchboard. “We want to make sure our patients have the best possible experience while they are here at KGH, so we don’t want them to be surprised by a bill when they are discharged.”

In Ontario, all residents with a valid health card are covered by OHIP for a hospital stay in a standard room. Unless the room is required for special medical reasons, patients are charged $215 per day for a semi-private room or $255 per-day for a private room. Patients can pay the additional fee directly or have it covered if they have extended health benefit coverage.

To help eliminate any confusion over these fees, KGH is now rolling out a new admitting process this month. As part of it, a group of staff and a Patient Experience Advisor re-wrote our accommodation request form and rethought the process already in place.

“The new form makes it very clear what the cost is for a semi-private or private room and that the patient is responsible for the cost of that room,” says Smith-Tryon. “Also, since a number of our patients may not be able to make financial decisions when they are admitted, we want to make sure that a family member is in the room with the patient when we fill out the form. If the patient is alone, we’ll now try to go back the next day to make sure that they understand what they agreed to.”

Once the form is signed, the patient will receive a copy for their files with a list of frequently asked questions on the back. The Admitting office in the Armstrong wing has also extended its hours so someone is now available seven days a week to make sure that preferred accommodation requests can be made on the weekend.

Aside from providing patients with a variety of room options, the preferred accommodations process also supports patient care. While most of the fees are used to cover the actual room expenses, the remaining money goes directly back into the hospital to improve patient care services, such as investing in new equipment.

KGH will begin to use the new forms this month and preferred accommodations clerks will be speaking to staff across the hospital so everyone is aware of the new process.