Transitional Care Unit grows again

News / Partnerships
By Christine Maloney

Seventy beds now available to help patients transition safely out of the hospital to get the care they need before returning home

What started with 10 beds in a Bayshore HealthCare retirement home has expanded over the years, and last month reached a total of 70 beds in the Transitional Care Unit (TCU) that helps patients gain the level of wellbeing they need to get back home.

“Since its inception in the fall of 2017, the unit has done wonders for over 400 Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) patients, who needed Alternate Level of Care (ALC) after they no longer required the complex care provided by the hospital,” says Tom Hart, director of Integrated Care at KHSC.

“An average stay of 38 days in the TCU gives patients access to the restorative therapies as well as nursing and personal care support that helps prepare them for a return to life at home or admission to a rehabilitation facility,” says Anita Fitches, director at Bayshore HealthCare.

The added benefit of freeing up over 6,000 days of hospital beds yearly to care for the sickest patients in our region has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when capacity challenges have been heightened.

Within the first month of the pandemic, the partnership between KHSC and Bayshore HealthCare added long-term care beds to the TCU, where people often stay for multiple months, instead of waiting in hospital to move to long-term care accommodation. So far, these beds have freed up over 4,500 days of hospital beds.

“We are grateful for our health partners and their continuous collaboration, and our patients are thankful we are there for them,” says Dan Hogan, manager of the Transitional Care Unit, KHSC @ Home and Clinical Resources at KHSC.

Martha Blair is one of those appreciative patients. She recognizes that her condition is common, “Yes, I am one of those seniors who has come to grief by falling on the stairs at home.”

Last summer, a broken femur kept her in KHSC’s Kingston General Hospital site until she could transfer to the TCU for two months of recuperation.

“How thankful I was for this provision since I could not return home until I could climb stairs once more,” says Blair. “Daily physiotherapy sessions were key to getting mobile again. Yet, the whole staff, including nurses, personal support workers, personal care assistants and housekeeping was a consistently cheerful and caring presence in our daily lives. Nothing was too much trouble for them.”

She added, “The cooperative effort by Bayshore HealthCare and KHSC is truly invaluable for people like me.”