KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario Ministry of Health will be providing the City of Kawartha Lakes with up to $195,000 in one-time funding for the 2023/24 funding year to support the return of the Dedicated Offload Nurse Program.
“The investment in this program will help reduce ambulance offload times at Ross Memorial Hospital, while increasing ambulance availability, and improving access to emergency health care services across Kawartha Lakes,” said Laurie Scott, Member of Provincial Parliament for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.
In August 2023, the provincial government announced it would be investing $51 million into the Dedicated Offload Nurses Program over the next three years. This investment will help 30 municipalities cover approximately 800,000 dedicated hours to support offloading ambulance patients in emergency departments, which will help to ensure that paramedics can get back out to their communities faster according to officials.
Staff from Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service and Ross Memorial Hospital are working collaboratively to implement the program, which will allow for a dedicated staff member to absorb patients who come in by ambulance when a hospital bed within the Emergency Department is not immediately available.
“Our paramedics have been very fortunate to work with the Ross. They already do a great job of offloading patients as efficiently as possible but when demand exceeds availability, they need assistance. This funding will help alleviate some of the pressure on them and allow our paramedics to get back on the road to serve our residents faster,” said Chief Sara Johnston, Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service.
In May 2022, Ross Memorial Hospital and the Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service launched a Fit2Sit program that allows paramedics, in consultation with Ross Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) triage nurse, to transfer low-acuity patients directly to the ED waiting room.
“Championing system improvements is one of our hospital’s strategic directions and we are thrilled to work with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service. This Dedicated Offload Nurses Program funding provides more resources for patient care within our Emergency Department and will support quicker transfers of care from paramedics to our team,” said Kelly Isfan, President and CEO of Ross Memorial Hospital.