Innovative Ottawa pilot program aims to curtail hallway health care

Senior man walking in hospital hallway

A pilot project in Ottawa is helping to ease the burden of hallway healthcare. SAFE (Sub-Acute care for Frail Elderly), is a 20-bed unit designed to hold patients who no longer require hospital care, but are not well enough to return home.

There, patients receive a range of clinical and rehabilitative care, including occupational therapy and physiotherapy.  

The project has been successful in shortening the time seniors spend in hospital, while increasing their chances of returning home without needing to return to an emergency room. 

“Innovative programs like this are desperately needed, particularly as our hospitals are increasingly overcrowded,” says Marissa Lennox, Chief Policy Officer at CARP. “On any given day, thousands of patients in Ontario hospitals do not actually require an acute care bed, but are left in hospital due to a lack of alternative options. This is far too expensive and unsustainable.” Lennox notes that studies show that the longer the stay in hospital, the more likely a patient’s health will decline. 

CARP urges the government to invest in more programs like SAFE in order to ensure a sustainable future for Ontario’s health system and to improve health outcomes.