I have been reading, with much interest, much that has been written recently about the bed shortage at the hospital and agree that something must be done.
However, the plea for more acute care beds may be misguided. You recently had an article which stated that 20 or 30 acute care beds are always being used for long term elderly people. These beds costa bout $1,300 per day in the hospital.
The cost for a bed in a care home is about one/tenth of that. According to my calculations that amounts to about $25,000 a day in unnecessary costs. Taken out for a month it is about $750,000 , or in a year almost $10,000,000.
I recently had a friend spend three months in the hospital when he should have been in a care home. We, as taxpayers, wasted more than $100,000 on this man because there was no proper accommodation for him.
To make this even more of a crime, the hospital is ill equipped to handle this type of patient as there is no space and no staff to provide any kind of exercise or stimulation.
As a result, he was very frustrated and as he became disruptive or hard to control he was often strapped to his bed or to a chair.
The result was a rapid acceleration of dementia.
Since the end of March he has been, perhaps temporarily, in a care home where he is happier, better cared for and not deteriorating so rapidly.
This is not meant to be critical of the hospital. It is merely a statement that the hospital is being required to provide a service that it is not equipped to provide.
A much better argument could be made for the provision of more long-term care beds which would remove these patients from the hospital and free up the acute care beds for use as they are intended.
In my mind, this makes much better economic sense while providing more appropriate care for those elderly who can no longer care for themselves.