HHS sees stag­ger­ing growth by 2034

Ag­ing pop­u­la­tion driv­ing ris­ing de­mand for hun­dreds of beds

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - JOANNA FRKETICH

Hamil­ton Health Sciences is pre­dict­ing a stag­ger­ing growth in de­mand over the next 20 years.

HHS fore­casts it will need 54 per cent more beds by 2034/35 in its sub­mis­sion to On­tario’s Min­istry of Health and the Lo­cal Health In­te­gra­tion Net­work out­lin­ing its plan for the next 20 years.

It would bring the hos­pi­tal net­work up to 1,845 beds from the 1,200 it has now.

When ef­fi­ciency im­prove­ments and po­ten­tial changes to the way the hos­pi­tal cares for pa­tients are taken into ac­count, HHS still an­tic­i­pates a need for at least 407 more beds — a 34 per cent in­crease.

“All of the data re­ally frames the con­ver­sa­tion about growth and cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment that HHS needs to have with the LHIN and the min­istry,” said spokesper­son Aaron Levo. “It’s ac­tu­ally cat­a­logu­ing our growth and where we are at today in all our clin­i­cal ar­eas and try­ing to an­tic­i­pate plan­ning for HHS.”

The big­gest pre­dicted growth in beds is for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion fol­lowed by neu­ro­sciences. Other big jumps in beds are for car­diac and vas­cu­lar care, crit­i­cal or in­ten­sive care and com­plex or chronic care.

“There is go­ing to be an in­creas­ing de­mand for ser­vices driven by a ris­ing and ag­ing pop­u­la­tion,” said econ­o­mist Livio Di Mat­teo, who is a pro­fes­sor at Lake­head Uni­ver­sity spe­cial­iz­ing in health. “I don’t think any­one will do any­thing un­til the cri­sis is at hand.”

HHS is us­ing the pre­dicted growth as the foun­da­tion for its 20-year plan. Its pro­posal would see Ju­ravin­ski and Hamil­ton Gen­eral ren­o­vated to be­come its two main acute care sites in Hamil­ton.

It would give McMaster Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal Cen­tre back to the uni­ver­sity and build a new women and chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal that would be­come part of the cam­pus of Hamil­ton Gen­eral. It would also leave St. Peter’s Hos­pi­tal mov­ing the pa­tients and ser­vices to Hamil­ton

Gen­eral and Ju­ravin­ski.

West Lin­coln Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Grimsby would be ren­o­vated and be­come a ma­jor day surgery cen­tre with Hamil­ton pa­tients go­ing there for pro­ce­dures.

Key to the plan is pro­vid­ing hos­pi­tal ser­vices in the com­mu­nity in­stead at clin­ics, com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions, doc­tors’ of­fices or even vir­tu­ally.

“We want to help peo­ple not be in the hos­pi­tal,” said Levo. “That is the goal.”

It’s also a way to try to cope with the pre­dicted rise in de­mand over the next 20 years. Emer­gency room vis­its are ex­pected to be up be­tween 16 and 45 per cent. Day surg­eries will in­crease be­tween 10 and 32 per cent.

Ev­ery sin­gle HHS clinic in Hamil­ton is fore­cast to grow. The ma­jor­ity at Hamil­ton Gen­eral and Ju­ravin­ski will see de­mand rise by more than 40 per cent.

Only three Hamil­ton clin­ics pre­dict growth less than 10 per cent at HHS, with the low­est be­ing three per cent for ma­ter­nal fetal medicine at MUMC. West Lin­coln pre­dicts de­mand for its ob­stet­rics and gy­ne­col­ogy clinic will ac­tu­ally go down by nine per cent in Grimsby.

There are 16 clin­ics at HHS that pre­dict growth over 50 per cent. The need for pal­lia­tive care at West Lin­coln is pre­dicted to in­crease by 76 per cent.

Di Mat­teo says the health care sys­tem is cur­rently geared to acute care and doc­tors but to re­main sus­tain­able needs to shift to home care and other ways to help pa­tients out­side of hos­pi­tal.

“There’s been some tin­ker­ing around the edges,” he says about the progress to date. “I think things are mov­ing very slowly. It’s like the oil tanker in the ocean. It takes a long time to steer it.”

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