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Better Health Care Better Emergency Services

Meeting the changing health needs of Islanders

For more information visit: or call: 1-800-236-5196

Islanders’ health needs are changing More than 5,000 Islanders will turn 65 in the next five years. One in three has a chronic, lifelong disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or emphysema.

Our health care system must keep pace with the changing needs of Islanders. Better Access, Better Care is about increasing access to primary care, elective surgeries, emergency services, and long-term care for our seniors.

Government’s health priorities are to improve access to: General practitioners Emergency services Elective surgeries Long term care, and Mental health and addiction services

“We need all of our facilities to deliver the services Islanders require…” Acute Care

Prince County Hospital

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Western Hospital

Kings County Memorial Hospital

Extended Care

Souris Hospital

Community Hospital O’Leary

Long Term Care

Colville Manor

Riverview Manor

Prince Edward Home

Beach Grove Home

Wedgewood Manor

Stewart Memorial Hospital

Margaret Stewart Ellis Home

Maplewood Manor

Summerset Manor


“Right now, on an average day we have 80 patients occupying acute care beds who no longer need specialized acute care,” said Minister Currie. “We need to provide these patients with a more appropriate level of care and we must protect our acute care beds for our most sick Islanders.” Every one of our health care facilities plays an important role in providing Islanders with the care that is right for them. Acute care is specialized care such as the services needed by surgical patients or those with a severe illness, injury or medical condition. Extended care is the level of care needed by patients who do not require acute care but need some assistance, such as: • Restorative care - which helps patients, such as stroke patients, reach their maximum level of functionality and independence before they return home. •

Convalescent care - which may be needed when a patient is feeling better but still needs IV antibiotics or help with mobility.

Respite care - which often provides time off for family members who are caring for a loved one with complex needs or Alzheimer’s.

Palliative care - which is specialized care that focuses on relieving suffering and improving quality of life for those with a progressive, incurable illness.

Long term care is provided to those who can no longer live independently and need access to the care provided at nursing homes and manors.

IMPROVING ACCESS TO ACUTE, EXTENDED AND LONG TERM CARE In the coming months, the number of long term and extended care beds will be increased to ensure that acute care beds are available for our sickest Islanders when they need them the most, and to provide all patients with the care that is right for them. Prince County Hospital in Summerside and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown will remain the two main acute care facilities. Western Hospital in Alberton and Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague will provide acute care and other services. Community Hospital O’Leary and Souris Hospital will deliver extended care. Lab and Diagnostic Imaging services will remain. Stewart Memorial Hospital will offer 23 long term care beds. The total number of physicians in the province will not change.

INCREASING ACCESS TO EMERGENCY SERVICES “The addition of two new rapid response units and a dedicated transfer ambulance will result in better emergency response for all Islanders,� said Minister Currie. Two new rapid response units - one for eastern PEI and one for the west - will be operated by highly skilled paramedics who will respond immediately to 911 calls. They will begin assessment and treatment at once, and stay with the patient until the ambulance arrives - if transport is necessary. IEMS will determine where the new vehicles will be located, based on the frequency of calls. A new dedicated transfer unit will also be added for the purpose of transferring patients between facilities. This will free up more ambulances to respond to emergencies and keep ambulances in communities. Together, these new services will improve overall response times and ramp up emergency services in the east and the west.

NEW COLLABORATIVE EMERGENCY CENTRE AT WESTERN HOSPITAL “For West Prince residents, the new Collaborative Emergency Centre will mean access to stable, 24-7 emergency care and more access to family doctors,” said Minister Currie. Over the next few months, Western Hospital will establish the first-ever Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC) on Prince Edward Island. During the day, from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days per week, the Emergency Department will operate with a Nurse and an ER physician as it currently does. Overnight, the ER will become a CEC with two health professionals working together onsite and in constant contact via telephone with an ER physician. It will be similar to the successful CEC model in Nova Scotia. Statistics show that very few people visit the Western Hospital ER during the overnight period. By concentrating resources during the daytime hours when the vast majority of patients visit, the hospital will better meet the needs of the community. The new model will ensure that the doors of Western Hospital remain open 24 hours a day. In addition, it will free up family doctors and allow for approximately 140 additional patient visits per week – or 7,500 appointments a year – the equivalent of having another full time family physician in the region.

DIALYSIS SERVICES “We are pleased with the dialysis services currently in place across the province, and we are committed to continuing these services,” said Minister Currie. Government has continued to respond to a steady increase in the need for dialysis, which has grown by 75% in Prince Edward Island since 2009. With rising rates of diabetes and heart disease, both of which contribute to kidney failure, the demand for dialysis will continue to grow. Government has made significant investments to meet this demand. Kidney specialists, or nephrologists, have been added, and treatment capacity has grown by 250% with new state-of-the-art treatment centres at the QEH and PCH. Government is committed to continue dialysis treatment at all four locations across the province – Alberton, Summerside, Charlottetown and Souris.

8-1-1 TELEHEALTH “It will be as easy as picking up your telephone to get health advice on Prince Edward Island,” said Minister Currie. “Telehealth will provide Islanders with health advice when and where they need it, 24 hours a day 365 days a year.” Just three numbers - 8-1-1, will give you access to free, confidential, non-emergency health advice or information. That means quick, easy access to nurses who will assess your symptoms and help you decide the best next step for you. Telehealth can help you decide whether to care for yourself, make an appointment with your doctor, go to a walk-in-clinic, contact a community service or go to an emergency room. Prince Edward Island is partnering with Nova Scotia to deliver the 811 service, which will be available in English, French and other languages on demand. A call to Telehealth does not replace 911 which is always the first number to call in emergency situations.

These service improvements will take effect over the next several months. Islanders will be informed in advance of service changes so you always know where to go when you need assistance.

For more information, visit: or call 1-800-236-5196

For more information visit: or call: 1-800-236-5196

Better Access Better Care handbook  

A handbook outlining enhancements to the Island health care system through the Better Access Better Care initiative.

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