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Process begins to close 39 Complex Continuing Care beds

Posted Dec 2nd, 2009

Niagara, ON: Niagara Health System (NHS) is beginning the process today to close 39 Complex Continuing Care (CCC) beds next year as part of the Hospital Improvement Plan (HIP).

With the changes occurring in healthcare, including the focus on aging at home strategies, home care enhancements and community-based services, the length of stay for CCC patients continues to decline, enabling the hospital to reduce the number of beds in this specialized area of care.

CCC is a higher level of care than what is provided by long-term care homes and other nursing facilities. These medically complex patients have chronic illnesses or disabilities, and they typically require 24-hour nursing care and access to complex medical services. This level of care is very different from the level of care provided in acute care beds, which are for patients requiring short-term medical treatment, including those recovering from surgery or admitted to hospital through the Emergency Department due to an acute illness or injury.  

“Complex continuing care has significantly evolved over the last several years,” says Sue Matthews, Vice President Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “Several years ago, these patients stayed in hospital an average of 500 days. Now, CCC patients typically spend between 60 and 70 days in hospital before transitioning home or to a lower level of care.”

Meetings were held today with NHS staff members who work in the areas that will be impacted by the bed closures. Approximately 40 full-time and part-time staff will be directly affected. We will be working with our union partners to minimize the impact of any layoffs and are committed to adhering to the collective agreements.

The closures are scheduled to take place in late April-early May 2010 as follows: seven beds at Douglas Memorial Site, 10 beds at Port Colborne Site; 22 beds at Welland Site. Once the closures occur, there will be 195 CCC beds across five sites of the NHS (all sites but St. Catharines General and Ontario Street Site in St. Catharines).

The bed closures are consistent with what was put forward in the HIP and with the Port Colborne Site and the Douglas Memorial Site as well as the Memorandums of Understanding agreed to by each site’s local physicians and the NHS.

Complex Continuing Care units also provide care to palliative patients, slow-paced recovery patients, and those awaiting transfer to a rehab bed in the community or a long-term care home.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Caroline Bourque Wiley
Consultant, Public Affairs
905-378-4647, ext. 43113


What is Complex Continuing Care 
Complex Continuing Care is an inpatient program for medically-complex patients whose condition requires an in-hospital stay, regular assessment and active care management by the healthcare team.

The primary focus of Complex Continuing Care is on independence and discharge home. Currently, the average length of stay for CCC patients is 70.4 days.

About the CCC Healthcare Team 
The CCC Healthcare Team is multi-disciplinary. It includes:

  • Hospitalist (hospital-based physician specialist) and/or Family Physician
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Registered Nurse
  • Registered Practical Nurse
  • Personal Support Worker
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Case Manager
  • Speech Therapy
  • Clinical Nutrition
  • Social Work/Pastoral Care

Niagara Health System