Queensway Carleton Hospital seeing more violent patients in its emergency department

By Dani-Elle Dubé

More ambulances, more patients and now more violent patients — that’s what the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) is seeing in its emergency department nowadays.

According to a series of tweets published on Friday, April 8, the hospital confirmed that it’s been seeing an increase of patients in its emergency department, presenting with higher acuity — meaning they’re sicker and require more care from the team.

“Some require more acute care and need to be admitted,” the hospital’s statement on social media says. “In the past [three] days, we’ve been seeing around 42 ambulances per day. That’s high. This has unfortunately resulted in patients needing to wait longer for care.”

This has also resulted in the department calling more “code whites,” a code used to identify violent patients that require security or backup to ensure staff safety.

“This is not okay,” the hospital says. “Over the past year, code white calls have doubled, averaging one per day — we had 34 code whites in March alone. [The emergency department] got the most of them.”

Violence and aggression towards staff will not be tolerated, the hospital adds.

“They don’t deserve the threats and verbal abuse they’ve received. Healthcare workers are human, no matter how many times they’re seen as heroes: they’re exhausted too. Please treat them with the respect they deserve.”

The hospital does not specify why the emergency department has seen an increase in patients — if it’s from COVID-19 cases or due to other reasons.

According to the latest data from Health Quality Ontario, patients in the emergency department waited, on average, 2.2 hours in February before they received their first assessment by a doctor.

On average, as well, patients with low-urgency cases spent about 3.4 hours in the department.

Patients with higher-urgency needs, however, spent an average of 4.7 hours in the ER.

Statistics for the month of March or April were not yet made available.

And the length of stay in emergency for all patients admitted to the hospital was about 19.6 hours.

Annually, the hospital serves almost 70,000 patients, with over 15 per cent of them being children in the emergency department, the hospital reports on its website.

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