Inside the Chatham-Kent Seasonal Care Clinic. (Photo courtesy of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance)

CKHA's seasonal care clinic could see a return next year

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is looking at returning the seasonal care clinic at the Chatham hospital next year after its tremendous success.

CKHA Vice President of Clinical Programs and Operations Caen Suni told reporters at a hospital update on Tuesday that strategy meetings with primary caregivers and paramedics will be the next step along with reviewing data, but they're open to trying it again next year with a new and improved model.

Suni told CK News Today the Emergency Department (ED) saw a noticeable spike in numbers when the seasonal clinic closed for the year in early March and believes the higher patient volumes at the ED were a result of the seasonal clinic closure. He said the complete data regarding the full impact the clinic had on the ED is being reviewed and specifics will be shared later.

Suni also noted the hours of operation at the seasonal clinic will be reviewed, that could include extending the clinic beyond March, before a decision is made on its fate next season.

Suni said approximately 1,600 patients went through the clinic between November and March 2023 and of the 400 responses and suggestions they received about the clinic, he said 92 per cent rated their experience as excellent.

"I think we can agree at this point, given all we've seen, that's it's been a successful experiment, we'll call it, and it's something we would try to modify and improve on for next year," said Suni. "What was very interesting was how we managed to provide the care so rapidly to patients who required it during that season, which I think was helpful in terms of how people access the care locally."

Meanwhile, Suni added the number of surgeries at CKHA has increased this fiscal year (March 2023-March 2024) compared to the same period in 2019-2020 prior to COVID-19 showing up on our door step.

He noted 8,100 surgeries were performed at CKHA in 2019-2020 compared to 9,100 performed over the past year, even with the Code Grey that was triggered by the cyberattack that saw surgeries rescheduled during the first week of the Code Grey.

Suni said the surgery schedule was able to recover quickly after that first week because the hospital was able to implement new processes rapidly to recover from the cyberattack.

Retiring CKHA CEO Lori Marshall also shared that the hospital's critical clinical systems and the critical financial systems that went down as a result of the cyberattack were back online in February, while the majority of the other clinical and back office systems should be restored by the end of June.

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