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Two new units at MUHC aim to ease overcrowding, shorten recovery times

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The McGill University Health Centre has announced two new units to ease overcrowding in emergency rooms and improve post-operative care.

The Montreal General Hospital is now home to a day centre and specialized recovery unit.

Opened in mid-January, the day centre takes in less urgent cases, reducing overcrowding in the ER.

“If a patient can be discharged earlier, they can come here, even for several days, if they need treatment," explained Dr. Patricia Zanelli, director of the internal medicine emergency room consult service.

"We also get referrals from the ER that include surprises. We have four slots every day from the ER. We also accept patients from physicians' offices, so instead of sending them to the emergency room, they can refer them to us,” she said.

It's good news for patients like Amy Politakis.

"I have anemia and had to be admitted to the emergency for a blood transfusion and it's chaotic. I mean everyone is wonderful, trying to help with very little staff," she said.

The day centre takes in less urgent cases, reducing overcrowding in the ER. (CTV News)The MUHC also recently opened the ERAS unit, which offers enhanced recovery after surgery, fine-tuned to each patient's needs.

“It's multidisciplinary," said MUHC surgeon-in-chief Dr. Liane Feldman. "Nursing, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nutritionists – everybody. And by doing that and really improving recovery, we decrease the amount of time that the patient needs to spend in hospital after surgery. For example with bowel surgery, in my day, it was about a week and now with this program it's one or two days."

Less time in hospital means more room for other patients, like Ken Hamilton who had a lung biopsy and said his recovery is going well.

"The care has been absolutely stellar and everybody that's come into this room, or I've gone into their operating room, and the nice thing is they take the time to explain what they’re doing," said Hamilton.

MUHC surgeon-in-chief Dr. Liane Feldman says the surgery cancellation rate has dropped thanks to the new ERAS unit. (CTV News)Enhancing recovery means beds become available quicker and that the MUHC's 9 per cent surgery cancellation rate has dropped.

"Last period we had a cancellation rate of 1.5 per cent for no beds. That's huge, and that's thanks to beds in the ERAS unit. So that's had a huge impact," said Feldman.

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