A senior staffer at Royal Inland Hospital has weighed in on the story featuring a Cariboo woman’s complaint about discharge procedures in provincial hospitals.
Olivia Fletcher was involved in an automobile accident outside Clinton on Nov. 15 and was taken to hospital in nearby 100 Mile House. There, staff had to cut her clothing off to treat her injuries, after which an ambulance took her to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.
Fletcher said the care she received was good, noting her problems began when she was being discharged from RIH.
She said she had no clothing and no shoes, nowhere to go and nobody to pick her up. She said she was finally handed a $400 taxi voucher to help her get to her home in the Cariboo.
Tracey Rannie, executive director of clinical operations at RIH, said that that while she can’t comment on specific patient details, she wants to assure the public proper discharge procedures are followed.
“Discharges from hospital are planned with the patient, physician and care tea and would include involvement of a social worker if a patient has specific needs or challenges,” Rannie said. “Patients would only be discharged when they are medically cleared and safe to return home.”
Rannie said staff recognize transportation can be a challenge to rural communities, noting patients are provided with options, including taxi vouchers if they do not have access to support from family or friends.
“Clothing and shoes are offered if an individual arrives without their own,” Rannie said. “We encourage patients who have concerns with care or their discharge that cannot be addressed with the hospital to contact the IH patient care quality office (1-877-442-2001) so we can review those concerns.”
Cariboo-Chilcotin (B.C. Liberal) MLA Donna Barnett said the discharge procedure at hospitals has been this way for as long as she can remember.
“Especially an emergency, when someone has nobody to take them home, they need to be taken care of,” Barnett said. “It’s always been a huge issue but it appears to be getting worse.”
The issue of discharge policy was also raised at an Interior Health public meeting in Ashcroft on Oct. 18, when an attendee said he had a health situation that sometimes takes him to Kamloops.
“The last time I was there, I was discharged at 3 a.m. Who do I call? People aren’t being served.,” the man said.
Karen Bloemink, vice-president of clinical operations for IH North replied at the time that his concern had been raised earlier that day.
“I hear there has been some improvement on that front,” Bloemink said. “We need to make sure we’re well connected with Royal Inland Hospital and the services they’re offering so we can co-ordinate things. And we need to avoid discharges at 3 a.m.”