Fighting Hallway Medicine in the Sunnybrook Emergency Department

Social Worker Jeff

SPRINT Senior Care is proud to be a key partner in a new strategy to tackle hallway medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. 
“Hallway medicine” refers to Ontario’s overcrowded hospitals, where patients are often relegated to beds in hallways due to lack of space. Sunnybrook, SPRINT Senior Care, and other North Toronto health providers are a part of a new partnership called the ED One Team: a group of staff at Sunnybrook’s emergency department (ED) who work together to reduce the hospital’s admission rates. 
The team includes social workers, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a GEM nurse (Geriatric Emergency Management), psycho-geriatric case manager, and a community coordinator who work out of Sunnybrook’s ED. Their aim is to identify patients — often seniors — who do not need to be admitted to the hospital, but need help and support before they can safely go home.  
One of SPRINT Senior Care’s social workers, Jeff, is a member of the ED One Team. Jeff helps patients as they prepare to leave the ED, making referrals to support services in the community. For example, if a senior comes to the ED because of a fall, but tests do not show a fracture and they are otherwise medically stable, the social workers may refer them to the ED One physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will work with the patient right in the ED to ensure they are able to walk safely and climb stairs. Meanwhile, Jeff can arrange for support services — such as meals on wheels or home care — for when the patient returns home.  
If a patient lives in the SPRINT Senior Care’s catchment area, Jeff can arrange for services right from the ED. 
Having SPRINT Senior Care social workers at Sunnybrook allows patients to be better connected to essential community support services. “I know what resources are out there,” Jeff says. “Working for SPRINT Senior Care, it’s part of my job to know these services.”