Ponderosa Lodge has never been an ideal facility — its original, somewhat cramped, designed has been surpassed by more modern approaches to long-term care. But it’s still valuable, usable space. Much-needed space.
With the advent of so-called “hallway medicine,” this week’s announcement that the Interior Health Authority will spend $3.1 million on opening beds at Ponderosa is good news. The third floor of Ponderosa will be put back into commission with 33 beds, and admissions will begin later this month.
The beds will provide relief from the crowding at Royal Inland Hospital that has caused concern to patients and health-care professionals alike.
One of the most important uses for those 33 beds will be for stabilizing seniors after they’ve been to hospital and before they’re returned home. Very often, elderly patients can be treated fairly quickly at the hospital but they take more time to recuperate — the unfortunate options are to keep them in hospital where they occupy very expensive space that is beyond their needs in post-treatment, or to send them home before they’re read to go back.
The move is also intended to keep seniors out of acute-care hospital beds unless they really require that level of care.
The new beds being opened up at Ponderosa will provide just the sort of in-between care that’s badly needed. In turn, beds will be freed up at Royal Inland.
There may be some truth to opposition politicians who call it “another example of care-by-crisis” and accuse the government of “not addressing the root causes. Indeed, bed shortages are no new.
But the ultimate solution is the expansion of Royal Inland Hospital to provide more space, better access and improved services — in other words, just what the RIH master plan proposes.
When that multi-year master plan becomes reality (and the “when” has mostly to do with the availability of tax money to build it), there will be no need for overflow space at the old Ponderosa. In the meantime, the Liberal government and the IHA are far better taking band-aid measures than none at all.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.