Town of Preeceville notified of disruption to hospital

Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) notified the Town of Preeceville council that there would be a temporary disruption to Preeceville Emergency services on May 7, in an email received from the SHA by the Town of Preeceville, according to the Town's Facebook site.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has temporarily closed the emergency department in Preeceville until further notice.

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The SHA website stated the Preeceville and District Health Centre is one of 12 rural area community hospitals that are converting to "alternative level of care " facilities as part of the health authority's COVID-19 surge plan.

In early April, the SHA announced a plan to handle a potential surge in COVID-19 cases that included potentially creating field hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon. The SHA is proceeding with it's Health Readiness Plan and as of May 8, the Preeceville ER was to be temporarily closed. They are also turning the old 10 acute care beds into alternate level care beds. The Primary Health Care services will be maintained, stated the Town's Facebook page.

That plan also involved converting some rural hospitals to support alternative level of care patients and temporarily closing emergency departments to allow staff to reallocate to higher need sites.

Preeceville's mayor and council were all in support of the temporary closure because the hospital has a long term care facility adjacent to it, and does not want someone with COVID-19 to spread it to those more vulnerable such as seniors, according the town.

The 12 locations the SHA identified in the surge plan for possible temporary suspension of emergency services and conversion to ALC are: Leader, Kerrobert, Biggar, Herbert, Davidson, Lanigan, Preeceville, Wolseley, Broadview, Arcola, Radville and Oxbow.

The surge plan for COVID-19 called for potential changes to be phased in as required by patient demand.

“By converting the purpose of community hospitals in some of our communities we can protect our most vulnerable populations,” continued the SHA information. “Keeping patients and staff safe and healthy continues to be our number one priority. Conversion of the designated Community Hospitals to ALC sites was targeted to occur in a phased approach over a four to six-week period. This is the first phase of implementation. Converting to ALC will, allow for the movement of ALC patients out of tertiary and regional hospitals to create space for potential COVID-19 surge. This separates COVID and non-COVID pre-acute or post-acute patients in the community in community hospitals to avoid risk of disease spread and increases capacity in acute sites by having nursing, physicians and other allied health professionals concentrated in acute settings, increasing our workforce and ability to replace staff when they fall ill. It allows for adequate notice, orientation and skill acquisition among providers to work in a new setting.”
ALC is Alternate Level of Care. It refers to a patient that could be cared for in an alternate setting rather than an acute care bed because their condition does not require the daily attendance by a physician. This would refer to palliative, convalescing, respite, rehab or long term care patients.