(Kelly Bennett/CBC)Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale connected the problem last month to long wait lists across the health "continuum," which would include long-term care beds like the one Benson is waiting for."The root of today's capacity challenge is that far too many frail elderly patients can't get access to the care they really need outside the hospital setting," Dale said.When there's no room at long-term care homes, patients end up staying in hospital wards longer than is necessary.
While he's thankful for it, he doesn't need quite the level of care he's receiving in the ICU.
But there's nowhere for him to go at the moment."I'm concerned that I'm occupying a bed that somebody else may need," he said.
When hospital beds are full, that causes backups in emergency rooms.
When emergency rooms are over-capacity, it takes longer for paramedics to offload the patients they bring in by ambulance, leading to code zero events where no ambulances are available to respond to 9-1-1 calls.
When it comes to a life-threatening illness or injury, you want high-quality care that’s close to home.
Metro West Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has the staff and resources to provide care and healing for a wide variety of complex medical, surgical or psychological concerns.He's using every opportunity he gets – even putting a bug in Premier Kathleen Wynne's ear when he met her last week – to try to advocate for the people he met in long-term care.Benson said a number of the people he's met in long-term care have projects they want to work on, wondering what capacity technology might have to help them live fuller lives."There's a general tendency to think, ' Oh, they're past that,'" Benson said.Then, one day in April, he woke up."Welcome back, Paul," he heard a nurse say.Now Benson, 66, lives in the hospital's brand-new, sunny intensive care unit.Benson says there should be free wireless internet for patients in long-term care."Unless you're in the situation, you wouldn't know," Benson said.