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New Bridgepoint Hospital gets green light from province

TORONTO – David Caplan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal, confirmed the government of Ontario’s commitment to build a new Bridgepoint Hospital facility for complex care and rehabilitation at Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street in Toronto.

The new facility, part of Bridgepoint’s larger site redevelopment plan, has been in the planning stages for more than three years and will lay the foundation for Ontario’s healthcare system to provide 21st century healthcare to the fastest growing segment of health system users – people with complex chronic disease and disability.

The redevelopment plan calls for the building of a complex care and complex rehabilitation hospital expressly designed for patients affected by diseases and disabilities such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, acquired brain injury, stroke, cancer, end stage renal disease, and other complex illnesses. It will also provide improved rehabilitation capacity for important procedures like hip and knee surgeries and other interventions required by an aging population.

The new Bridgepoint Health facilities will ‘change the world’ for complex healthcare delivery by providing facilities specifically designed to serve this population.

In his remarks, Minister Caplan stated that, “This Government announcement will give residents better access to complex continuing care and rehabilitation services that are so important to everyone in our community. This project and other hospital projects we have announced are benefiting people and communities all over the province.”

“This is an incredibly important announcement for people with complex chronic illness and disability. Today, we have a commitment from the government of Ontario that the unique care needs of this rapidly growing patient population will be met, both now and in the future,” said Marian Walsh (pictured at left), President and CEO, Bridgepoint Health.

“Our patients today, and the thousands more that we will serve in the future, need complex chronic disease management and rehabilitation treatments in facilities that are adequate to serve their medical and therapeutic needs.” The new hospital facility will relieve the congestion of the current hospital building, upgrade treatment capabilities through the use of advanced medical and information technologies, and enhance Bridgepoint’s research and education mandate.

The new facilities will also be home to the only complex care research institute in the country, allowing researchers to develop new approaches to care and treatment and enable Bridgepoint to train the next generation of healthcare providers in this burgeoning new frontier of healthcare.

The expanded campus will integrate the community with Bridgepoint Health,by adaptively reusing one of Toronto’s most significant buildings – the historic Don Jail. The Jail will be refurbished, while respecting its heritage elements, turning it from a foreboding place into a community gathering space, offering access to health promotion, disease prevention and chronic illness management services.

“This is an important step in terms of health care sustainability in the Province, by refocusing the attention of the healthcare community on the people who account for over 60% of all healthcare dollars spent today,” said Ms. Walsh. “Today’s announcement is good news for us, for the people we serve and for Ontario’s healthcare system.”

BRIDGEPOINT HEALTH is an integrated health services organization focused on providing a continuum of care for people who require specialized complex care. The Bridgepoint Health network comprises Bridgepoint Hospital; the Bridgepoint Health Research Institute, the Bridgepoint Centre for Living (a planned long-term care centre), Bridgepoint Community Rehab (a not-for-profit hospital and community-based rehabilitation service) and the Bridgepoint Health Foundation which supports the programming and development goals of Bridgepoint Health.

Complex chronic illness refers to people who have three or more simultaneous chronic conditions. These are diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis and HIV/AIDS.

There have been no cures for major illnesses in the last 50 years (the last disease eradicated was smallpox in 1954.) However, new diagnostic and life-saving technologies, medicines and treatments mean that a long list of diseases are no longer terminal upon diagnosis, but chronic. As a result, Canadians are living longer, but often with multiple chronic illnesses.

The next major challenge in Canadian healthcare will focus on restoring the greatest possible degree of health to those who are affected by these chronic and complex conditions and their related disabilities.

Complex chronic disease currently consumes two-thirds of all healthcare spending – creating a demand that will only increase as the population ages. One-third of Canadians over the age of 60 suffer from complex illness.

It is currently estimated that there are 250,000 patients in Ontario with complex chronic illness. 60,000 of these live in Toronto. 20,000 are at severe stages, and another 18,000 have a severe disability.

Toronto’s existing complex care facilities can accommodate only 3,000 patients annually. Many complex patients are unnecessarily ending up in emergency rooms simply because they have nowhere else to go.

Right now in Ontario, it is conservatively estimated that 10-20% of all patients in the acute care system are complex patients who do not belong there and are not getting the right kind of care.

The current healthcare system has many of the resources needed to effectively treat patients with complex chronic illness. However, what is needed is improved alignment and coordination of these resources.

Research in this fast-growing area of health care is only beginning. In 2005, Bridgepoint Health Research Institute received the first-ever research grant for studies in complex chronic disease and disability.

Bridgepoint Health’s vision is to become Canada’s leader in complex care and complex rehabilitation. Bridgepoint is creating an integrated network of services that include a focus on disease prevention and health promotion, leading-edge medical and rehabilitation care, and wellness programs.

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