Improving the flow and care of patients

Improving the flow and care of patients is about making your journey through the health care system easier while ensuring you receive the most appropriate care and treatment. If you require hospital care, we want to ensure timely admission, followed by a seamless discharge and transition back to your home or community.

Improving and managing patient flow will:

  • increase patient safety;
  • enhance patient, family and provider satisfaction; and
  • ensure resources are used effectively and efficiently.

What are some of the challenges or demands facing our health care system?

Similar to other provinces, PEI faces daily challenges in meeting its population’s health care needs due to:

  • an increase in chronic disease (e.g. diabetes) and the associated costs;
  • an increase in frail elderly, many  with complex health needs;
  • an increase in mental illness and substance abuse;
  • increasing costs of advances in technology and pharmaceuticals; and
  • a complex health system, with a variety of providers, locations and services.

These pressures can result in overcrowded emergency departments, rescheduled surgeries and an increased demand for hospital beds. Extra pressure is also put on other services such as hospital pharmacies, laboratories and diagnostic imaging (x-ray) departments.

What are health care providers doing to improve patient flow in hospitals?

Health care providers are actively improving the patient’s hospital stay by:

  • discussing your discharge plan with you within 48 hours of your admission;
  • explaining how the whiteboard in your room or unit works;
  • telling you what supports you will need when discharged from hospital;
  • giving you a complete and accurate list of your discharge medications; and
  • working with other health services to ensure you receive the required follow-up care upon discharge.

How will my care be prioritized at a hospital emergency department?

When you arrive at a hospital emergency department, you will be quickly assessed to determine your current health condition based on presenting symptoms and other factors. Patients who are the most sick or have critical, life or limb-threatening health conditions are cared for first. Emergency department triage nurses will assess your condition and categorize you as one of three patient types:

  • Most Urgent – A patient who has a potentially life-threatening condition and requires immediate emergency medical care.
  • Urgent – A patient whose health condition has the potential to become serious.
  • Less than Urgent – A patient who has a non-life-threatening condition.

Emergency department wait times can change based on the number of patients coming in and how sick or critical they are, which can often impact how long other patients may have to wait to be seen by a physician.

Patients who have non-urgent medical needs are encouraged to see their family physician or visit a walk-in clinic, or call 8-1-1 if they are unsure what to do about a health issue or if they need health information.

If you have a life-threatening emergency, always call 9-1-1.

Will there be a hospital bed for me when I need it?

All sectors of our health care system are working together to ensure you get the right care, by the right provider, in the right place. One way we are keeping our hospital beds available for those who need them most is by transferring individuals who have completed the acute phase of their care and no longer require the range of services available at a referral hospital. These individuals may be waiting for admission to a long-term care facility, or simply need more time to recuperate before they are able to return home.

If I am in hospital waiting for long-term care, can I choose the facility I will be transferred to?

You will be offered the first available long-term care bed that meets your health care needs. Sometimes this will mean accepting a bed that is not your first choice and may be outside of your home community. If you are placed in a facility that is not you or your family’s choice, your name will be placed in priority to be transferred to the area of your first choice, as soon as a bed becomes available.

What are the whiteboards for and how are they improving patient care?

Dry-erase whiteboards are in hospital units and patient rooms to improve communication between medical staff, patients and their families. Information listed on a bedside whiteboard includes:

  • Patient’s name;
  • Doctor’s name;
  • Nurse’s name;
  • Family contact number;
  • Expected date of discharge (EDD);
  • Daily goals; and
  • Comments or questions.

Through the use of whiteboards, communication between physicians, nurses, families and patients is greatly improved.

How can I contact the Utilization Coordinator?

Utilization Coordinator
16 Garfield Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Telephone: (902) 620-3855
Fax: (902) 368-4969 


Published date: 
March 14, 2019
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General Inquiries

Health PEI
16 Garfield Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6130
Fax: 902-368-6136

Your Health Privacy

Media Inquiries
Phone: 902-368-6135

Health PEI Board of Directors
Phone: 902-368-4637

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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