Providence Transitional Care Centre opens its doors: an interview with Dr. Ammar Rashid

On October 4, 2021, Providence Transitional Care Centre officially opened its doors to patients. The first unit will gradually admit up to 30 patients. The new centre will beexterior of PTCC staffed by SEAMO-funded physicians from Queen’s University Department of Family Medicine. This includes new physicians Dr. Fouché Williams and Dr. Wilhemina Wildenboer-Williams, and Chair of the Division of Hospital Medicine, Dr. Ammar Rashid. 

“The centre opening is exciting news for the South East region because there was a gap in clinical care for patients requiring restoration and reactivation,” explains Dr. Rashid. “This program will serve to fill that gap. Dr. Rashid’s role in the centre’s opening is as a physician, but also to address physician staffing. “The Chair is responsible for the staffing of all areas, which requires hospitalist support at Providence Care Hospital, and all the programs and units there. We took on this project and were heavily involved in finding recruitment solutions. It’s taken extensive teamwork with support from Staffing at Queen’s and SEAMO. It was a Canada-wide networking endeavor which led to the candidates we have recruited from Saskatchewan (Drs. Williams and Wildenboer-Williams).” 

The physician’s role also involves planning how patients will be cared for at the centre. “As a Clinical Director of a transitional care centre, I am working on establishing the care model and starting with the assessment of the referrals to admitting those patients all the way to the end of their journey. I’m also part of an effort to educate and orient our partners in the region, which includes hospital partners in the community, to ensure they are aware of the patient population we serve here and can direct appropriate patients to us.” 

For patients who arrive at the centre, two key words are restoration and reactivation. “Providence Care Hospital already provides rehabilitation programs, but this is more about people who require restoration and reactivation from their rehabilitation.” Dr. Rashid adds there is three different streams of patients the centre is looking for: patients from the community; patients from emergency rooms; patients from acute care hospitals. “From the community means patients referred to us by family physicians. From the emergency rooms means patients do not have acute issues that require them to stay in the emergency room and can be served better at the centre. From acute care hospitals means patients may be candidates for higher intensity rehabilitation in the future, but are not at that level yet and there might be an opportunity for them to become more active at the centre.” 

Dr. Rashid says the centre will not only improve health outcomes for patients, but also shine a spotlight on the importance of hospital medicine. “I think this is going to play a key role in the healthcare system. We are seeing the growing need for hospitalists and I think that is why we are developing a training program for graduates so they can pursue a career as a hospitalist to serve the needs of the community.” 

He adds Providence Transitional Care Centre will help keep patients more functional. “This could mean the difference between a patient being re-hospitalized or staying in the community.”