Intervention at CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal

  • March 31, 2022

The Québec Ombudsman received a report about the emergency room at Hôpital Santa Cabrini Ospedale (HSCO), located in Montréal. Many people remained there on stretchers between four and nine days. The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux asks that an emergency room stay not exceed 24 hours.

The Québec Ombudsman decided to intervene.


The Québec Ombudsman confirmed that wait times at the HSCO emergency room were much longer than set targets. The situation worsened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to staff shortages, dozens of beds had to be closed to maintain an adequate level of care.

Because there were no beds available in hospitalization units, numerous people spent several days on stretchers in the emergency room. In some cases, they remained there for their entire stay. The emergency room became a de facto hospitalization unit, even though it was not designed to be one.

The investigation showed that understaffing makes it difficult to shorten emergency room stays. The Québec Ombudsman is worried about the substantial consequences of this situation on the quality of care provided to patients. It nonetheless noted that CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal is aware of these issues. The institution, which is responsible for the care and services offered by HSCO, has been working actively to improve the situation for several months now.

The Québec Ombudsman made two recommendations to the CIUSSS aimed at optimizing bed management and shortening hospital stays. The Québec Ombudsman also asked the institution to keep it briefed on the steps underway.

The CIUSSS accepted the recommendations and agreed to the requests for follow-up.

English summary of the intervention report concerning CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal (PDF, 153 KiB)