The Canadian Pediatric Association said on Wednesday some children’s hospitals are operating at capacity and reporting high waiting times.
Dr Sam Wong, the association’s director of medical affairs, said pediatric units across Canada are seeing increased hospital admissions and heavier workloads as illnesses grow. Hospitals report common respiratory illnesses earlier than normal, combined with influenza and COVID-19.
In communities that don’t have a dedicated pediatric center, Wong said local hospitals already stressed by long waits and understaffed could see more children coming to the emergency department.
“So I’m pretty concerned that as we get further into the viral season, things will get worse,” he said.
“If you’re not having a pediatric emergency and you’re performing a general emergency in a smaller center, the increasing number of children coming to the clinic puts a strain on the system.”
The Yellowknife-based pediatrician said some doctors believe the increase in hospitalizations may be related to a large number of children, previously shielded by public health restrictions related to related to COVID, has now been exposed to several viral infections for the first time.
CHEO, Ottawa Children’s Hospital, on Wednesday said it had to cancel some surgeries because of reporting a higher number of patients with respiratory syncytial virus, along with flu and COVID hospitalizations. The hospital said its intensive care and inpatient units were at 129% and 134% capacity, respectively, on Tuesday.
Montreal’s two children’s hospitals were operating at full capacity on Thursday afternoon, with Quebec leading the country in reported test positive rates for respiratory syncytial virus, a respiratory illness. popular steam.
It’s worrisome about the spike in those infections hitting hospitals in October, Wong said, when those infections usually “really start in December”.
“Honestly, I hope I’m wrong, but I have a bad feeling that we’re going to have a tough virus season this year,” he said.
This week, the Quebec government announced it was setting up a crisis unit in the Montreal area to deal with the overflow of emergency rooms.
At the Children’s Hospital of Montreal, where some patients are waiting 16 hours to see a doctor, staff has been redeployed and some surgeries are being canceled to help relieve pressure, said Dr. Suzanne Vaillancourt. ER force, said Dr. Suzanne Vaillancourt.
“What we had to do, which was difficult for everyone, was to temporarily reduce the number of children who had to have surgery, because after the surgery, they also had to be in bed, so,” Vaillancourt said. the trickling effect is huge,” says Vaillancourt, deputy director of the emergency department.
“It’s really RSV that seems to be helping us make money and that’s mainly because so many of these children need support, they need breathing support, they need to be hospitalized to get water or help with oxygen demand.”
Vaillancourt said the hospital is preparing to help general hospitals in other parts of the province treat sick children. Pediatric emergency physicians are available 24 hours to give advice to colleagues, and two children’s hospitals in Montreal can take on younger patients who need more complex care than can be afforded, she said. provided.
“It’s a well-used system, and hopefully, they really feel that they can get the advice and care they need and when the child’s need for care escalates, they come to them. me,” she said, adding that hospitals outside of Montreal may not be able to put a child on a ventilator.
ERs across Canada, and especially in smaller communities, have had to reduce their hours and temporarily close, sometimes for days, in recent months as the health care system has faced challenges labor shortage.
Data released by Statistics Canada on Thursday showed the health care and social assistance sectors posted a record 152,000 jobs in August.
Nancy Walton, a professor at the University of Toronto’s school of nursing, said: “I don’t think any system, especially acute care, has had a breather since the last two years of COVID. .
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 27, 2022.