Province develops new set of measures to better respond to surge in urgent care needs for children in B.C.
At a news conference Wednesday morning (November 16), Health Minister Adrian Dix announced a new provincial pediatrics initiative led by BC Children’s Hospital.
“There’s a lot of interest in critical care capabilities for children,” he said. “This changes, and it changes dramatically from day to day. Overall, we have 243 beds, but the numbers change every day.”
Pediatric intensive care units are located at BC Children’s Hospital, Victoria General Hospital and UNBC Hospital. The province said the pediatric ICU overload rate varies rapidly from hospital to hospital because smaller hospitals have fewer beds.
The new plan is part of a larger effort to manage bed capacity across the province. A number of measures are being incorporated into health authorities’ contingency plans.
Other measures that Dix hopes will bring relief to care across the province and at all levels include changes to emergency department triage processes, physician triage, rapid response teams linking patients to community care, hiring more patient care coordinators, integrating emergency and Primary care centers and better communication.
The province has made plans to potentially postpone the surgery amid high demand.
Meanwhile, Interior Health is hiring patient care coordinators to support emergency department triage, Island Health is expected to increase community response support, and Fraser Health is planning to improve integration between hospital emergency departments and urgent primary care clinics — as well as open more more beds to create capacity.
Northern Health is investing in rapid response teams to support avoidable emergency room admissions. Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care are increasing active day-to-day bed management and adding 15 mental health beds.
The province hopes to keep these plans in motion throughout the fall and winter.
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BC Health Authority