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Pediatric critical care plan part of B.C.’s new measures to better hospital capacity

Health Minister Adrian Dix says B.C. working to improve hospital capacity in pediatric units
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix pauses while speaking in Burnaby, B.C., May 30, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The province has created a new set of measures to better respond to spikes in emergency care needs for children in B.C.

In a news conference Wednesday morning (Nov. 16), Health Minister Adrian Dix announced a new provincial pediatric plan, which is being led by BC Children’s Hospital.

“There’s a lot of interest in children’s critical care capacity,” he said. “This changes and can change significantly from day to day. Overall, we have 243 beds but numbers change day to day.”

Pediatric intensive care units are located at BC Children’s Hospital, Victoria General and the University of Northern BC Hospital. The province says the rates of over-capacity pediatric ICU cases change quickly on a per-hospital basis, because smaller hospitals have less beds.

The new plan is part of a larger effort to manage bed capacities across the province. Several measures are in the process of being integrated into health authority emergency response plans.

Other measures that Dix is hoping will bring relief across the province and for all levels of treatment include changes to the emergency department triage process, physician triage, quick response teams to connect patients with community care, hiring more patient care coordinators, integration with urgent and primary care centres and better communication.

In high-demand scenarios, the province has plans in place to potentially postpone surgeries.

Meanwhile, Interior Health is hiring patient care coordinators to support emergency room triage, Island Health is expected to enhance community response support, Fraser Health is planning to improve integration between hospital ERs and urgent primary care clinics – as well as opening additional hospital beds to create capacity.

Northern Health is investing in quick response teams to support avoidable admissions to emergency rooms. Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care are increasing active daily bed management and are adding 15 mental health beds.

The province expects to put these plans into action throughout the fall and winter.


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Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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