baby care

Pediatric emergencies busier than ever

Pediatric emergencies busier than ever

The situation continues to deteriorate in emergency rooms and pediatric care units in the Quebec region. Record occupancy rates of up to 150% in some hospitals are forcing staff to implement “exceptional” measures.

• Read also: The network paralyzed as ever: difficult to seek treatment everywhere in Quebec

At CHUL de Québec, the emergency room occupancy rate rose from 120% to 140% in one week.

Children’s intensive care beds are 117% occupied and in pediatric care units, all overflow beds are full.

For pediatrician and intensivist Macha Bourdages, this is a level of traffic not seen since the creation of the Center mère-enfant Soleil, 20 years ago.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the staff, who were already tired of the pandemic,” she said. We have to offer the same quality of care, so that leads people to work a lot of overtime, ”explains the doctor who is head of the pediatric intensive care department at the CHU de Québec.

Contingency plans must be put in place, which pushes the Mother-Child Center to have to postpone an “exceptional” number of surgeries, she adds.

The situation is no better on the South Shore of Quebec, where the occupancy rate of pediatric units has climbed up to 150% depending on the day, indicates the CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches.

“You have to be constantly alert. We are still expecting very large waves in the coming months, ”says Dr. Catherine Déry, pediatrician at Saint-Georges hospital.

Viruses that hit hard

Among the hospitalized children, there are many toddlers under two years of age struggling with breathing difficulties, especially children under six months of age, who sometimes need respiratory assistance due in particular to the famous respiratory syncytial virus ( RSV).

To limit the risks, pediatricians ask parents who have a baby at home not to participate in large family gatherings during the holiday season and to leave their little one at home, away from busy public places.

“You have to try to do your holiday shopping while leaving the baby at home,” says Dr. Bourdages.

If possible, parents on parental leave should also consider removing the siblings of a newborn from daycare, since viruses circulate a lot in childcare services, adds Dr. Déry.

The worst to come?

For his part, virologist Benoit Barbeau recalls that the flu season has only just begun, since its peak is usually between December and February.

“And that doesn’t mean that because it starts earlier, it will end sooner,” warns this UQAM professor.

The resurgence of respiratory viruses, after two years marked by the omnipresence of health measures, is a necessary step towards a return to normal life, he recalls.

Occupancy rate at CHUL de Québec

  • Emergency : 140%
  • Pediatric intensive care: 117%
  • Pediatric care units (including overflow beds): 100%

Occupancy rate in Chaudière-Appalaches hospitals

  • Pediatric unit: up to 150% depending on the day

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