Children’s Hospital Ottawa says it will accept aid staff from the Canadian Red Cross as it continues to face an increase in young patients with respiratory viruses.
CHEO had been overworked for weeks and responded by opening a second pediatric intensive care unit and asking nearby adult hospitals to accept teenage patients.
In an email, Tammy DiGiovanni, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at CHEO, said the hospital has requested “additional support” from organizations across the region to ensure children receive the care needed during flu, RSV and COVID-19 seasons.
DiGiovanni said the partnership with the Canadian Red Cross will provide the hospital with a small team of staff to support its clinical teams.
“This will allow some of our deployed staff to return to their regular roles,” she said.
The Red Cross said in an email that it would provide “small teams of people to support hospital staff and allow them to focus on clinical tasks.”
Although the Red Cross did not have a firm start date for the workers, the CHEO said they will be on the job as early as next week.
Similar story elsewhere
The partnership is the latest example of children’s hospitals across the country taking measures to maintain services as patient levels rise – including closing a children’s nursing home in Calgary and canceling surgeries at Children’s Hospital of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Rotary Flames House in Calgary has temporarily suspended its services and laid off all rest patients until staff can be transferred to Alberta Children’s Hospital.
The hospice offers palliative care, respite and end-of-life care for children, and grief support for parents. Its staff has been sent to Children’s Hospital due to a surge of respiratory viruses.
Meanwhile, Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in St. John’s has been forced to cancel some surgeries and routine appointments due to a wave of sick children.
This situation has led some of Canada’s top doctors to call on provincial governments to reinstate mask mandates.