Stollery taking steps to ease acute care pressures

December 20, 2022

EDMONTON - With respiratory viruses surging in the community, the Stollery Children’s Hospital is experiencing sustained high volumes of acutely ill patients requiring care in our Emergency Department (ED), Pediatric Intensive Care, and Inpatient Units.

AHS has been exploring all options to help ensure the right care is available to all young patients who need it. Starting today, the Stollery will implement new staffing measures to help meet the demand. 

We are identifying staff with previous ED, critical care, inpatient care experience or appropriate skills for deployment to support clinical need in those areas and to boost additional surge capacity at the Stollery.  

Identified staff will be deployed to the area of greatest need and where their skillset can be best utilized. This could include the Emergency Department, PICU, Inpatient Units or to support new capacity including additional inpatient medicine surge beds.   

Other potential staffing measures could include mandatory overtime, short notice schedule changes, and in some cases, cancellation of staff vacations, if shifts cannot be filled. 

The Stollery pediatric ICU is at about 100 per cent capacity. We do have the ability to add additional beds if required

To help create inpatient capacity, a Stollery unit that had temporarily been utilized for adult care recently returned to pediatric care. Eight beds have been opened so far, and we will be increasing that to 13 beds in the coming weeks. This is the kind of realignment we’ve done as needed across the system in various forms throughout the pandemic.

To help meet the demand, some physicians are working extra shifts. They are all Stollery physicians. We deeply appreciate the hard work of staff and physicians in recent weeks and throughout the last few years.

We strongly encourage families to seek care from their family physicians for influenza-like illnesses unless the sickness is urgent or severe. Resources are also available on the HEAL website, and by calling 811.

We are grateful for the staff and physicians who have been working incredibly hard and stepped up to fill shifts and work extra hours to deliver care during the pandemic and over the past several weeks and months.