Critical Care Triage Protocol

Strategic Clinical Networks (SCN)

Alberta Health Services (AHS) developed Critical Care Triage Protocols (adult and pediatric) as a planned and pre-determined provincewide approach to guide our response should the demand for life-sustaining critical care support become greater than the available resources either during the current COVID-19 pandemic, future pandemics, or other disasters.

AHS is not currently implementing the critical care triage protocol, nor has the protocol been enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. AHS is educating clinicians on its use and implementation given the rising numbers of Albertans with COVID-19 and the increasing number of Albertans requiring critical care.

It is important to be ready and AHS is taking steps to ensure we are prepared today and for the future.

The triage protocol would only be activated when all available resources for critical care have been utilized and all other mitigations have been exhausted. If activated, triage will be provincial in scope; applicable to all health facilities and critical care units in Alberta.

Led and operationalized by highly-trained critical care physicians and staff, the protocols ensure a fair and equitable process is applied to all Albertans.

The process of development included extensive consultation with AHS clinical ethics to embed ethical guiding principles, review of literature and existing protocols in other jurisdictions, and consultation with medical specialist groups, patient and family advisory, and patient advocacy groups.

Vaccine status does not impact access to critical care in the event of enacting the protocol. AHS values the lives of all Albertans and follows Canadian standards for healthcare to provide non-judgmental healthcare to all who are in need. AHS critical care triage protocol applies to all patients considered for ICU admission.