PICU at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital to temporarily admit adults under 40
As part of Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA’s) focus on balancing health system capacity province-wide, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) in Saskatoon will temporarily accept selected adults up to age 40 less a day.
The change is effective immediately and will ensure as many patients as possible receive appropriate levels of care. Adult patients requiring an ICU bed will be considered for admission to JPCH. Patients are selected jointly through a clinical review by the adult critical care physicians (intensivists) and the pediatric intensivist. Pediatric patients will continue to receive and be prioritized for critical care within the province’s PICU at the JPCH; no pediatric patients will be displaced.
“Critical care capacity is under strain and all avenues of support need to be explored to so we can continue to care for extremely ill patients,” said Dr. Susan Shaw, Chief Medical Officer, SHA.
The decision was made in consultation with adult and pediatric critical care stakeholders.
The move is part of a larger SHA surge plan announced Sept. 17 to prepare for a growing number of COVID patients throughout the health system. The PICU will now be prepared to surge to a total of 18 critical care beds, including six additional “flex” beds, for both pediatric patients as well as selected adult patients. Staffing plans have been developed and continue to be secured for the additional beds, much of which will come through service slowdowns.
A similar strategy which saw the age of admission at JPCH temporarily raised to 30 years of age less a day was employed during the second wave of the pandemic, in February 2021.
“In the early stages of the pandemic response the PICU and full JPCH team quickly looked for ways we could support the provincial pandemic response while keeping focus on the children and families we served. Our PICU team has the skills and expertise to expand our services to a select group of the adult population, taking pressure off of the greater system. We have been thoughtful in building our surge plan, keeping children the priority and in simulating our responses to adult care,” said Dr. Tanya Holt, Division Head, Pediatric Intensive Care and Pediatric Transport for the SHA.
The SHA’s normal intensive care unit (ICU) capacity is 79 beds distributed at facilities in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current and North Battleford. To increase ICU capacity, the SHA has also added 22 surge beds in Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton, North Battleford and Swift Current. As of 12:45 p.m., Sept. 21, 78 of the 101 available ICU beds were full and two adult COVID infectious patients had been admitted to JPCH.
“We’d like to thank the patients and families affected by this change for their patience and support. We’d also like to thank all the staff impacted by this decision for their dedication to providing care under the most challenging of circumstances,” said Dr. Paul Hayes, Area Department Lead, Adult Critical Care for the SHA. “Working together, as an entire province, is the only way to see us through this difficult time.”