Fraser Health will convert under-used pediatric beds at Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) into an adult overflow space to temporarily reduce pressures on the emergency room and to reduce the number of patients who are treated in non-clinical areas.
In the recent past, overcrowding has led to patients being placed in beds in hallways – sometimes for days – resulting in concerns from medical staff and the public.
The pediatric department at ARH was originally built to accommodate future growth, and there are many under-used beds that can be temporarily and safely converted for adult patients to ease ER congestion, said Rowena Rizzotti, executive director of clinical programs and operations, women’s health, maternity, infant, child and youth.
She said the beds will be converted back to pediatric beds when demand increases.
“Our priority is the safety of the children in our care. With any of these changes, we will make sure that our pediatric patients will be cared for separately from adult patients,” Rizzotti said.
Fraser Health will move the pediatric daycare into the unused portion of the pediatric ward. The health authority will then convert the current daycare space into temporary adult beds to make sure patients are being cared for in an appropriate space.
Minor renovations that will be completed by November include the installation of a secure doorway to divide the pediatric area from the area that will support adult patients.
Rizzotti said that as a regional acute care facility, every effort must be made to ensure ARH has the capacity to respond to demands for higher levels of care from within the region.