Calgary's children's hospital released all resting patients, transferred staff to the children's hospital

A spike in respiratory diseases resulted in the need for more hospital staff, said AHS. The Rotary Flames House, a children's hospital in Calgary, is temporarily suspending its services and removing all of its resting patients to transfer staff to Alberta Children's Hospital. Rotary Flames House provides palliative, respite, and end-of-life care for pediatric patients, as well as bereavement support for parents.

According to the Alberta Health Services (AHS), staff at Rotary Flames House are being transferred to a children's hospital due to a spike in the respiratory virus. The hospital sees a high number of patients requiring treatment in emergency, inpatient and pediatric intensive care units.

About 20 full-time staff and "a number of casual employees" will be redeployed from Flames House to the children's hospital, AHS said in an emailed statement to CBC News. Jeff Presswood, a Calgary father, said he was devastated after hearing Rotary Flames House was suspending intensive care services.

Presswood is the main caregiver to his 14-year-old son, who is severely disabled and requires 24/7 care. Presswood and his family want to visit their daughter, who lives overseas, this Christmas. But they had to abandon those plans after missing the rest treatment they usually depended on from the Rotary Flames House.

"I spent my day crying yesterday. What a blow," said Presswood.

"It's a big problem for our family to lose this. We don't have another break."

AHS said it would release all of its tough patients at Rotary Flames House on December 6th. About seven families use home respite services each week, according to AHS. All other services provided at the home will be temporarily transferred to the children's hospital.

In October, the Calgary Flames Foundation awarded the home a $1.25 million donation over the next five years to support end-of-life care.

Prioritize seriously ill children

Margaret Fullerton, a registered nurse and senior operations officer at the children's hospital, said while it was a difficult decision to transfer Rotary Flames House staff, the hospital's priority was caring for seriously ill children.

"The patients who need rest are very fragile medically, we know, but they are medically stable and they don't need the acute hospitalization that we see with acute care," Fullerton said.

"We want to tell [the family] how sorry we are that we have to make this decision, that we hope it is soon, that we will rearrange their tough care."

Fullerton said he could not give an exact date for when hiatus services could resume at Rotary Flames House because it depends on when the spike in respiratory illnesses subsides.

In an emailed statement, AHS said it would do its "best to resume these essential [pause] services as soon as possible."

'We are here for you'

Fullerton said despite the pressure on the health care system, families should still come to Children's Hospital emergency if their child is very sick with any illness.

"We are here for you," he said.

As for Presswood, he said he greatly appreciated the work of the medical staff at Rotary Flames House and Alberta Children's Hospital and did not blame them for the break in respite services.

But she is frustrated that the pressure on the health care system has led to negative consequences for so many families like hers.

"This is what happened so we took the nurses off these kids," he said.This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS.  

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