Respite care from a child’s hospice center will be temporarily suspended as staff are redirected to Alberta’s children’s hospital, Alberta Health Services announced Friday.
Respite staff at Rotary Flames House in northwest Calgary are being redeployed to assist patients at the hospital, the health authority said in an online statement. The move comes amid high levels of respiratory infections circulating in the community, causing high volumes at the hospital.
“To help ensure that the right care is available for the young patients who require inpatient care and support, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend respite admissions at Rotary Flames House (RFH) and redeploy our staff to help accommodate patients at to support the hospital,” read the AHS statement.
Rotary Flames House is a comprehensive palliative care facility for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Services at the facility include respite care, symptom management and end-of-life care in a home environment as well as consultative support, outpatient programming and bereavement support.
AHS said they will work with families currently using respite care with the goal of having all patients discharged by Dec. 6. All other services will be temporarily moved to the children’s hospital.
“We understand that this temporary pause in respite services can be distressing and difficult for our customers and families. We will do our best to resume this important service as soon as possible. These are extraordinary times, and we thank Albertans in advance for their support and understanding,” AHS’ statement read.
It was not immediately clear how many patients would be affected by the changes.
Alberta Children’s Hospital has been overwhelmed with large numbers of patients as flu season gets into full force this year with a particularly virulent flu strain. To accommodate high numbers in the emergency room, AHS was preparing to open a heated trailer outside the emergency room.
Alberta Health Services’ website showed there was an approximately two hour and 17 minute wait at the Children’s Hospital emergency room Saturday morning.