Montreal Children’s Hospital helps treat adults with coronavirus

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Two adult patients with COVID-19 were treated in a Montreal pediatric intensive care unit this week — a sign of how hospitals are stretching to accommodate the pandemic.

Hospitals in some areas are being forced to try different care plans, and to collaborate across long-standing walls.

The equipment, nursing care, medical practices, medicines and even emergency procedures are different, but pediatric medical staff and hospitals have realized they can care for adults, too.

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“The disease [is taking us] places we didn’t know we would go,” said Dr. Valerie Homier, an emergency physician and a leader in surge capacity planning at the McGill University Health Centre.

Children’s hospitals across the country have been planning for this situation.

The Montreal Children’s Hospital, which had the two adult patients, and the Royal Victoria Hospital began their planning together in early March. With the virus affecting adults much more than children, the children’s hospital’s beds were seen as possible spaces for adult patients, said Homier.

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“Originally there was some resistance, which was appropriate from a safety perspective,” Homier said.

But the children’s hospital began training its staff,

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