All three Oregon pediatric intensive care units are now under crisis care standards, with Providence St. Vincent Medical Center announcing the transition Wednesday, the day after Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Health’s children’s hospitals did the same.
The move comes after a surge in pediatric hospitalizations for RSV, a common respiratory virus that can be particularly dangerous for children and infants. Switching to the “crisis standards of care,” which Oregon Health Authority officials released in January, allows hospitals to choose who gets care when resources are limited, while also easing staffing standards to allow fewer staff to care for more people.
The switch will “help us manage capacity to address the overwhelming demand for hospital services,” Providence said.
In its announcement, Providence said it is not currently using the crisis standards to triage care at its pediatric unit, pediatric intensive care unit and neonatal intensive care unit, all of which are subject to the change. But the shift would allow the hospital to do so should the need arise, and an OHSU forecast recently predicted pediatric hospitalizations for RSV are going to continue to climb.
St. Vincent has about two dozen pediatric beds and four intensive care unit beds that can be expanded to six, if necessary, a Providence spokesperson has said.
— Fedor Zarkhin