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HNHBB Regional Process for Directed Transfer of Critical Care Patients

Posted Jan 28th, 2022

Despite extraordinary measures to create additional capacity for critical care services, pressures on the Hamilton-Niagara-Haldimand-Brant-Burlington (HNHBB) region’s critical care capacity have worsened over the last week.

These pressures are threatening hospitals’ capacity for time-sensitive surgeries and procedures, and access to critical care through our emergency departments and regional specialty programs.

To ensure available critical care capacity in the region for patients who require it, HNHBB hospitals have undertaken a common approach to identify and, if necessary, direct transfers of critical care patients to other hospitals outside of the region.

Decisions about when and where the transfer of a critical care patient may occur are guided by a rigorous process involving clinical experts, hospital leadership, Ontario’s critical care command centre, and CritiCall Ontario, which facilitates transfers of critical care patients throughout the province.

Together, as a region, we will assess which critical care patients are medically suitable to be transferred.

In all cases, the patient’s medical team will work closely with the patient, their loved ones, and the receiving care team to ensure that the process is as comfortable as possible.

We know that it causes worry and stress for our patients and their families when they are transferred to a different hospital. We hope that these measures will be very temporary as we begin to see signs of improvement in the course of the pandemic.

If you have questions about your or a loved one’s care, please speak directly with your care team.

To see the number of Niagara Health COVID-19 ICU patients transferred to a hospital outside the HNHBB Region since the beginning of January, visit our COVID-19 Activity page

Niagara Health System