Over this weekend, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) has seen an increase in the number of young children and infants presenting to their Emergency Departments (EDs). This morning there were 22 patients waiting for admission to an inpatient bed in the three children’s Emergency Departments compared to 11 for the same period last week.
Any long waiting time for children in EDs is regrettable. This increase in numbers is in part a result of higher rates of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract, flu and norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug), all of which circulate at this time of year.
Our advice for any parent/guardian whose child or infant who gets flu like symptoms is they should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease flu symptoms. If parents are worried about their child’s breathing or fluid intake or if any young child or infant is in a high-risk groups and develops flu like symptoms they should contact their GP.
To cope with this increase in our EDs CHI is restricting all elective and routine inpatient procedures in the coming weeks. We apologise to families whose children may have to have their procedures postponed at short notice. We are making every effort to improve the situation and will reschedule these at the soonest possible opportunity.
Vaccinations rates are increasing and is the best prevention measure if you have not already done so get the flu vaccine now. There is still time to get the vaccine to prevent the onset of flu or to limit its impact. We are asking those people in the at risk groups to get the flu vaccine if they have not already done, people in the high risk group include children with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-ups such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic neurological disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and diabetes as well as those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment and all cancer patients.
The children’s hospitals EDs are open, however patients attending will experience delays at this time. CHI operate cross city bed management for admissions from our three EDs and our Urgent Care Centre at Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown to an inpatient bed. Therefore, patients who are clinically assessed as requiring treatment and care as an inpatient may be admitted to any one of our children’s hospital sites, at Crumlin, Temple Street or Tallaght which will improve the flow of patients moving through our hospitals and ensures safe, timely and efficient delivery of services to patients and their families.
In order to safely manage all patients in the EDs and the Urgent Care Centre, families of children with minor and less urgent complaints are advised if possible, to see their GP/out of hours GP service and local pharmacy first or to come to our new urgent Care centre at CHI at Connolly, further information is available on www.childrenshealthireland.ie/connolly/