Our hospitals are under pressure. Please be patient with us as wait times may be longer than usual. Read more.

Hamilton Health Sciences Home
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre exterior
November 15, 2022

MCH Capacity and Medicine Program Update and Changes

Ontario pediatric hospitals are under immense and increasing strain caused by a surge of viral illness, among other factors. This applies to the McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH).

Inpatient occupancy for pediatric beds at MCH is extremely high. Last week, we announced key measures and changes in pediatric surgical care to help alleviate pressures at the site.

Additional action is now being taken to address capacity issues at MCH, especially on inpatient units. This includes providing care for a limited number of appropriate and medically appropriate, 16- and 17-year old pediatric medicine patients, at the Juravinski Hospital (JH). HHS/MCH also continues to follow provincial guidance to increase pediatric capacity.

Planning is underway to enable the JH teams to provide care for these patients.

  • Patients will be transferred after consultation with medicine teams at JH.
    Transfers would ONLY apply to medically-suitable patients, following discussions between teams and physicians and where the treatment for pediatric patients would be largely similar to that provided to adults.
    Staff and physicians at the JH caring for the pediatric patients will be supported remotely by their colleagues from the MCH and both teams will continually evaluate these services.
    Protocols are already in place to support the the transfer of critically ill patients who are 14 years-old and older to critical care units at adult sites.

Other measures in place include:

  • First, sending patients to regional/community hospitals with pediatric wards/beds.
  • Temporarily modifying the MCH “catchment area” so that patients at hospitals, and those being transported by ambulance, in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Wellington County, Cambridge and Guelph areas are sent to the London Health Sciences Centre, instead of the MCH.
  • This includes patients form the following hospitals: Grand River, Saint Mary’s General (Kitchener), Cambridge Memorial, Groves Community Memorial (Fergus) and the Guelph General Hospital.
  • This change does not apply to NICU patients who will continue to come to MCH and critically ill children who will continue to be transferred via Criticall to the most appropriate and available pediatric ICU site.

We recognize the impact that such difficult decisions may have on the patients and families we serve. We are grateful for their patience as we make these changes to ensure continuity of care for everyone.

We sincerely appreciate the work of all our staff and physicians to support patients and their families at this very trying time.