Pediatric intensive care units full in the Netherlands due to RSV, flu epidemic
All intensive care units that specialize in treating children are currently completely full, said the Dutch professional association of nurses and caregivers, V&VN. This is in large part due to the flu epidemic and the respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV or RS-Virus, said the association.
The seven university hospitals will meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation, confirmed Károly Illy of the Dutch Association of Pediatrics. The situation was first reported by RTL Nieuws.
Renze Jongstra, a nurse at the Leiden University Medical Center, said that the problems are exacerbated because there are also no beds available for patients in the countries which border the Netherlands, meaning patients cannot be transferred to facilities in Germany or Belgium. The dire situation has arisen because there has been a shortage of nurses for years, according to Jongstra.
To accommodate all children, extra beds are being added to the existing units. This results in a single nurse being forced to help more patients than desired. Alternatively, ICU nurses are transferred from the adult wards or the neonatal intensive care units where newborn babies receive treatment. "However, that is not desirable for the patient and also not good for the workload experienced by the nurses," Jongstra said.
The pediatric ICUs are always fuller in the winter than in other seasons, but this year there seem to be more children with respiratory infections, Jongstra said. "ICUs constantly call each other to ask about free beds. As soon as a bed is free, it is filled again."
Reporting by ANP