The impact of transport of critically ill pediatric patients on rural emergency departments in Manitoba

Gregory Hansen, Darcy L. Beer, Jeff K. Vallance

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Although the interfacility transport (IFT) of critically ill pediatric patients from rural to tertiary health centres may improve outcomes, the impact of IFTs on the rural referring centre is not known. The purpose of this study was to investigate how the IFT of critically ill children affects staffing and functionality of rural emergency departments (EDs) in Manitoba. METHODS: In 2015, surveys were emailed to the medical directors of all 15 regional EDs within 2 hours' travel time from a tertiary pediatric hospital. The survey consisted of 9 questions that addressed baseline characteristics of the regional EDs and duration of ED staffing changes or closures due to IFT of critically ill pediatric patients. RESULTS: Ten surveys were received (67% response rate); a regional ED catchment population of about 130 000 people was represented. Interfacility transport caused most EDs (60%, with an average catchment population of 15 000) to close or to alter their staffing to a registered nurse only. These temporary changes lasted a cumulative total of 115 hours. CONCLUSION: Interfacility transport of critically ill pediatric patients resulted in ED closures and staffing changes in rural Manitoba. These findings suggest that long-term sustainable solutions are required to improve access to emergency care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian journal of rural medicine : the official journal of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada = Journal canadien de la medecine rurale : le journal officiel de la Societe de medecine rurale du Canada
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec. 2017


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