A sign outside the IWK Health Centre shows the direction of the children's emergency department and the children's building.
Signage outside the IWK Health Centre in July, 2021. Photo: Yvette d’Entremont

The IWK Health Centre’s emergency department (ED) has been overcapacity for the last six weeks and with things expected to worsen, the facility’s Twitter account issued a brief statement and a link to a new triage video on Tuesday afternoon.

“We are doing everything we can to manage the volume and acuity of patients who are coming to the ED for care,” the tweet from the children’s hospital states. “We know waiting for care in the ED is difficult, especially when we are unable to predict how long you will have to wait.”

Last month was the busiest on record for the IWK’s emergency department, and the facility’s Twitter account noted that June is “on pace to surpass those numbers.”

“Our emergency department is built and staffed to work safely for a number of patients,” the tweet continued. “When we are overcapacity and it is crowded, we see the sickest patients first. This leads to increased wait times for everyone else.”

The IWK said its team of nurses, doctors and other health care professionals are working hard to see each patient and to ensure everyone receives safe and high quality care.

It ends with a video, uploaded on Tuesday, explaining how the triage system works in the IWK’s emergency department (found here).

*Correction: The original headline in this story was incorrect. May was not the busiest month on record for visits to the IWK emergency department, but rather the busiest May on record for emergency visits at the hospital. We changed the headline to reflect new information we received after first publishing this story. We regret the error.

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Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor who enjoys covering health, science, research, and education.

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